Property: Ufton Court
Service: Design, Detailing, Procurement & Inspection
Property Listing: Grade 1 (exceptional interest)
Significance: A high-status 14th Century hall complex, remodelled and extended both by the Elizabethans and the Victorians.
The building contains important geometric panelled plasterwork ceilings & friezes with tracery ribs, decorative reliefs & pendants, painted motifs to timber panelling, and large expanses of successive historic structural framing schemes which includes earlier decorative mouldings.
Issues & Operational Needs Arising & Addressed:
Returned from a long term lease, re-wiring was necessary to mitigate fire-safety risks from premature cabling failure. The works were carried out in 2 phases, of emergency & planned works.
Without formal conservation planning, the scheme design required close collaborate working to provide minimum intervention; maximum flexibility & durability, and respect the integrity of the building & avoid devaluation; with all changes sympathetic, recorded and implemented by experienced known trades using appropriate methods & materials. The enabling scheme also allowed upgrading of data, communications and AV cabling.
Notional cabling routes based on detailed inspections of accessible areas, were prioritised according to conservation impact, being designed to minimise drilling & chasing, and limit chases to modern walls, wherever possible running cabling within roof and floor voids. The re-use of existing chases & conduits within floor voids, use of sensor switching to minimise interventions, and the limiting of new chases to the 1980’s floor re-levelling timbers, reduced the physical impact of the scheme.
In the absence of historical fittings, 1980’s fittings were replaced, re-using cabling holes for ceiling fittings, fixing discrete new sockets on floor boxes where carpeted and below floor-traps to exposed timber floors, all according to operational need. Cable ring-circuits were provided to minimise interventions for any future upgrading.
The works did not require statutory consents, though similar conservation, archaeological & ecological regimes, were applied. Archaeological investigation & recording provided valuable evidence in the re-interpretation of the development & phasing of the building complex.
The design allowed the scale and arrangement of the original design to be maintained.
Scheme trials, between property events, were carried out to finalise the specification, assess vibration risks to adjacent decorative gesso work, and firm up budgets & programmes.
Stonework interventions were refinished with a lime, stone dust & fine sand mix, feathered in, whilst new balusters were painted and lacquered, both reflecting the colour, tone and texture of contemporary finishes.
The delivery programme necessitated co-ordination of protection, scaffold, repair and making good works, during tight timescales within the property closed-season, necessitating seven day working, good communication and supervisory controls to avoid programme slippage.