News and Past Jobs

August 2010

Update coming soon.

Sunday, 20th May, 2007

My, how time flies. Yes... we've been too busy to worry about bringing this site up to date.

Current and Recent Projects:

  • Full condition survey of the West Front of Salisbury Cathedral.
  • Salisbury Cathedral - conservation works on the Tower.
  • Mary Redcliffe - condition report on the spire.
  • St Bartholomew's, Corsham - condition report on the spire and tower.
  • St Lukes', Hatherop - condition report on the church stonework.
  • St John the Baptist, Cirencester - high level rope-access repairs below scaffold on tower.
  • St Margaret's, Bagendon - sympathetic roofing works to the tower.
  • St Mary's, Badgeworth - conservation of wall-memorials and stonework on St Margaret's Chapel.
  • Salisbury Cathedral - conservation works on the Tower, and condition survey of South Clerestory, and South Transepts.
  • St Leonard's, Pitcombe - survey and conservation works to the tower.
  • St Mark's, Gloucester - survey to the tower and spire.
  • St Peter's, Bournemouth - survey of spire.
  • St John the Baptist, Cirencester - condition report on the tower stonework, leading to the major works programme carried out over 2006/2007.
  • Neath Methodist Chapel - condition report on the spire and tower.
  • Minchinhampton - rope-access works to the spire below scaffold.
  • People Wanted.

    Update. We are still interested in people who might care to work for us. However, a post-graduate qualification in stone or building-conservation is a must, as is at least three years experience working in practical conservation. A rope-access qualification in addition to the above would be an advantage.

    Saturday, 12th November, 2005

    It has been a while since we've updated this site. Once again, the old excuse of being too busy is proffered.

    Here are some details of a few of the jobs we have worked on in the interim:

    • Salisbury Cathedral, continuing the Major Repair Works Programme to the Spire and Tower. These works have mainly comprised lime-mortar conservation to ballflowers and carvings at height.
    • Gloucester Cathedral - conservation works to the pierced pinnacles on the tower.
    • Mary Redcliffe - condition report on the spire stonework, with particular reference to the contrast between the medieval stump and the victorian rebuild.
    • Rodmarton Manor - high level repairs to copings, gables, ridges and chimneys.
    • St Paul's, Shurdington - quinnquennial works.
    • Moretenhampstead - pointing tower.
    • Berry Pomeroy - render removal and stabilisation.
    • St Mary's, Bitton - rebuilding pinnacles at top of tower.
    • St Giles', Maisemore - work to gargoyles, and tower stonework.
    • St Michael's, Brimpsfield - reroofing tower, removal of wall plates and repair of ends, repair of roof flaunches, pointing, and other quinquennial works.
    • St Peter's, Wapley - repair of lath plaster ceilings, tower pointing, conservation of cross finial, masonry replacement.
    • St Peter's, Rodmarton - pointing spire, rough cast render repair and limewashing.
    • St Peter's, Bournemouth - condition report of tower and pinnacles.
    • Holy Trinity, Badgeworth - table tomb condition report.
    • John the Baptist, Cirencester - condition report covering tower and pinnacles - temporary strapping of split pinnacle.
    • St Martin's, Barford St Martin - pointing to tower, re-positioning of flagpole.
    PEOPLE WANTED

    We are looking for people with historic building conservation experience. Rope-access experience not necessary. Must have proven record of understanding of and sensitivity towards historic building conservation. Work would be mainly in the South West.

    Please contact David Alcock for details.

    Friday, 4th July, 2003

    It has been an incredibly busy year to date. We are just about to go to Salisbury Cathedral for three weeks, to do some conservation work on the tower where minor failure of the mortar repairs has taken place since the major works ten years ago.

    Projects we have been recently working on have included: conservation work to the tower and high level stonework at SS Philip and James, Leckhampton; inspection and work to the Perpendicular pinnacles on the tower at Gloucester Cathedral; works on the spire and fabric of St Mary's, Batsford; works to the roll mouldings at Eastnor Castle.

    Thursday, 20th February, 2003

    Have been extremely busy over the last six months or so. We're currently working on a substantial programme of conservation works to SS Philip and James, Leckhampton.

    Salisbury Cathedral.

    Monday, 12th August, 2002

    Survey and works carried out to the Spire at Salisbury Cathedral. Very little amiss bar some open joints and failed pinned repairs to rib-balls.

    Survey of north elevation of Gloucester Cathedral.f

    Saturday, 1st June, 2002

    Condition report/defects survey in progress on tower and north transept at Gloucester Cathedral.

    Thursday, 25th March, 2002

    Fascinating examples of contour scaling on sandstone columns. The causes of this decay mechanism, generally supposed to be caused by leached calcium sulphate or acid attack of the iron content of the sandstone, are still a matter for debate. Here, however, some good examples of scaling at the limestone/sandstone interface can be seen. See picture.

    Gluing anchors to restrain render

    Thursday, 5th March, 2002

    Works to 13th Century tower at Kemble completed.

    Rope access was used to anchor failing render, and point cracks that were allowing water ingress.

    While drilling it was discovered that the stonework is saturated with water. The locations of the holes were recorded and the degree of moisture estimated for each. The cement render, being impermeable, is not allowing water to evaporate from the wall. It remains to be seen if the wall will dry from the inside, now the water is prevented from coming in.

