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Whitby Abbey Visitor Centre Zinc Roof Survey

Mason Clark Associates, appointed by English Heritage, to inspect and report on the condition of the zinc roof covering at Whitby Abbey's Visitor Centre, with specific reference to:

  • A condition survey to review the design and materials and make recommendations with approximate costs and timescales.
  • Whether or not the roof could be repaired without having to replace it and what all the available options were.
  • Advice on both the roof structure, fixing method and zinc covering.

After undertaking two inspections, studying the original design details and referring to various areas of guidance such as CP 143-5:1964 Code of Practice for Sheet Roof and Wall Coverings, MCA were able to produce a detailed report informing the client about leaks and defects in the roof and advise on the remaining life left in the roof covering, the report included the cost of short-term repairs and longer-term replacement.

Two Inspections were carried out, the first took place on the scaffold barrier viewing area which was erected on the west end of the roof. The remainder of the roof was walked across using a harness and lanyard attached to the safety cable on the roof. The safety lanyard prevented our engineers from getting near to the roof edges, resulting in the client agreeing to a second inspection with the use of an MEWP, which enabled the engineers to encompass the roof edges on the south, east and north side of the building. Particular challenges for MCA were that the Inspection had to be fitted in around the contractor's refurbishment programme and carried out in very cold winter weather in this coastal location, both of which mean there had to be careful planning for access and a risk assessment for use of the MEWP with contingency plan In case of weather conditions affecting use of the MEWP.

The survey highlighted areas of fatigue and cracking caused by thermal movement and cracking caused by thermal movement and the type of substrate fixings.

As a result of the findings of the survey, MCA were able to inform the client that the roof could be repaired and made watertight in the medium term, which allowed them to plan and obtain funding for re-roofing in the long term.