EXTERNAL fabric repairs to the Church of Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh have been completed, it was announced this morning.

The headquarters comprise two buildings, 121 George Street dating from 1910 and the adjacent 123 George, a Georgian townhouse. The locations provide all administrative functions and support services for the Church of Scotland.

Hardies, the property and construction consultants carried out the repairs after a detailed external fabric survey, comprising a cherry picker inspection of the front and rear elevations. That identified some deteriorating stonework to the rear elevation, which was removed to eliminate the hazard of fragments falling to the ground.

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The inspection of the front elevation identified that the condition of No 123 George Street, an older townhouse than No 121, was much worse, “commensurate with its age”. It was agreed with the Church of Scotland that the priority was to ensure the building was safe and watertight.

Hardies noted that a decision was taken to replace the historic cementitious repairs, where possible, rather than to undertake wholesale stone indent repairs. The contractor said that the repair to the cement offered a better colour match, as the existing repairs stood out and did not match the original stonework.

The review of the fabric also found a significant issues with one of the stone chimneys, Hardies said. This led to a decision to strengthen the structure with additional ties, and an upgrade to the detailing of the head to prevent water regeneration.

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The company explained that urgent works were instructed and comprised of retrospective tie rods being drilled through the structure of the chimney and additional stonework repairs to the head detail being undertaken.

David Vince, partner at Hardies Property & Construction Consultants, said: “The works generally progressed well; the only real issue was the weather, low temperatures prevented progress at some stages, but throughout the contract, we worked closely with the contractor, Restorex and Liam Fennell, head of estates and procurement with the Church of Scotland.

The Herald:

123 George Street, Edinburgh

“Due to the location of the building, it was also important to liaise closely with the neighbouring properties, including Tigerlily and Hadeel, as well as manage any health and safety issues along the busy George Street.

“Despite the additional work identified to the chimney, we managed to complete the works under the contract sum and are pleased with the attractive end result.”

Liam Fennell said: “Ironically, the best compliment we can give Hardies is that, from ground level, it is very hard to see the works that have been done as the cementitious repairs now blend in with the original stonework. Hardies has therefore addressed a significant structural issue and improved the overall appearance of the building.”