New Road Baptist Church, Oxford

We were called in by the Church Fabric Committee when chunks of plaster had fallen from the ceiling.

The first thing we did was advise the Committee that the entire structure was out of bounds and was unsafe.  But the congregation was back after only 2 weeks!

First we erected this tower, which was lifted by a pair of Genie hoists whilst each level was added beneath.  This was done next to the shelter afforded by the organ loft, whilst a careful watch was kept on the structure.  We built it up until it was close to but not touching the ceiling.  Any sign of movement and evacuation could be safely achieved in minutes.  The shelter allowed the fixing of brackets to the wall and raking props to the truss joint inside the line of the fractures.

Once all the props were in place and the tower was removed services could continue as normal; also the roof could be repaired in comparative safety.

The safe propping procedure was developed with assistance from Shaca Construction, who executed the propping and repair work safely and with careful consideration for the Church.

When they inspected the loft space they found this:

All of the queen post trusses showed fractures like this one, and close examination revealed that they were very recent although the roof was over 100 years old.  The big question was how to fix it with the minimum risk to anyone’s life.