BUILDING SURVEY REPORT
PROPERTY: Tower Gardens Pavilion Skegness
CLIENT: Skegness Partnership
DATE: March 2016
BY: Alex Rosen Associates, Consulting Structural Engineers, Lincoln
BRIEF: to provide a detailed commentary on the current condition of the building and approximate budgets for repair/renovation, if the conclusion is that retention of the building is viable. Alternatively, if the opinion is that the building cannot be economically or viable saved, this is to be stated in the report.
Note: The full consultant’s report is some 79 pages long and provides in great detail a description of each area of the building and its current state of disrepair. To assist the reader we have reproduced here the 12 page Conclusions and Recommendations summary. This still gives a comprehensive description of the current state of the building together with a viability of repair versus replacement.
6.0 COMMENTS CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 General Comments – All Areas
a) It is clear from our observations that the buildings are a substantially deteriorated condition, with no obvious maintenance or repair works appearing to have been undertaken for some years. In the case of the main Pavilion building it is assumed that no works of any form have been carried out since at least 2007, when the Inn on the Park closed. It is not known when St John Ambulance vacated the premises at the rear, although our impression is that no obvious works have been carried out upon this part of the building for at least five years and probably substantially longer. The former Scout building may not have been subject to any attention for 15 years or more. Even to the nursery area, the evidence suggests only superficial repairs and improvements in the more recent past, primarily internal. For the purposes of this report the prime consideration is the condition of the structure and fabric of the buildings, and the viability of repair and renovation back into some form of sustainable use.
b) We have documented numerous problems and defects throughout much of the buildings, many although not all of which are undoubtedly due to long-term neglect and a lack of maintenance, particularly with regard to the roofing and rainwater goods. Continuing water ingress over a number of years, not only in the front part of the Pavilion building but also in the former St John Ambulance and Scout buildings, has resulted in an extreme level of internal damage and disrepair. This has rendered parts of the building interior unsafe, not only on account of sections of damaged or collapsed floor and ceilings, but also due to extensive black mould and fungal growths as a consequence of the damp environment, resulting in a humid atmosphere and condensation. This will have been further exacerbated by a lack of heating and ventilation, associated with disuse of the buildings over a prolonged period.
c) There are a number of structural issues, as described previously and as discussed further below in the following sections. However and in general, whilst some historical movement has taken place and there are areas of cracking or instability, the overriding issue remains the markedly deteriorated condition of the external fabric, consequent long-term water ingress and the associated severe internal damage. Where structural movement has arisen and whilst some of the walls appear noticeably misaligned, it is our opinion that this is longstanding. We have not observed any particular signs of more recent or ongoing instability, at least in relation to the rear part of the main building, along with the projections to the nursery, former St John Ambulance and Scout buildings. Movement is more apparent along the front part of the Pavilion projection facing Tower Gardens, corresponding with the cast iron and timber structure, although even here the misalignment in the building appears longstanding and the overall stability is not of any major concern.
6.2 Main Pavilion Building – Front Section
a) The extent and severity of internal damage and deterioration is of major concern, with reference to the integrity of the roof structure and suspended timber floors. Although on the basis of localised inspection of accessible elements of roof structure, where collapse of the ceilings has occurred, we observed superficial to moderate levels of corrosion, there is a reasonable expectation of more pronounced damage in areas concealed from view, i.e. where ceilings are severely stained or are bulging and have not yet collapsed. In addition, the upwards facing surfaces of the lattice roof trusses and purlins in contact with the deteriorated roof framing may also exhibit substantial corrosion, and it is expected that some significant weakening may have occurred.
b) We would envisage the cast iron elements to be more resilient, although we have observed substantial low level corrosion externally affecting the lower sections of the columns, base plates and holding-down bolts. The main columns also in general exhibit signs of an outwards lean, corresponding with assumed rotation of the foundations, and there is some associated movement at high level where there is distortion to the upper cast iron gallows brackets. There is, as a result, some opening up of steel/iron/timber joints and a degree of mismatch in between the structure to the main part of the building and canopy projections. The integrity of the front left hand corner timber post, which has severely decayed at its base, is of major concern.
