Chichester Festival Theatre

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Application Type

AABC Conservation

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

South East

Local Authority Area

Chichester

Information about this scheme

This project tackled deteriorating and failing concrete identified during extensive condition surveys. Whilst the previous Renew project was a resounding triumph, the concrete repairs undertaken were far from successful.

Recommendations were made during the previous project to remove a large area of healthy concrete measuring 20m x 1.3m. Repairs to this area using proprietary products failed, as did a successive attempt. A decision was taken to temporarily net the failed areas of concrete to prevent sections from delaminating and presenting a hazard to the public and patrons beneath. A plan was required on how best to resolve this situation.

Faithful+Gould were appointed by Chichester Festival Theatre in 2016 to undertake a wide-reaching study of available repair techniques and approaches. Their recommendation was that repairs using ‘like for like’ materials should be used and that extensive trials and experimentation should be undertaken. With Triton Building Conservation the team began thorough desktop research: to find the original aggregate mix; to find the original specification; and to locate the operatives who built the theatre in the 60s. The team spent time discovering how it was first constructed and what was required to maintain and preserve the aesthetics, and in so doing, the theatre’s rich history and heritage. A total of 38 ‘biscuit’ concrete samples were prepared off site and brought for comparison against a predetermined section of concrete wall.

We then created a 10m x 1.3m testing rig that accurately matched the part of the building to be repaired. This was used to apply a series of test concrete panels which we are assessed against predetermined criteria. Once the correct concrete mix was established, the team set to work casting this mix in to test cubes. They soon discovered discrepancies between different casts made by different members of the team. This led to further investigation over how to formulate the mix – the exact order of the different variables had to be exact and precise.

With the correct method for creating the matching concrete mix recognised the team did a complete test-run away from the site – rehearsing every step of the repair. Satisfied with the result, the same team then carried out the full repair on site.

Credits

Client

Chichester Festival Theatre

Main Contractor

Faithful+Gould

Main Contractor

Triton Building Conservation

Main Contractor

Price and Myers

Main Contractor

Jeremy Bragg Surveying

Building Surveyors - Faithful+Gould

Primary Use Class

Class D2g - Theatre