A comprehensive system of Sandtex Trade high performance coatings and preparatory products has recently been used in a major project to restore, redecorate and protect the exteriors of Caversham Park. This imposing Victorian stately home on the outskirts of Reading houses the BBC Monitoring Unit, BBC Radio Berkshire and the BBC’s Written Archives Centre.
The history of Caversham Park stretches back to Norman times and a succession of mansions and grand houses have stood on the estate throughout the intervening centuries. The current centrepiece was built in Italian Baroque style in 1850 by architect Horace Jones who, many years later, went on to design Tower Bridge in London.
The BBC has been connected with Caversham Park since it moved its Monitoring Service into the premises in the spring of 1943.
Although the public knew little about BBC Monitoring throughout WW2 and the Cold War, its important role – compiling, translating and distributing political news, comment and reaction from across the globe – is widely recognised today.
As custodian of one of England’s finest Victorian buildings, the BBC recently put out tenders for a major programme of external works to Caversham Park. This included the installation of double glazing, repairs to stonework, timber windows and render and extensive redecoration work. Several additional structures were included in the scope of works, namely a social club, generator building, squash court, and storage buildings. Because Caversham Park is a Grade ll listed building, the specifications for all work required the approval of the local Conservation Officer.
When it came to the exterior decor the BBC’s appointed architects at Wallingford Architecture Limited requested expert advice and support on suitable exterior coating systems from the Crown Paints Specification team. After visiting the site, Specification Manager Ian Lealand compiled a comprehensive product and application specification featuring Sandtex Trade products specifically chosen for their high performance, appearance retention and long term weather protection. The work was to be carried out by LSM Building Contractors based in Earley near Reading.
Sandtex Trade X-treme X-posure was used extensively across all concrete and rendered substrates, on the ornate columns at the front of Caversham Park, and also on previously painted fibreglass roofing and plywood cladding panels. A substantial amount of preparatory word had to be completed before paint could be applied. Elevations were pressure washed and areas of organic growth removed. Localised paint failures were dealt with and numerous mortar repairs made. Cracks in rendered surfaces were filled in and the fibreglass roofing was also painted.
One of the overriding challenges for the LSM team was the need to achieve the highest health and safety standards whilst causing the minimum of disruption to BBC employees and visitors to Caversham Park whilst work was going on. LSM owner and director Les Marshall explains: “Our client needed to be able to continue to work as normal throughout the project, and that included the transmission of live broadcasts every day by BBC Radio Berkshire.
We managed to resolve all issues by working very closely with the BBC staff and their Health and Safety consultants, and meeting up with the architects every week.
“Because of the need to minimise inconvenience and disruption, we used various types of equipment to access all areas of the 70ft high building. In addition to conventional scaffolding we also brought in aluminium mobile towers and large cherry pickers.”
In total over 2000 litres of paint and preparatory products were used to redecorate and protect the exteriors of Caversham Park and its ancillary buildings. There were hundreds of empty paint tins and tubs to dispose of and these were all collected and taken away for recycling by Crown Paints.
Thanks to the careful specification of exterior coatings for this project, the expertise and professionalism of the LSM team, and the close collaboration of all parties before and during the project, Caversham Park has now been restored to its former glory. The BBC also supported LSM’s submission for the 2013 PDA Premier Trophy Awards in which the project was ‘Highly Commended’.
For more information on the full range of Sandtex Trade Exterior Solutions, please contact the Customer Relations Team on 0845 372 3425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.