c) The integrity of the ground floor construction is also of major concern, and we have observed collapse at the entrance into the male WC, where there is a hole in the floor and signs of severe decay and woodworm to the exposed timbers; this explains the dropping and cracking to the walls in this area. The degree of flexure and springiness in the floors further into the male WC, parts of the female WC, in the bar and fire escape corridor areas, suggests that damage and deterioration is likely to be far more widespread. This would not be unexpected given the apparent degree of water ingress into the building over some years, saturation of carpets, associated mould and fungal growths, along with damaged and buckled timber strip flooring resulting from the high levels of internal moisture.
d) The roof covering had clearly reached the end of its useful life decades ago and, presumably to avoid the major expense involved in renewal, various patch repairs have been carried out in steel sheeting, which has suffered from corrosion and has lifted or buckled in places; the repairs have clearly not addressed the lack of weather integrity and could only ever be considered as a temporary repair. At some stage, presumed original asbestos cement guttering has been renewed in PVC, although much of which is broken or missing, along with the downpipes, again undoubtedly contributing towards the deteriorating fabric and causing or exacerbating severe rot to the base of the front left hand corner timber post.
e) The thermal performance of the building, notwithstanding the absence of any obvious evidence of a heating system serving this part of the Pavilion, is likely to be very poor. Insulation in the zone of the sloping ceilings is minimal or non-existent and there is no insulation obviously present in the sub-floor void where locally exposed in the bar and male WC. The door and window frames are all single glazed, and there is otherwise timber boarding or fielded panels, again having poor thermal characteristics.
f) Severe decay has been identified to the main front timber eaves beam crossing the central canopy roof projection, which also appears to affect some of the adjacent timbers. There is a reasonable expectation of further decay being present in areas concealed from view, particularly to upwards facing surfaces in contact with the deteriorating roof cladding. Deterioration is also generally present at low level around much of the exterior, to the timber infill walling and glazing. It should be appreciated that the design and detailing of the building is such that the maintenance requirements will prove abnormally onerous and high. Without taking steps to maintain weather integrity and carry out regular repair and redecoration of external exposed cast iron, steel and timber elements, it would be inevitable and foreseeable that the building would deteriorate to the extent now visible, after years of neglect.
g) The raised front terraces are poorly drained, corresponding with evidence of settlement and consequent ponding during periods of rainfall. Given that the surfacing appears to have been formed from imprinted type concrete, this is assumed to have originated in the comparatively recent past and could date from the time of last use, although we are not in possession of any specific information. Settlement is in any case likely to have arisen due to inadequate compaction of sub-base or hard core material beneath, whilst there are also some damaged, loose and missing sections of perimeter concrete screen block walling. Corrosion shows through the deteriorating finishes to the metal railings. There is extensive algae and a heavy covering of moss in places upon the steps and ramps, and given that these areas remain accessible to the general public, despite the building being boarded up, there are perceived current/ongoing safety implications and potential liabilities on the part of the building owner.
6.3 Main Pavilion Building – Rear Section Including Nursery
a) The main part of the building exhibits evidence of differential settlement towards the rear and left hand side. This is most apparent along the main back wall, although out of plumb movement of up to around 75mm is considered acceptable for 1½ brick thick construction, being less than one-third of the structural wall thickness and beyond which point there is the potential for instability to arise. There are a number of old cracks also to the rear wall at high level, and additionally to the front left hand corner of the nursery section, although none of which appear recent or of sufficient severity to be of any great concern. The side nursery projection also exhibits evidence of historical settlement, in this instance away from the main building towards the road, although again this appears longstanding and is not of any great structural significance or concern. The brickwork in general exhibits typically moderate and in places fairly pronounced long term erosion of the mortar joints and some spalling of the faces, exacerbated by water discharge down the walls.
b) With regard to the most likely cause of any past movement which might be attributed to historic foundation instability, we have made reference to the 1:50,000 British Geological survey map of the area (Skegness – Sheet 116). This confirms that the underlying near surface ground conditions are most likely to comprise salt marsh and tidal creek deposits (Terrington Beds), mainly in the form of silt and clay. Such ground generally has a fairly poor and often variable bearing capacity and can also be sensitive to large scale variations in foundation loading, such as beneath chimneys. Clay can also be prone to softening with an excess of water, which might typically be expected to arise in the event of any defects to the underground drainage, and can be susceptible to drying shrinkage as a result of moisture depletion; this can be exacerbated by nearby trees.
