USL was pleased to be appointed as Principal Contractor for the restoration and repairs to Braintree's Grade II* Listed Town Hall. The programme included external masonry and restoration as well as extensive internal repairs and refurbishment.
Designed by E. Vincent Harris in the Classical style and was officially opened by the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres on 22 May 1928. The design involved a symmetrical main frontage with five bays facing onto the Market Square; the central section featured a portico with Doric order columns supporting a balustrade with urns at the corners; there were sash windows on the first floor and, at roof level, there was a turret bearing the town's coat of arms and containing a clock made by Gillett & Johnston; it was topped with a dome and a female figure at its apex.
The project works consisted of:
- Design and erection of scaffolding to all four elevations and the clock tower.
- Cleaning of external brickwork and stonework using a combination of the DOFF superheated steam system and TORC mild abrasive system.
- Poultice cleaning of internal stonework to the hallway and staircase.
- Repairs, replacement and repointing brickwork and stonework to all four elevations.
- Substantial replacement of damaged stonework to the clock tower with new Portland Stone.
- Renewal of lead flashings and coverings to cornices and projections.
- Renewal of sheet lead coverings to clock tower internal roof.
- Replacement of clock tower internal roof structure in new Douglas Fir including new access hatch.
- Specialist works to clock mechanism including redecoration of the clock face.
- Removal of existing internal partition at side entrance door and construction of a new internal partition to form new Tourist Information Centre.
- Alterations to existing and supply of new decorative oak panelling to match existing in new Tourist Information Centre.
- Repairs to internal timber flooring and skirting to various rooms.
- Overhaul of existing sash and case windows including replacement of damaged woodwork in new English Oak.
- Making good existing plasterwork and application of new plasterwork.
- Supply and installation of new fibrous plaster cornices.
- Supply and installation of new lightning and electrical supply system to Gallery, Gallery office, lounge, TIC store and TIC office, along with repositioning of existing CCTV, fire alarm and emergency exit signs as necessary.
- Internal and external redecorating works including re-gilding of coat of arms, stone plaque and repointing and re-gilding of coat crest.
- Overhaul, repair and redecoration of wrought iron gates to car park including replacement of acanthus detail to match existing.
- Installation of new kitchen units along with all associated plumbing and electrical works.
- Re-polishing of existing internal skirtings, doors, frames, radiator panels, dado’s etc in various rooms.
The works were carried out with the minimum disturbance to the Town Hall which remained in full use for the duration for the project.