Building Problem at St Thomas'

Update on the roof problems at St Thomas’ 14th November 2017

With the scaffolding in place an inspection of the roof and supporting wall, by the church architect and structural engineer, was possible.  Extracts from the engineers report are:

  • ‘There is inadequate restraint to the gable wall…………the upper part of the gable wall would be sensitive to any environmental movements affecting it and causing displacement over the longer term………’
  • ‘……..there may be insufficient ties between the inner leaf and the external leaf…………’
  • ‘It is likely that without remedial strengthening the movement to the gable wall will continue, promoting a risk of failure to it in relation to wind or other events………..’

Two options have been proposed by the structural engineer to solve the problem.  Both are ‘standard procedures’ in such situations but one is substantially less expensive than the other.  At the PCC meeting on Tuesday 14th November the options were discussed, and it was agreed that the less expensive option should be implemented.  A brief description of the selected option is:

  1. Install new ties, at a spacing of 450mm, between the inner and outer walls
  2. Use pins to secure the upper stonework together
  3. Connect the gable wall back to the main roof beams with steel straps
  4. To achieve this part of the roof will need to be stripped
  5. There should be no need for any work to be done inside the church building

The architect has now been tasked with arranging for a detailed statement of work to be produced and tenders for the work requested from several contractors.

Statement 20th October 2017

Scaffolding has been erected at St Thomas to enable investigation of the roof area to determine the cause of movement in the upper part of the west wall.  An initial inspection by the church architect took place on Friday 20th October.  It was decided that it was necessary  to remove an area of the roof to enable more detailed inspection as to the cause of the movement.  This is being arranged. The vicar joined Keith Newman, Gail Kyle, Max Hubbard and the David Pendery, the church architect in climbing the scaffolding to inspect the roof.  A birds eye view of the courtyard is shown as well as the the vicar inspecting the problem.


Statement 21st September 2017

The nave roof is being monitored to detect movement in the roof.  So far no further movement has been seen.  David Pendery, the church architect, has been appointed  to manage the activities to stabilise the roof, determine the cause of movement and rectify the problem.  Scaffolding to stabilise the roof and provide inspection platforms is expected to be erected next week (beginning 25th September).  With safe access to the roof some of the roof tiles will be removed to allow investigation of the problem.

Statement 7th September 2017


  • On Sunday 3rd September gaps were noticed in the tiles on the roof at the west end of the nave.
  • Evaluation on Monday indicated a potential danger of the top part of the wall falling
  • As a precaution, the west end of the church was closed
  • Inspection by a structural engineer on Wednesday confirmed a serious problem but not one that was dangerous at present
  • The church is safe
  • The church is now available for normal use with some conditions:
    • We do not ring the bell
    • We monitor the gap daily
    • We review the situation if very high winds are expected

Way ahead

  • Erect scaffolding to support the wall as soon as possible
  • Provide access to the top of the roof so that the problem can be investigated and identified
  • Implement measures to resolve the problem