Building Team Update – July 2013

After reaching out target of £150k back in January this year, we’ve been gearing up to the moment when we actually own the hall. The exchange of contracts is now imminent and completion is expected to follow shortly after. Then, finally, we’ll be able to begin the essential repairs to make the building  safe and dry so that other work can begin.

Although we had hoped that the hall could be closed for just a few days to do this work, we now have to close the hall for the whole of August. Why is this?

The hall doesn’t actually have it’s own electricity supply. Electricity is currently being supplied from the house next door and so we need UK Power Networks to connect us to the National Grid. This will involve digging up the road outside the hall and then other work to feed the supply in under the pavement. We’ll be rewiring some of the old lighting circuits, installing fire alarms and emergency lighting and fitting a 3-phase supply.

Damp resulted in a ceiling collapse in the toilets.
Damp resulted in a ceiling collapse in the toilets.

We are about to have a full condition survey carried out to give us priorities for essential works. Anyone using the hall knows the distinctly damp smell that greets you. It’s a combination of things that causes it, including leaks in the roof, rotten window frames and broken guttering. All of this needs to be addressed before we start internal repairs.

Perhaps the most welcome change will be to the toilets which are, to say the least, grim! We also have to get some form of emergency heating in place because we have no working system at the moment. [Local heating engineers please get in touch!]

It’s not all repairs though. We must ensure fire safety and security and so locks have to be changed, signs put up and extinguishers located. In all, quite a job to be ready for ‘business as usual’.

The plan is to set up a First Fix group that will make these repairs happen before the end of August. We’ll be starting this work from around the first week in August. We are definitely going to need volunteers to help with some of the work and we’ll be asking people to do specific jobs when the timetable has been finalised in the next week or so.

Other Building News

A group of architecture students from Brighton University have completed a full measured survey of the building and have started on a design that we can present to the community for consultation.

Hanover Community Centre invited us to see their eco refurbishments that have steadily improved the energy efficiency of the building. Really inspiring to see what can be achieved with determination and local volunteers. We’ve taken several ideas on board such as draught-proofing and insulation with lambs wool in the loft.

The building team is:

Amanda Nichols, Richard Davies, Grant Shepherd, Jonathan Dall, Nick Roughley, Dave Fellows, Polly Stebbens, Susan Corlett, Peter Golton.

You can contact us at building@exeterstreethall.org.