c) Although we have been unable to inspect the entirety of the roof from beneath, there is evidence of at least some original unfelted slating. Externally, there is evidence of widespread deterioration in the form of slipped, broken or missing slates, failure of nailed fixings/remedial tingles, weathering of the valleys, flashings, mortar beddings, verge pointing and cappings. There are signs of ad-hoc patch repairs using flashband type tape and of only localised patch renewal of slates. In addition, there is staining of the roof timbers in the area which could be readily observed from the first floor living room ceiling access hatch at the least, corresponding with the defective and blocked rainwater goods, obstruction of the valleys and water ingress, although this mainly affects the former St John Ambulance building (refer to section 6.4). There is at the least evidence of damp ingress at high level to the function hall, almost certainly as a consequence of defective, blocked, leaking and sagging guttering, and some eroded pointing. The evidence of decay and some dropping of the soffit and fascia boards suggests deterioration to timber brackets, and there is also a reasonable expectation of decay affecting rafter ends and wall plates in areas concealed from view.
d) There are areas of severe and widespread blackspot mould, particularly pronounced in the beer cellar, almost certainly due to condensation although there is some evidence of rising dampness also. We again have major reservations concerning the integrity of the suspended timber ground floors, having regard to the damp and humid atmosphere and the high levels of measured moisture in some areas. The flooring in the beer cellar and corridor alongside is of particular concern, given the degree of flexure consistent with suspected decay, either caused by or exacerbated by the wet floor design in the beer cellar and the presence of a floor gully with no obvious sealing and disintegration of the floor covering.
e) There is further damage and deterioration to the continuation of the main roof over the nursery and additionally to the concrete tiling over the projections, although we at least did not observe any obvious current evidence of a water ingress problem, other than noting some staining of timbers and damaged felt above the wet area/preschool. There is, however, a clear dampness issue affecting the children’s WCs, corresponding with blistering paint and high levels of measured moisture; it is not clear whether this is as a result of rising or penetrating damp. It is suspected that there are further areas of damage concealed behind wall linings and boxing out.
f) The uPVC doors and frames to the rear wall of the main room in the nursery and to the porch appear fairly recent, in good condition and are likely to afford a reasonably good degree of thermal performance. Otherwise, the window frames are single glazed, a mixture of older sliding sash and later casement type, although all of which are in no better than fair condition, poor in places and exhibiting evidence of decay; the thermal performance will be generally poor.
g) We have observed little if any insulation in the roof voids examined, whilst the external walls appear to be of solid brickwork construction throughout, possessing poor thermal characteristics. The only obvious evidence of insulated dry lining is in the children’s playroom, covering the party wall with Tower House. It is of course possible that there is insulation present in areas which could not be accessed or hidden from view, although the balance of evidence from observations made in areas which could be readily inspected suggests that this is unlikely.
h) It would appear that professional checking of the electrical installation last took place around three to four years before closure of the Inn on the Park. The services have now been disused for around eight to nine years and, given the degree of internal dilapidation, particularly water ingress, dampness and decay, the electrical installation cannot be assumed to be serviceable and safe, in the absence of any information to the contrary. In any case, there is evidence of an inadequate and obsolete heating installation, based upon a warm air system which serves only the rear part of the building. The apparent absence of any obvious heating provision in the bar areas and WCs would not be acceptable, even if the building was otherwise in good condition.
i) No major issues are apparent with the services installations in the nursery, which remains in use. Certification for the electrical installation, which we have not had sight of, remains current until July 2017, and there are no obvious concerns based upon visual appraisal. There are also no great concerns with the heating and plumbing installations, other than noting fairly old style radiators and limited control, with no TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves). It is suspected that there are elements of the installation which are nearing the end of their useful life.
6.4 Former St John Ambulance and Scout Buildings
a) These buildings have also suffered due to a suspected fairly long-term lack of maintenance and repair, and as a result there are areas of severe internal damage and decay to the fabric. As with the Pavilion building, much although not all of the damage is as a result of defective roofing and rainwater goods, although there is also at least some evidence of rising dampness.
b) Structurally there are some signs of movement, particularly towards the northwest corner of the Scout hall, where there is outwards leaning and bowing of the rear elevation, along with out of level brick coursing and cracking. To the right hand gable there is pronounced bowing in the roof zone. However the movement/damage appears longstanding. To the extensive areas of render, there is widespread cracking, debonding and deterioration.
c) Internally, there is evidence of extensive boarding, in the store/boot room, main lobby and treatment room at the least, obscuring the underlying structure from view. The possibility of additional defects and which have been covered over in the past, cannot be discounted. Such defects will only be revealed upon stripping of the boarding, during the course of renovations. Further defects or damage could be present in the roof void over the treatment room, which could not be inspected.
