St Mary’s Chapel Conservation Project

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Client: St Mary’s Convent Chapel Charitable Trust | Catholic Diocese if Hamilton
Location: 47 Clyde Street, Hamilton
Year of completion: 2017
Value: $1M


A three-part project undertaken to upgrade the seismic capabilities of the historic St Mary's Chapel and conserve its grace. One of the most challenging projects Lobell has completed in all its years of construction. Stage one of the contract works and the most difficult was the earthquake strengthening. This stage was undertaken beneath the protection of a birdcage scaffold, shrink-wrapped, making it safe to remove the roof in wet weather. We carefully demolished the link structure between the chapel and redundant Euphrasie House, an ex-boarding facility that was beyond repair. Lobell installed new, reinforced concrete; foundations, columns, walls and gable bond beams. 


For the first time, we followed a concrete placing methodology called 'Shotblasting' which involves spraying a specially designed concrete mix directly at an area then tidying it up with solid plaster. The method proved to be cost-effective as little formwork is required. This advanced, audacious approach likely won us the contract not only due to the financial savings but also the reduced timeframe in which we could achieve completion.


We constructed new diaphragm ceilings in the Sacristies, Confessional Room, and Entry area to improve the structures lateral bracing. Some existing statues and ornaments had restoration work done on them by a specialist and required seismic restraining. The delicate pieces were a challenge to fix down, but we managed to complete the task without causing any damage. 

Stage two included improvements to the building's ventilation and services. The building was entirely re-wired, and additional fittings added including a new fire/security alarm system. We upgraded the heaters, subfloor ducted ventilation, extract fans, plumbing and storm-water reticulation. Architectural finishes covered the installation of new joinery, decorative secondary ceilings below the ply diaphragms, vinyl flooring, and a fresh coat of paint to all areas other than the Nave and Sanctuary spaces. Concurrently we improved to the exterior finish with a three-coat pebble-dash plaster system, splay black weatherboards and new roof tiles. The replacement, and new trim, were all custom run to match the existing colonial profiles.

Stage three saw the completion of the entrance archway, new disabled access ramp, metal handrails and planter finished with a terracotta tile. The existing steps were also made good. Finally, we repaired the stained glass windows, leaving the building looking brand new.

Access and temporary weatherproofing proved most difficult. A tight shared access cobblestone driveway required protection throughout construction. Maneuvering machinery including concrete trucks, pumps and delivery vehicles was done successfully in a severely restricted space. Due to the vibration naturally caused by heavy construction, we supported the existing windows with timber/plywood pressed against the glass with a layer of insulation wool in between. All of these detailed procedures were thought through during the tender phase and outlined in a construction management plan. This pre-planning gave the client confidence and was a great collaboration exercise.

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St Mary’s Chapel Conservation Project

Client: St Mary’s Convent Chapel Charitable Trust | Catholic Diocese if Hamilton
Location: 47 Clyde Street, Hamilton
Year of completion: 2017
Value: $1M


A three-part project undertaken to upgrade the seismic capabilities of the historic St Mary's Chapel and conserve its grace. One of the most challenging projects Lobell has completed in all its years of construction. Stage one of the contract works and the most difficult was the earthquake strengthening. This stage was undertaken beneath the protection of a birdcage scaffold, shrink-wrapped, making it safe to remove the roof in wet weather. We carefully demolished the link structure between the chapel and redundant Euphrasie House, an ex-boarding facility that was beyond repair. Lobell installed new, reinforced concrete; foundations, columns, walls and gable bond beams. 


For the first time, we followed a concrete placing methodology called 'Shotblasting' which involves spraying a specially designed concrete mix directly at an area then tidying it up with solid plaster. The method proved to be cost-effective as little formwork is required. This advanced, audacious approach likely won us the contract not only due to the financial savings but also the reduced timeframe in which we could achieve completion.


We constructed new diaphragm ceilings in the Sacristies, Confessional Room, and Entry area to improve the structures lateral bracing. Some existing statues and ornaments had restoration work done on them by a specialist and required seismic restraining. The delicate pieces were a challenge to fix down, but we managed to complete the task without causing any damage. 

