The Royal Belfast Academical Institute (RBAI) Centre of IT excellence was developed as a sustainable occupancy for a historically important (listed) former church originally constructed in the early 1800’s.
The condition of the original masonry fabric of the building was reasonably sound however evidence of significant rotation and displacement of external walls indicated progressive movement which threatened their stability.
The proposed sustainable occupancy, which generated the funding to conserve the remaining original fabric, required floor space within the original church which could only be provide by the introduction of an upper floor.
Our approach to conservation of the fabric was to underpin the foundations to arrest the progressive movement, to undertake remedial works to the remaining masonry fabric and to use the structure being introduced to support the new upper floor to provide lateral stability to the unbraced existing walls. Low vibration displacement piles were adopted to provide a foundation to the new reinforced concrete first floor support structure.
Conservation and restoration of a ‘hanging’ stair was undertaken after research into the theory and practice associated with such stairs a. Our close involvement with the stone masons and controlled load testing of a trial installation ensured this was achieved safely.