d) The most substantial areas of damage and the likely causes thereof are as follows:
i. In the ground floor office, primarily due to a number of broken roof tiles and a punctured sarking felt membrane, which has allowed water to enter the building, resulting in severe and widespread damage around the right hand half of the office, corresponding with stained and disintegrating plaster/finishes and decay of skirting boards. The valley junction between the roofs over the office and the adjacent part of Tower House could be a further contributory factor.
ii. Pronounced deterioration of the finishes into the northwest corner of the store/boot room, despite internal evidence of plasterboard dry lining. There is some additional associated damage externally. The damage/deterioration have probably arisen due to penetrating dampness.
iii. Fairly pronounced low level deterioration to the ground floor dividing wall in between the dining/function room and treatment room, to what originally comprised an outside wall and almost certainly due to rising dampness.
iv. Pronounced deterioration in the northeast corner of the first floor meeting/function room, attributable to penetrating dampness.
v. Pronounced high level deterioration in the first floor landing/stairwell, almost certainly due to water ingress associated with a boarded-over broken roof light.
vi. Further pronounced dampness in the boiler/escape lobby, particularly to the left hand side wall and almost certainly as a consequence of further penetrating dampness. The similarity in level between the floor and outside fire escape could be a further contributory factor.
vii. Severe deterioration and disintegration of the finishes in the southwest corner of the first floor office. This corresponds with blockage and obstruction of the defective guttering, deterioration of the valley and decay of fascia and soffit boarding externally, above and in the immediate vicinity.
viii. Extreme damage and disrepair in the former Scout buildings, concentrated in the kitchen, WC and stores, as a result of defective tiled, asbestos cement and felt roofing. The severity of internal damage suggests that this situation has prevailed over a considerable number of years. Even in the main Scout hall and larger store, there is substantial damage and deterioration, despite some evidence of remedial damp proof coursing.
e) It is suspected that the external render around much of these buildings is of a hard cement based type, not ideally incompatible with historical brickwork, and it is reasonably likely that this corresponds with the evidence of penetrating dampness, particularly at higher level; further penetrating dampness is probably disguised by the plasterboard linings. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in their leaflet “The Need for Old Buildings to Breathe” points out that rendering to old masonry should be utilising a relatively permeable material, allowing moisture to pass through and evaporate from the surface of the wall, and this would dictate the use of a lime based render. If a hard cement render has been used, it might be expected that this would prematurely fail, as would appear to be the case. It is suspected that water has entered the wall fabric via fine cracks, exacerbating any dampness issues and giving rise to the potential for spalling damage to occur during freeze/thaw cycles over the winter months. It is possible that removal of parts or even the entirety of the render may highlight the need for some repair of the wall structure, corresponding with historical cracking/damage which may have been covered up.
f) The electrical test certification for the former St John Ambulance, which we have not had sight of, would appear to remain current assuming that no works upon the installation have been carried out subsequent to the last periodic inspection in mid-2013. However, the installation may have been adversely affected by dampness and water ingress subsequently, and the fact that the last inspection only took place less than three years ago cannot be taken as any form of confirmation that the electrical installation is sound and safe. We have no knowledge concerning any annual servicing and checking of the central heating installation, and our impression is that there are old and obsolete elements, particularly with regard to the central heating boiler and hot water cylinder. The water tanks are unprotected, contaminated by debris and are uninsulated. The services installations throughout the Scout building, given the likely period of time which has elapsed since the building was last used and the severity of internal disrepair, should be assumed to be defective and unsafe.
g) Where observations to the roof voids in the former St John Ambulance building could be made, there is evidence of an area of weakness above first floor in the location of an assumed former chimney stack. There is in general a fairly limited quantity of insulation, in the range of around 50mm-100mm thick of either a loose mineral fibre or “Rockwool” type, markedly short of current day criteria. We also observed some insulation in the former Scout building, exposed where ceilings have collapsed. Again, however, and as with much of the Pavilion building, solid masonry walls possess poor thermal characteristics. There are some replacement uPVC door and window frames which, whilst not appearing to be of recent origin, appear in fair to satisfactory condition, except where broken and boarded up in the rear treatment room wall. The timber casement type window frames to the left hand side treatment room wall and former first floor WCs are fair to poor, whilst all of the door and window frames to the former Scout building are in an extreme state of disrepair, corresponding with many years of neglect.
