Architects Practice, Lyons-Seaman-Hoare

Case Study, Nero Brewery, Hartney Whitley

Old Buildings sometimes need a pragmatic approach when it comes to certain inherent characteristics that are to be expected. Add to that the second flood in a two-year period, the question is, Which floor do you choose to replace your existing damaged floor when you can not guarantee no damp issues remain?

In February 2009. Winchester Hardwood Flooring Ltd was contacted by architects for help and advice involving the replacement of flood-damaged floors throughout the ground floor area of their practice.

The building, a former Brewery before conversion had a ground floor area of more than 350 m2 and set 800 mm lower than the outside ground level.
This building, now 128 years old had been treated for rising dampness in the walls, this was evident by injection signs behind the high skirting. 

Twice in the last two years, extensive flooding was caused by a failed street main, now fully replaced by the local council. On each occasion, the last being six months ago the existing wood floors were submerged in soiled water.

It was decided that the existing floor was not suitable for reuse due to distortion and health reasons relating to the soiled water ingress. The screed and walls were showing excessively high moisture levels.

Taking up the existing oak and waiting for the screed to dry was not an option as the client did not want to entertain that idea. The offices were fully occupied and the logistics of vacating for an unspecifiable time would have been a major problem. The pragmatic view of the Architect was that realistically the walls were not going to dry to the standard we would normally require and neither would the screed.

The method of installation specified by WHF was agreed and the installation was awarded to Bush & Kimber, a Winchester based company recommended by WHF.
A very robust floor was required as a replacement to give the best possible resistance to the moisture conditions both present and possibly into the future. It was agreed that any materials used could not be guaranteed given the circumstance in which they were to be used.

Cathedral 21 mm x 160 mm plank flooring was chosen for the replacement floor, to be secret screwed to a floating batten system incorporating a 2mm foam underlay, sheet DPM under the floated battens, and rigid insulation between. The insulation, 5 mm thicker than the battens meant that when the floor was screwed down the battens would lift leaving an air gap below for airflow across the room.

The 300mm high skirting was fixed to battens forming a void. Air vents were cut into the skirting at intervals to facilitate air circulation throughout the floor to disburse moisture build-up and help prevent the possibility inset of Dry Rot.

After a lot of consideration, The floor was finished in Blanchon Environmental oil, an environmentally-friendly choice.

There was a  good working relationship between the installers and the client. The whole project went very smoothly and was finished on time. Most of the installation was completed out of hours, working through the nights for the least obstruction for the practice throughout the day.

In an environment of some 80 plus Architects and designers available to criticize daily, amazingly there was no snagging list presented at the end of the job. This project was a great opportunity to show just how durable Cathedral Flooring can be.


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