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Church Wall

Local Authority

May 2016

10 Weeks


  • Challenging site
  • Shallow re-inforced strip foundation
  • Reclaimed bricks and coping stones
  • Traditional sand and lime brickwork

Project Scope:

Following the collapse of a retaining church wall we were asked to attend site, first of all to make the structure safe as it had fallen into a neighbours garden, and then secure the area from members of the public.

Special considerations:

We needed to reclaim as much of the original fabric as possible, and dispose of all the waste material left on site. Unfortunately, access was severely restricted. The nearest access was through the main church gates on the opposite side of the church yard, and these gates were at the end of a single track lane, which itself was accessed by driving through a natural ford.

Due to these limitations we were required to consider how to remove the waste as no skip could be brought on site. Additionally, the nature of the site and proximity of human remains meant that the use of mechanical excavation was not an option. All works were therefore to be carried out manually. 


The works:

Once the site was made safe, the project was put on hold until the permissions were granted through the relevant parties. Merisons liaised with the local authority surveyor and structural engineer to come up with a solution to undertaking the required groundworks, ensuring the new wall was built from a suitable foundation.

In agreement with the local authority surveyor we agreed a shallow excavation was essential. Small re-enforced strip footing was designed, tied into hollow blocks with reinforcing bars and filled with concrete, incorporating retaining piers at 3m centres.

Once the required groundworks were completed we were to move on to the brickwork. However, at this point further cracks were spotted further along the wall following removal of vegetation, and essential further demolition work was required. These areas were duly taken down to a reasonable level, and permission received to remove the trees that were causing the damage. As Principle Contractor we arranged for a specialist tree surgeon to complete the tree removal, allowing us to continue with the work.

The original bricks were cleaned up and re-used as much as possible, and additional reclaimed bricks and coping stones were matched and supplied through local reclamation yards, retaining the original character of the churchyard. The wall was re-built through traditional methods using sand and hydraulic lime mortar, flush pointed to match the original wall. 

Complexities to the project: 

This was a particularly challenging project, not due to specification or work required, but because of the location and authorities involved for permission for the works to be undertaken.

This project was successfully completed thanks to close liaison with the local authority surveyor, the neighbours who allowed us to use their drive and garden for access, and the local farmer who very kindly allowed our engineers the use of his toilet facilities free of charge. 

Images from Project

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