6.5 Viability of Repair vs Replacement
a) In reality, given the extreme state of disrepair, the severity of dampness and decay, the buildings can be considered as little more than a “shell”. Even setting aside the viability and sustainability aspects and a fully defined end use for the Pavilion and attached buildings, retention would involve major remedial, upgrading and improvement works along with further investigations, including the following (the list is not exhaustive):
i. Complete renewal of all asbestos cement/steel sheet, slate and felt roof coverings, and either extensive repair/overhauling or replacement to areas of concrete roof tiling also.
ii. Re-roofing over the front building would need to be in a lightweight material, for example “Decra” type tile effect sheeting or profiled steel sheeting to avoid an increase in loading on the historic steel and cast iron structure.
iii. Complete renewal of all rainwater goods and above ground drainage.
iv. At least some renewal of defective fascia, soffit and bargeboards, to the rear part of the main building, the nursery, former St John Ambulance and Scout buildings. Otherwise, retention and refurbishment where deterioration is cosmetic.
v. In conjunction with roof overhauling, all associated treatment, repair and renewal of roof timbers affected by woodworm and fungal decay.
vi. Upon stripping of the roof coverings to the front part of the Pavilion, specialist checking of the steel lattice beams and cast iron elements, to assess the degree of degradation, including sampling and metallurgical testing as necessary.
vii. At the least and to steel and cast iron elements confirmed to be sound, shot or grit blasting back to bare metal and complete refinishing with a corrosion resistant paint finish system. In reality and in order to be able to fully access, strip, treat and refinish all elements, it is likely to be necessary to fully dismantle the structure and work upon the components off site, prior to re-erection.
viii. Complete repointing of the external walls, where these comprise exposed brickwork and complete re-rendering to walls which are currently rendered.
ix. Remedial damp treatment to the masonry walls throughout, to both the external elevations and internal masonry partitions, along with associated specialist replastering, including treatment at high level in conjunction with remedial works to address the numerous areas of penetrating dampness.
x. Extensive replastering or lining of the walls internally, where the existing plaster is defective, whether as a result of rising/penetrating dampness or otherwise, also taking the opportunity to incorporate insulation (refer to 6.5(b)).
xi. New ceilings, where the existing are either missing, defective or have been affected by dampness, water ingress or mould. Again, this would afford the opportunity to upgrade or install new insulation (again refer to 6.5(b)).
xii. Detailed investigations into the integrity of the suspended timber ground floors, anticipated to be present throughout the front and rear parts of the Pavilion building, and extending into most of the nursery also. This is upon the basis that the severe decay and collapse in the lobby and male WC, along with the excessive springiness and flexure elsewhere, could be indicative of a more widespread problem affecting the ground floor structure.
xiii. Extensive if not complete renewal of the ground floor structure, based upon visual observation and the degree of water ingress occurring into the building. For the purposes of this report and in the absence of any information to the contrary, renewal of the floor structure should therefore be assumed to the entirety of the front part of the Pavilion building and in the rear section corresponding with the kitchen, beer cellar and corridor zone at the least.
xiv. Renewal of defective structural timber elements to the front of the Pavilion, in particular the severely decayed central eaves beam and the front left hand corner post. It should be reasonably assumed that further elements will also require renewal, or at least repair/strengthening given the likelihood of additional decay in areas concealed from view.
xv. Except where uPVC door and window frames have been installed around parts of the former St John Ambulance building and locally to the nursery, renewal all of the remaining frames throughout. Having regard to the historic frontage, the replacement frames could if required replicate the appearance of the existing, using vertical double hung sliding sash frames, in timber or uPVC.
xvi. Alternatively and if the existing frames must be retained, provided that repair and refurbishment are viable, internal secondary glazing could be considered. This is, however, a far from ideal solution as the heavy maintenance burden associated with traditional Victorian sash windows would remain, and deterioration would again readily arise in the absence of regular attention.
xvii. Around the main Pavilion building, the installation of new services throughout, rewiring the building and installing a new zoned central heating system which encompasses all of the footprint and not solely the rear section.
xviii. Subject to specialist assessment, carrying out any necessary repair or upgrading of the services installations in the former St John Ambulance building. Given that testing of the electrical installation only took place less than three years ago, it is not envisaged that major works will be required, although some renewal of dated or obsolete elements in the central heating system should be assumed, particularly to the older radiators and programmer, along with any elements affected by water ingress.
