South Chapel Soham – Refurbishment update 26th May 2021
The refurbishment project at the South Chapel has, as with many projects and particularly due to COVID 2019 experienced delay and as a result the project has run beyond its expected completion date.
The repair project has been running two years (since May 2019 when structural defect to the gable end wall was identified during a maintenance audit) and unfortunately as the project enters its final phase for roof re-tiling and re-installation of the rainwater system a significant Health and Safety issue has now been flagged up.
- It appears the scaffold boards have exceeded their safe life expectancy of 2 years and are showing signs of degradation which renders them unsafe to use and as such the existing scaffold boards urgently need to be replaced.
- It also appears that the steel scaffolding which extends from ground level to a height above the apex of the chapel roof has not been subject to a recent safety check and until such time as a detailed inspection has been conducted.
- As such the metal structure and scaffold boards in use have been declared unsafe to use by the Scaffolding Supplier
As of 25th May 2021, the site was closed to works, warning signs to the dangers erected around the site, with the fencing padlocked. Work to re-tile the roof and re-install the rainwater management system is now suspended with any further works not being able to re-start until a safety audit of the scaffold structure has been completed by the current Supplier and a new safety compliance tag is attached to the structure.
At its Emergency meeting in June 2021 the full council agreed to pay the Scaffolder to undertake the necessary works to enable the scaffold structure to be declared safe for works to continue. Further updates will be reported and it is hoped that the chapel will be declared watertight by end 2021. Any further programmes of refurbishment works including additional internal remodelling for amenity provisions to bring this building back into community use will be further considerations by the town council and in due course.
Please note that the paired North Chapel is under Trust of the North Chapel Charitable Trust