Nov 2019

PCA – serving the needs of Cornwall clients

by Andrew Horton

While we have been based in Devon for 40 years, we have worked for most of these years in neighbouring Cornwall too.

As our illustration shows, we are currently working on numerous projects throughout the county, ranging from National Trust properties to commercial projects, alongside architects and contractors to help create bespoke homes for private clients.

Our engineers can often be seen crossing the Tamar Bridge to visit these sites and new schemes, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a project in Cornwall that may benefit from our structural, conservation and civil engineering expertise.

Whiddon Park House wins conservation award

by Sophia Darke

PCA Consulting was part of the team that worked on Whiddon Park House which has been fortunate to win the ‘Restoration of an historic building or structure’ category at The Devon Historic Buildings Trust Conservation Awards, 2019.

The aim of the awards is to encourage all those who work with historic buildings by acknowledging best conservation practice and good design.

Mark Kingscote, chairman of DHBT said: “We were delighted with the range of entries which covered all aspects of conservation and showcased the professional skills that we are fortunate to have in Devon. It is also gratifying to see that the owners of historic buildings in the county are prepared to accept the best advice and employ the most skilled tradesmen to complete the work whether it is their home or a commercial building.”

Grade II-listed Whiddon Park House was the seat of the Whiddon family from the time of Elizabeth I. The present building dates from the 17th century. It is an attractive granite and slate house with quality stonework set in the River Teign valley, near Chagford.

Whiddon Park House owner Neil Loden said: “Susan and I are delighted that Whiddon Park House received this accolade; a result made possible by great teamwork from all of those who contributed in multiple ways to the great result of bringing the house fully back to life after so many years.”

PCA’s most experienced conservation engineer Paul Carpenter said: “It was real pleasure to work on this very special building with a dedicated experienced team of professionals and contractors. There was tremendous ‘team spirit’ which resulted in a smooth-running project and everyone being proud of their contribution.”

PCA project ‘Highly Commended’ at national awards

by Sophia Darke

PCA is pleased to announce that The Farmers Arms was ‘Highly Commended’ at the LABC Grand Finals.

The project had already won the Best Small Commercial Project at the regional LABC awards and was highly commended at the RICS Awards, South West.

We worked alongside Anthony Branfield Carpentry & Building Ltd, Jonathan Rhind Architects, MXB Devon Operations Ltd, Hannah Lohan Interiors, Michael Grubb Studio and Rathbone Partnership to rescue this dilapidated village pub bought by tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Bebo, Michael Birch.

PCA celebrates 40th anniversary

by Sophia Darke

PCA Consulting Engineers is celebrating its 40th year as a firm of structural, conservation and civil engineers.

Established in 1979 by Paul Carpenter, the Kingsbridge-based independent business has grown in both size and reputation to provide a friendly, considered and highly professional service.

Now under the leadership of directors Andrew Horton, Ross Carpenter and Sophia Darke, PCA works mainly in the South West with the region’s leading contractors and architects assisting with both commercial and residential projects of all sizes.

Among PCA’s most notable recent projects has been the conservation work for National Trust properties St Michael’s’ Mount, Killerton House and Greenway alongside new-build projects such as the award-winning Dar Gwenen, in Cornwall, and the luxury riverside development, The Yealm.

Andrew said: “I have been with PCA for 22 years and am proud to work for a firm that has stood the test of time for four decades and continues to strive for the best possible outcomes for our clients.

“PCA has won numerous awards during this time but has also nurtured the careers of many young engineers and technicians.”

PCA currently offers the services of eight engineers and three technicians supported by finance director Sophia and an administration team.

Andrew added: “The engineering side of construction may not always be the most obvious element of any building or conservation project, but our comprehensive advice and our pragmatic solutions ensure these projects are entirely fit for purpose, while meeting the design requirements of the client and their architect. This work ethic has served us well for 40 years and hope it will serve us just as well for another 40!”

Cold weather working

by Andrew Horton

With November shaping up to be the coldest since 2010 and the Met Office already predicting the coldest winter for 50 years, it is worth noting the constraints of cold weather working.

While locally we rarely experience prolonged periods of freezing temperatures, it is important that specifiers and contractors are fully aware of cold weather working.

This may include protecting newly-laid concrete from frost, avoiding laying masonry units in falling temperatures (below or likely to fall below 2°C) or using suitable materials for site-mixed concrete. Temperatures should be checked throughout the day on a thermometer.

Although the temptation is to pop your hard hat on top of your woolly hat, remember that this may compromise the fit of the hat. Manufacturer-approved head warmers are available that can safely be worn under a hard hat, so you still get a good fit for your safety helmet without compromising its effectiveness.

If in doubt, please do give us a call and PCA can advise as necessary and ensure any structural works are not affected by cold weather.