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Brian Morton suggests
that work on historic churches
can be very rewarding


‘SUPPORTING COLUMNS’
CHURCHES - AN ENGINEER’S DEUGHT
An engineer’s delight because the structures have invariably lasted for at least 100 years, quite often 700 years or 800 years; and thus, having satisfactorilystood up, if structural problems arise they are generally fairly easy to diagnose. Churches are also usually massive structures, and thus even though cracks may occur, the mass of the masonry generally has its own stability and therefore remedial measures can be fairly simple to apply.
Diagnosis is of course all important,
and in church structures, probably more than in any other type of building. It is essential that the initial survey indicates the true cause of the problem rather than giving a pessimistic view where the Parochial Church Council is put into a position where it considers agreeing to the closing of a church. The problem is that, once a structural engineer has written a report on a church indicating that there may be potential danger, this has to be passed to the insurers who may
well decide that they cannot insure this structure; thus effectively making it redundant.
I remember looking at a church in West London where an engineer’s report had diagnosed that the structure was sitting on 'shrinkable clay’ and thus, as it was subject to seasonal ground movement, remedial measures would be extremely costly. On receiving the report the Parochial Church Council forwarded it to the insurance companyandinsurance
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