xix. Renewal of the services installations throughout in the former Scout building, i.e. complete rewiring and a replacement central heating system, unless following specialist examination any of the existing elements may be reasonably salvaged and retained.
xx. Complete redecoration, externally and internally throughout.
xxi. Renewal of underground foul and surface water drainage systems, in the absence of any information to confirm that the existing are sound.
b) The poor thermal performance of the building, in the absence of major upgrading, has been noted earlier in respect of the solid brickwork walls, single glazed door and window frames, uninsulated roof and floor voids. As a part of a scheme of renovation it would be essential to upgrade the thermal performance, as far as is reasonably practicable. Whilst upgrading all elements to accord with present day Building Regulation criteria would probably not be achievable without incurring major and disproportionate costs, markedly improving the thermal performance of the roofing should be readily achievable. We would envisage the use of rigid board type insulation, “Kingspan”, “Celotex” etc, where space is restricted and otherwise more conventional “Rockwool” type material, to achieve U values in the range of around 0.16-0.20, dependent upon location. The fitting of insulation above sloping ceilings, in areas which would otherwise be inaccessible, could be carried out in conjunction with roof overhauling.
c) We are aware that previous assessments of the Pavilion have been carried out, and in the course of preparing this report we have briefly reviewed the feasibility study prepared by Focus in May 2009 and their drawings based upon refurbishment of the Pavilion originating from August 2011. We have not had sight of any associated condition or survey report upon the premises at that time and, other than brief mention of the deteriorating condition, we have been unable to source any further documents which might provide an insight as to the condition of the building, in order to be able to assess the degree of damage and deterioration which have since arisen due to continuing neglect. It appears, at that stage, that retention and refurbishment of the Pavilion was being contemplated as a viable and sustainable option, although we are not aware of the existence of a Stage 2 feasibility study.
d) The remedial works encompassed upon the drawings previously prepared by Focus were fairly comprehensive, although there was no obvious reference to structural repairs, the condition of steel and cast iron elements and remedial works arising from water ingress, rising dampness and decay. Moreover, the scheme at that time did not involve the former St John Ambulance and Scout buildings, where there are major problems and issues comparable with the main Pavilion building, or the attached nursery. We would be reasonably certain that deterioration of the Pavilion building has accelerated markedly over around the last four to six years since the feasibility study carried out for East Lindsey District Council and upon which basis the remedial works proposed at that time would now be insufficient. With regard to the buildings at the rear, not covered at that time, we can only reasonably assume that a marked degree of deterioration has arisen over a relatively short period of time, assuming that the former St John Ambulance premises were last occupied only around two to three years ago.
e) With reference to the general state of disrepair documented in this report and the envisaged scope of repairs and renovations, none of the works recommended are considered abnormal or technically complex for a building of this age and type. Saving and restoring the buildings is, therefore, technically viable if sufficient funding was available (refer also to section 6.6). However and mindful of the end usage and the requirement for a sustainable, economically viable multi-function community facility, whether or not this is a desirable course of action, compatible with sustainable usage, is an entirely separate matter.
f) The feasibility study dating back almost seven years was on the basis of using the main Pavilion building as a tearoom/bistro, with flexible gallery/exhibition space, including a seasonal museum. The alternative scheme was upon the basis of a customer service centre, offices and conference/marriage/meeting facilities. A presumed earlier undated scheme by Mouchel was based on using most of the Pavilion building, including a new area of first floor and what appears to comprise the area of the former Scout hall, as a library, with offices and marriage facilities in the remainder. We have not had sight of any further documentation subsequent to 2011 and can only surmise, with reference to the additional time which has since elapsed and the scope of our brief, that the case for a sustainable and viable use for the Pavilion, which allows retention of the building as existing and renovation, has not yet been made. We are aware from recent discussion that the building could be utilised by Skegness Town Council as an “anchor tenant”, which would still allow for a tearoom/café, with reference to the outcome of a previous public consultation exercise, along with flexible exhibition/meeting/conference/office space; refer also to section 6.6.
g) Since the St John Ambulance building was still in use at the time of the feasibility study, this part of the site did not form a part of the previous assessments. The size and layout of this building does not obviously lend itself to any usage other than for offices or commercial use. We assess a floor area, net of internal walls, although including lobbies, kitchen, WCs and stairwell, of around 200m². However, the building is constrained by limited or non-existent natural daylight, the current design and haphazard/ad-hoc layout of the interior.
