CLIENT: Natural Resources | LOCATION: Cardiff

Why we were called in:

Our valued team members were called into a Welsh Governmental department building to survey the exterior cladding of the building. Our team erected a fixed scaffolding tower and handrail at the rear of the building to assist with implementing repairs to the pitched roof.

Our work:

A series of effective and thorough inspections were carried out to assess the condition of the exterior cladding.

Upon inspection, there were no signs of stone deterioration or any loose cladding blocks to the front of the building. Our team also carried out non-intrusive surveys to ensure that stonework was not showing any signs of movement on its fixings and housings.

The edging stones to the window sections were found to be in a secure condition with no signs of water ingress and no movement within the block makeup.

We then inspected the cladding and block work around the windows on the lane elevation which again was found to be in a safe condition.

The final part of the inspection found movement within the block work cladding below the third-floor window on the rear and side of the building.

Our engineers marked the stonework and block cladding which had signs of deterioration within the fixing method as the sealing between each block was falling. This could have been letting water ingress get behind the blocks and therefore causing the blocks to become loose.

As our team were unaware of how the block cladding was initially installed, a decision was made not to remove the blocks.  This was to prevent a “domino effect” that might have incurred further up the building, causing further damage.

We accessed the side of the building where the crash deck had been installed to investigate the blocks that were showing signs of movement. To uncover the cause of the blocks becoming loose, we attempted to remove the block cladding in some areas. This proved to be challenging as it risked the possibility of the blocks falling above the loose blocks, in turn causing major financial repair works.

As a result, we decided to manually push to blocks back into level with the rest of the building to eliminate any blocks falling onto the crash deck below which would ensure safety in the short term.

End result:

Once the job was completed, the areas identified around the building showing signs of deterioration of the fixings for the exterior block panels were recorded and marked on the building for future reference. This would be useful in evaluating the next steps that would have to be implemented to ensure that the blocks could be moved and replaced safely.