Stage two included improvements to the building's ventilation and services. The building was entirely re-wired, and additional fittings added including a new fire/security alarm system. We upgraded the heaters, subfloor ducted ventilation, extract fans, plumbing and storm-water reticulation. Architectural finishes covered the installation of new joinery, decorative secondary ceilings below the ply diaphragms, vinyl flooring, and a fresh coat of paint to all areas other than the Nave and Sanctuary spaces. Concurrently we improved to the exterior finish with a three-coat pebble-dash plaster system, splay black weatherboards and new roof tiles. The replacement, and new trim, were all custom run to match the existing colonial profiles.

Stage three saw the completion of the entrance archway, new disabled access ramp, metal handrails and planter finished with a terracotta tile. The existing steps were also made good. Finally, we repaired the stained glass windows, leaving the building looking brand new.

Access and temporary weatherproofing proved most difficult. A tight shared access cobblestone driveway required protection throughout construction. Maneuvering machinery including concrete trucks, pumps and delivery vehicles was done successfully in a severely restricted space. Due to the vibration naturally caused by heavy construction, we supported the existing windows with timber/plywood pressed against the glass with a layer of insulation wool in between. All of these detailed procedures were thought through during the tender phase and outlined in a construction management plan. This pre-planning gave the client confidence and was a great collaboration exercise.

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Enquire about the process / fees
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Professionals used on this project

Also from Lobell Construction

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St Mary’s Chapel Conservation Project

Client: St Mary’s Convent Chapel Charitable Trust | Catholic Diocese if Hamilton
Location: 47 Clyde Street, Hamilton
Year of completion: 2017
Value: $1M


A three-part project undertaken to upgrade the seismic capabilities of the historic St Mary's Chapel and conserve its grace. One of the most challenging projects Lobell has completed in all its years of construction. Stage one of the contract works and the most difficult was the earthquake strengthening. This stage was undertaken beneath the protection of a birdcage scaffold, shrink-wrapped, making it safe to remove the roof in wet weather. We carefully demolished the link structure between the chapel and redundant Euphrasie House, an ex-boarding facility that was beyond repair. Lobell installed new, reinforced concrete; foundations, columns, walls and gable bond beams. 


For the first time, we followed a concrete placing methodology called 'Shotblasting' which involves spraying a specially designed concrete mix directly at an area then tidying it up with solid plaster. The method proved to be cost-effective as little formwork is required. This advanced, audacious approach likely won us the contract not only due to the financial savings but also the reduced timeframe in which we could achieve completion.


We constructed new diaphragm ceilings in the Sacristies, Confessional Room, and Entry area to improve the structures lateral bracing. Some existing statues and ornaments had restoration work done on them by a specialist and required seismic restraining. The delicate pieces were a challenge to fix down, but we managed to complete the task without causing any damage. 

Stage two included improvements to the building's ventilation and services. The building was entirely re-wired, and additional fittings added including a new fire/security alarm system. We upgraded the heaters, subfloor ducted ventilation, extract fans, plumbing and storm-water reticulation. Architectural finishes covered the installation of new joinery, decorative secondary ceilings below the ply diaphragms, vinyl flooring, and a fresh coat of paint to all areas other than the Nave and Sanctuary spaces. Concurrently we improved to the exterior finish with a three-coat pebble-dash plaster system, splay black weatherboards and new roof tiles. The replacement, and new trim, were all custom run to match the existing colonial profiles.

Stage three saw the completion of the entrance archway, new disabled access ramp, metal handrails and planter finished with a terracotta tile. The existing steps were also made good. Finally, we repaired the stained glass windows, leaving the building looking brand new.

Access and temporary weatherproofing proved most difficult. A tight shared access cobblestone driveway required protection throughout construction. Maneuvering machinery including concrete trucks, pumps and delivery vehicles was done successfully in a severely restricted space. Due to the vibration naturally caused by heavy construction, we supported the existing windows with timber/plywood pressed against the glass with a layer of insulation wool in between. All of these detailed procedures were thought through during the tender phase and outlined in a construction management plan. This pre-planning gave the client confidence and was a great collaboration exercise.

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Enquire about the process / fees
Contact details

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