h) The former Scout building, also not forming a part of the previous assessment, other than as a part of the earlier library scheme, would only obviously suit some form of manufacturing, commercial or industrial purpose, possibly a workshop or similar. There is around a further 80m² of floor area, although only half of which relates to the main hall.
i) Approximate budget cost estimations are discussed in section 6.6. Whilst as stated above, restoration of the buildings is technically feasible, if the costs were comparable with a replacement building, the onerous ongoing maintenance and repair requirements, along with substantially higher energy usage even following upgrading of the thermal performance, would result in considerably higher running costs. Clearly, this will substantially impact upon the economic viability of retention and reuse of the existing buildings.
j) The balance of evidence suggests that repair and renovation of the buildings, given the numerous problems and major issues clearly evident, is very unlikely to be an economically viable and sustainable course of action. There is a significant likelihood of uncovering further hidden defects and also of potential instability and other problems arising during the course of the works. Under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM), we and any other professionals working on or advising upon the building, i.e. Architects, Structural Engineers, Quantity Surveyors etc, are deemed a “Designer” and are obliged to consider the health and safety implications of our professional advice. The building owner/client also has obligations under the latest 2015 version of the regulations. Therefore, our understanding is that for this project Skegness Town Council, if they take over responsibility for the building, would be accountable for the impact their decisions and approach would have on the health, safety and welfare of those involved in the scheme.
k) Under CDM Regulation 9 “…the Designer must take into account the general principles of prevention and any pre-construction information to eliminate, so far as is reasonably practicable, foreseeable risks to the health or safety of any person....carrying out or liable to be affected by construction work….using a structure designed as a workplace”. It could be reasonably argued that the risks would be markedly reduced, if not entirely eliminated by dismantling the building remotely, working from the outside utilising suitable plant and constructing a replacement premises. This would, however, be subject to firstly removing any deleterious materials, particularly asbestos roofing, with reference to the Asbestos Survey Report prepared by QualSurv Environmental Solutions for East Lindsey District Council in July 2011, prior to proposed demolition.
l) It is acknowledged that the building is of significant historical interest locally, dating back to the Victorian era and forms a part of the heritage of the town. However, it seems clear that retention of the building in its current form is unlikely to be viable; various commercial ventures have failed over the years and it would appear that the building was only utilised for its originally intended purpose, as a community facility, for around the first 60 years of its life.
m) Although we are not architectural experts or heritage consultants, it does appear that the part of the building giving the Pavilion its character is the front section facing Tower Gardens, i.e. the façade of cast iron columns and gallows brackets, carved timberwork and entrance canopies. The remainder of the building does not appear to be of much if any interest architecturally. Although we have not been involved with any design feasibility study for a replacement building, we would query whether it would be viable to salvage elements of the existing historic fabric for incorporation into a new structure. In particular, salvage and reuse of a number of the cast iron columns and brackets and the use of refurbished or replacement carved fascia board sections, integrated into a part of the new building, could provide a link with the past. Whether or not this is viable or even desirable, whether such elements should be visible externally from the south, facing the gardens or incorporated internally, for example around a quadrangle or covered internal feature, would be down to design and economic decisions by others. At least some salvage and reuse of the historic elements which currently give the building its character could go some way to appeasing those who are against redevelopment of the site.
6.6 Budget Costings
a) With regard to the cost implications involved in undertaking all of the remedial works, repairs and improvements described in this report or alternatively demolition and construction of a replacement building, it should be appreciated that we are not quantity surveyors, estimators or valuers and any advice provided is only of a general nature and upon a “broad brush” basis. We would strongly recommend the services of a chartered quantity surveyor, or that quotations are obtained from suitably experienced and reputable building contractors, if firm costings are required as a basis for further discussion in formulating an action plan.
b) We are aware that, in 2009, a project budget of £1,000,000 was established, although it was assumed that VAT would be reclaimable, which would only generally be the case for a new build development. In terms of the “shell” works, excluding fees, any fitting out and other costs, the figure for construction was set at £637,000. This was, however, solely in relation to the Pavilion building, excluding the nursery and buildings at the rear. Other than the 2011 scheme drawings, we have been unable to locate any further information to establish how the construction cost was to be apportioned and where the main items of expenditure were to be incurred.