    Arranging anchors for      abseil on top of saddleback roof

    Friday, 15th February, 2002

    Condition survey of stonework in progress for St Philip's and St James', Leckhampton. Rope access techniques prove to be most efficient and least disruptive method of providing service. See pictures.

    We have been asked to survey the stonework of the entire church, and write a condition report with specifications for repairs if necessary.

    October 2001

    Rope access inspection of high roof timbers, Trinity Church, United Reform Church, Bristol.

    Description. Edwardian neo-gothic church with open timber roof. The internal structure of the roof began 45ft above ground level and continued up to about 65ft at the apex. Scaffolding to gain access would have been both expensive and disruptive. It was decided that rope access would be the best method for inspection.

    Condition. We were asked to inspect the roof structure , in particular the windbraces , one of which had fallen off. There were over seventy windbraces, two at either end of every upper and lower purlin. We inspected the solidity of every one and found that many were loose due to natural shrinkage of the timber, and could fall at any time. All the others were only held in place with two or three ferrous clout nails that were partially corroded.

    Solution. Using ropes to safely access the roof space and systematically move our way around it, we secured every windbrace with four 160mm stainless steel screws to the rafters and purlins.

About Conservatrix

Historic Building Conservation, Restoration, Maintenance, and Repair

We are a building conservation business that prides itself on employing only skilled and educated personnel. We provide a quality service that aims to preserve our built heritage effectively and efficiently.

We are professional conservators and rope-access specialists. By uniting these two fields of expertise, we can reduce the cost of building conservation, particularly at height.

Because we treat building conservation as our vocation, we are committed to doing the best work, following the best practices, and at the best rates.

Rope Access Abseil Techniques

Our use of rope access techniques enables a wide variety of services to be offered at sensible rates. The cost-effective nature of this method allows regular minor works to be carried out, preserving our built heritage more efficiently. Our services include:

Inspections and Surveys:
  • Conservation Advice and Condition Reports,
  • Specifications for Materials and Workmanship,
  • Risk Assessments and Method Statements,
  • Regular Maintenance Inspections,
  • Sample Retrieval and Analysis,
  • Photographic Mapping and Measured Drawings,
Practical Conservation and Maintenance:
  • Stone Masonry, Lime Mortars, Traditional Carpentry,
  • Lime Mortar Consolidation and Specialist Cleaning,
  • Exemplary Repairs, Training and Education,
  • Emergency Works and Disaster Management,

Company History

A new approach to conservation.

Specialisation in a wide variety of fields is essential to providing good building conservation practice. These include the possession of good craft and tool skills, an understanding of conservation sciences and architectural history, experience of traditional building techniques, methods, and materials, and above all, good judgement: the regulation and standardisation of the construction industry over the past fifty years has inevitably led to a decline in these traditional skills.

We have over the years gained experience and training in the field of historic building conservation, and we believe that the skills and knowledge that we have attained enable us to provide the best building conservation service possible using the most economical methods available.

A summary of our views concerning historic building conservation:
  • A thorough understanding of the building's context, pathology and significance is fundamental.
  • Regular inspection, maintenance and repair should be carried out.
  • Conservators should have the ability to recognise decay processes as symptoms rather than a disease.
  • Minimum intervention and disruption of historic fabric should be the hallmark of all their deeds.
  • Works should be reversible where possible.
  • All works should be thoroughly recorded, before, during and afterwards.
  • They should have both a wide knowledge of the material sciences and methodologies involved in building conservation.
  • Where appropriate, the inventive and sympathetic use of modern materials and methods is perfectly reasonable.
  • All works should be carried out by people with the appropriate skills and understanding of the above principles.
  • We found that the only way to work in a firm that lived up to these ideals was to start one ourselves. To this end, we set up Conservatrix in September 2001.

    Rope Access

    Safe access

    The major benefit of rope access is that it does not rely on scaffolding. This means it is more cost effective, flexible, discreet, and efficient than the traditional methods of access:

    • Cost Effective: Scaffolding is often a major cost of a project. The savings offered by Rope Access are considerable.
    • Flexible: As works do not rely on scaffolding, greater versatility in scheduling is possible. A program of works can be broken up into as many small phases as is necessary, allowing funds to be raised, or special events to go ahead unaffected by building works. As little as a single gargoyle can be conserved.
    • Discreet: Rope Access is unobtrusive. For most of the time, the public do not notice works in progress. It allows historic buildings to function unhindered and unmarred by scaffolding.
    • Efficient: We require a high level of professionalism and self-discipline from our operatives so that they can maintain the industry's impeccable safety record. We have found that these high standards are mirrored in work carried out: it is better planned and executed, and completed more quickly than the trade average.

    Mission Statement

    CONSERVATRIX combines the expertise of professional building conservators and rope-access specialists.

    Skilled and Experienced: We are expert in the theory and practice of Lime Mortar, Masonry, and Timber Conservation.

    Professional: We are committed to the highest standards of work and business practice.

    Innovative: We bring a modern and forward-thinking approach to building conservation.

    Rope-Access offers a new range of advantages: cutting costs, and bringing flexibility to timetabling of works.

    This website aims to explain our business philosophy, together with any related conservation issues that we believe will be of interest.