Solid Structures wins a Plaque at the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards 2016

We are delighted to have been awarded a plaque at the 39th Oxford Preservation Trust Awards recognising the restoration work to the roof of the Great Hall, Christ Church . 

The OPT Awards celebrate 'Keeping the best of the old and encouraging the best of the new'. 36 buildings were shortlisted across four categories; Building Conservation, New Buildings, Small Projects and Environment / Landscape Enhancement.  

The roof restoration project at Christ Church picked up one of the only two plaques awarded for Building Conservation. 

Professor Malcolm Airs, Vice President of the Oxford Preservation Trust and Chairman of the awards panel, praised the project in his speech at the awards; “Apart from its newly cleaned and bright decorative finish, the result is sublimely invisible – which is just as it ought to be. This was an exemplary conservation project.”

The Great Hall was originally commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey and designed by Humphrey Coke; it was completed in 1529. Admired daily by tourists and academics alike this magnificent Grade 1 listed building required substantial strengthening work following an initial catastrophic failure of an unbraced purlin. Following investigation it was found the roof had undergone significant movement and decay which put its structural stability at major risk.  

Our skilled team worked with passion to ensure that the roof was stabilised, whilst intervention was kept to a minimum and the historic fabric and appearance of this magnificent roof were retained.

The simplest reconnection solution used coach bolts and steel plate to strengthen. More in-depth repairs looked to replace the missing bearing ‘knuckle’ at the junction between the principal rafter and hammer beam with larger pre-formed channels made in steel. We used an extensive birdcage scaffold was required to allow access to repair the roof while allowing some functions in the Great Hall to continue below.

Throughout the project, great care was taken to ensure the historic intervention was minimised. Final solutions modelled in 3D CAD allowed the reinstatement of the historic mouldings to minimise the visual impact. Timber templates were created on site to ensure the steelwork was fabricated to fit the tight spaces available. Further work included some additional purlin repairs, pendant lantern repairs, strengthening diagonal ties, plates & braces and some mortar repairs. 

The main roof repair work was completed by Cliveden Conservation over a period of six months finishing in time for the new summer conference season at the beginning of July 2015.

Further information about the work of the Preservation Trust is available at

Posted by Mark