c) Scaling off the 1:100 existing floor plans and front elevation drawing prepared by Focus, we have established an approximate gross building footprint, excluding the nursery and rear buildings but including the front canopy projections although not the terraces, of around 565m². For this floor area, the previous project cost would equate to a cost per square metre for repair and renovation, without any fit-out or associated costs, of around £1,125 per square metre. This would therefore appear comparable with or even slightly greater than our expectations for a new building of this size, particularly given that the figure did not include for any fit-out or other costs beyond the basic construction. Even with the increased level of deterioration during the intervening period, we would estimate around £550,000 plus VAT, utilising a fairly generous refurbishment cost figure of £90 per square foot to reflect the abnormal level of deterioration.
d) Based upon our approximate measured survey, the gross footprint figures for the former St John Ambulance and Scout buildings at the rear are:
Ground floor St John Ambulance 177m²
First floor St John Ambulance 87m²
Former Scout building 97m² ____
Applying a repair and renovation figure of £80 per square foot results in a budget estimate of around £300,000 plus VAT.
e) Scaling off the Focus drawing, from the outline of the children’s nursery there is possibly an additional gross footprint of up to around 145m². However, the accuracy of the outline is unknown and the plan supplied by the nursery suggests that the footprint is smaller and does not appear to accurately reflect the current layout. With some uncertainty over the sizing, all we can suggest at this stage is an additional budget cost of, say, around £75,000 plus VAT to repair and renovate this area.
f) We therefore assess a minimum budget cost for repair and renovation of the Pavilion and attached buildings of £900,000 plus VAT. Including VAT (the works would not obviously be exempt), we assess a total repair and renovation budget of approximately £1.1m. This is before account is taken of any required alterations, remodelling, fitting out, professional fees, development and other costs, which could readily increase the budget to £1.4m or more. Clearly, this is dependent upon the level of alteration and remodelling required, along with the scope and specification of the fit-out.
g) Considering the alternative rebuild option, we have recently had sight of a Schedule of Accommodation prepared by Frank Shaw Associates Ltd, Architects, dated 3 March 2016. Although we have not had sight of any drawings or other documentation, the Schedule appears to be based upon usage of the building in part by the Town Council. Tea rooms, kitchen and associated areas are included, along with offices, museum room, tourist information, function room and Council chamber. The floor area allocated for the nursery could be comparable with the existing, although we are not in possession of sufficient information to assess whether this is definitely the case. The total scheduled net floor area appears comparable with or possibly minimally less than the gross footprint of the existing buildings; i.e. we would estimate an increase in net floor area of around 10-20%.
h) Using the 1004m² floor area figure in the Schedule of New Accommodation, we would estimate a budget for the “shell” works, excluding fitting out, professional fees, development and other costs, of in the region of £1.1-1.3m; this is based upon a cost/m2 in the £1,100-£1,300 range. Our understanding is that the works would be zero rated for VAT purposes. The cost of demolition and site clearance has not been included.
i) Our assessment, therefore, is that the cost of a replacement building would be comparable with or only slightly higher than repair and renovation of the existing premises. As with any scheme involving refurbishment of an historic building, there is always a risk of uncovering hidden problems and of the remedial works costs rapidly escalating to well beyond the original budget, including any normal level of contingency. With a new build scheme there is a far higher probability of the project being delivered within or close to budget, as the scope for problems developing and consequent cost increases should be far lower. Even if the new build option proves slightly more costly initially, there is a reasonable likelihood that the final construction cost will prove comparable or lower in comparison with retention of the existing building. Moreover, the long-term repair, maintenance and running costs for a new building will prove far more advantageous.
The survey was carried out on 1, 3, 4 & 7 March 2016. Weather conditions on the first and last days were poor, with much of the inspection being carried out during moderate to heavy rainfall. This report has been prepared only upon the basis of visual observations made at the time of inspection, which should be read in conjunction with the appended photographic record, referenced in the main text and higher resolution images contained on the separate CD.
This report is issued in accordance with Alex Rosen Associates’standard limitations of inspection, included as Appendix A. The survey was carried out on behalf of Skegness Partnership and the report may also be relied upon by East Lindsey District Council. No liability is accepted to any other third party for all or part therein.
Observations assume that the reader is standing facing the element being inspected. Overall observations are with reference to the front of the property, which faces south. All observations externally were carried out from ground level, aided by binoculars.