Maltings In Ely Used Locally-Based Craftsman For Roof Repair

PUBLISHED: 16:19 20 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 May 2010

THE project to replace the roof on one of Ely s oldest landmark riverside buildings is now complete. The building consultancy division of Carter Jonas in Cambridge and building contractor Benchmark Contracts of Isleham were appointed by East Cambridgeshi

THE project to replace the roof on one of Ely's oldest landmark riverside buildings is now complete.

The building consultancy division of Carter Jonas in Cambridge and building contractor Benchmark Contracts of Isleham were appointed by East Cambridgeshire District Council to project manage and carry out essential repair work to The Maltings in Ely.

Using locally-based craftsman, a new roof and tower which, in conservation terms, remains as authentic as possible, to the original of this Grade 2 Listed building has now been unveiled.

The existing slate roof covering of The Maltings had begun to deteriorate and the complex arrangement of some parts of the roof meant that water had begun to affect parts of its timber frame support.

Given the building's listed status, preparatory work was carried out in conjunction with the district council's conservation officer to agree a new roof covering which was in keeping with the appearance of the building.

Main contractor Benchmark Contracts undertook the re-roofing which specified hand-crafted green and blue Welsh slates which were sourced from a family-run quarry in North Wales.

Many of the slates had to be individually and painstakingly shaped by Benchmark's expert roofers to fit its dedicated place and reinstate the original pattern of slates on the roof which had been lost over the years by small-scale repair work and maintenance.

In fulfilling the project in as authentic a way as possible, East Cambridgeshire District Council commissioned blacksmith Mike Overall - who works from a studio in Cottenham - to strike a weather vane in the style of a malt shovel for the tower because research had revealed that a previous weather vane had just such a quirky design in tribute to the building's original function as a working maltings.

Other highlights of the project included installing a new cupola to crown the tower, replacing twelve dorma windows situated on the main roof, replacing old drainpipes on the roof without compromising the character of the building and also, following an assessment by an expert ornithologist, providing nest boxes for birds.

David Sparrow, senior building surveyor at Carter Jonas in Cambridge, who managed the project, said: "It was important to make sure that any repair or replacement work on the structure and fabric of a building of such historical importance and location was carried out safely and in sympathy with the original building in terms of materials and quality of workmanship. What was especially pleasing was that we were able to source such quality workmanship locally and this all adds to the authenticity of the project."

Pic cap: the front aspect of The Maltings with the new roof.

Photo: SUPPLIED

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