The event helps raise money for PCA’s company charity, RedR UK, which trains humanitarian workers around the world, giving them the skills to prepare for, and respond to, major disasters like earthquakes, floods, conflict and drought. Final fundraising amount TBC!
PCA Consulting Engineers has enhanced their expertise in the conservation of historic buildings.
Conservation engineer Paul Carpenter has successfully applied for and been approved to be included on the Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers (CARE).
CARE was established by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) to raise the standard of conservation engineering across the industry.
The register is designed for those individuals who wish to demonstrate a defined level of competency in the application of conservation within the construction process.
The main aims of CARE is to:
- To help clients select a suitable engineer with proven conservation experience
- Promote sympathetic and best practice in engineering conservation
- Raise the awareness of conservation in the engineering profession
- Encourage education and training in conservation engineering
Paul had to prepare five case studies as part of the process, followed by an assessment and a professional interview.
He said: “I very much enjoy conservation engineering and working with architects, contractors and clients to preserve and protect old and historic buildings. It is always rewarding to establish a new use for a redundant building, knowing that its future is then hopefully protected and can be enjoyed for many years to come.”
This project included alterations and small extensions to a residential property in Salcombe.
The alterations included wall removals and widening of an existing opening to link into an extension that replaced a previous conservatory.
The restricted site meant that all materials and kit had to be walked up, so the piling and construction methods were designed accordingly.
Target Structural installed the piles with their hand-operated kit and Trevor Gillard was the main contractor who delivered a successful finish for the client.
In the first of our series of helpful articles, we are going to consider knocking down walls or creating large openings, as they must be among the most common alterations to make in homes. Your wishes can almost always be achieved, however lots of internal walls are an integral part of the building’s structure and it is important to understand the arrangement and how the various building parts are supported.
Structural walls are typically known as load-bearing walls, but these are not always solid masonry walls and can often be timber stud walls. Further to this, some solid block walls are not always load-bearing. Hence. It is critical to review correctly. Load-bearing walls can support the roof, floors and walls above and will typically require a beam to replace the wall and the weight of the building elements above. PCA will assess the various loads accurately to ensure the correctly sized beam is used.
Transferring the load back into the remaining or adjacent walls is important and this will need to be verified. Adjacent walls are not always structural or may not have sufficient foundations, so there are several factors that may need considering, not just the wall or beam.
Another element that is often overlooked is internal walls provide restraint to external walls that receive wind loads and if removed without consideration can compromise the external fabric of a building’s stability.
But where there is a will there is a way!
PCA has the know-how to design what is required to facilitate your wall(s) removal. If you believe the wall is non load-bearing, then we can double check your building and give you the clarification and confirm what you need before you knock the wall down.
In either case, altering structural walls requires building regulation approval. Our involvement and design calculations and/or plans will gain you approval, but sometimes other areas of the building regulations, other than Part A – Structure, will need considering, e.g. Part B – Fire Safety, whereby if a wall removal interferes with the safe means of escape in the event of a fire. Planning permission is rarely needed for internal alterations but if the property is listed then listed building consent must be gained prior to any works commencing. Party wall matters in some cases will also need considering.
We can consider all these factors or liaise with building control or an architect accordingly. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can be of any assistance.
PCA was commissioned by Science Projects Ltd to analyse a bespoke steel frame and counterbalance, which allows a car to be lifted by the force of a child pulling down on a rope as part of an interactive permanent science exhibition.
Due to be delivered to the XPLORE Entertainment Center in Athens – the largest theme and educational park in Greece – the Lamda crane exhibit experiments with the principle of levers, which was first proven by Archimedes in the 3rd century BC. He stated: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”
PCA has previously been commissioned to design the structural steelwork for a trawler that was a feature of The Beach exhibition at Experimentarium in Denmark. Again, it was built by Science Projects in London before being transported to Copenhagen as part of a major refurbishment programme.
A plaque has been unveiled to celebrate the work carried out on the spire above the Grade-II listed Bridge Chambers owned by Barnstaple charity, The Bridge Trust.
Jonathan Rhind Architects work with The Bridge Trust on all their listed properties and they called on PCA’s lead conservation engineer Paul Carpenter for advice on the spire.
During an inspection of the roof conditions to Bridge Chambers, the architects noticed several large splits in the timber structure of the spire. PCA strategically assessed the spire and advised on the structural timber and intricate internal steel repairs required to not only stabilise it, but to prolong the life of this very prominent Barnstaple landmark too.
The spire project received a commendation and was the runner-up in the ‘Repairs of a historic building or structure’ category at Devon Historic Building Trust’s Building Conservation Awards 2017.
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.
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 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 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!”