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Concealed crack stitching on listed almshouse

Client: Live Theatre Trust
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Approved Installer: St Astier
Reference No: CS149

Live Works is an important £10m scheme, by Live Theatre, with a quayside frontage close to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. This major redevelopment will incorporate high quality offices facing the river and a landscaped garden area, with a public performance space, surrounded by a variety of different styles of building, including a Grade II listed almshouse.

Built in 1820, the almshouse, which is to be converted into a new young people's writing centre, was suffering from both internal and external cracking to its solid masonry caused by historic settlement.

The cracking needed to be sympathetically stitched, with minimum disruption to the building fabric. In addition, internal masonry had to be reinforced to enable the removal of the chimney breasts on the ground and first floors and the installation of steel beams to support the retained chimney stacks.

The conservation architect for this project was Ces Maddison of Tench Maddison Ash Architects.

The Helifix solution

Having undertaken a structural survey, crack stitching using bonded HeliBars was proposed to restore the building's structural integrity.

  • Mortar beds were channelled out at three levels across the full width of the building between the ground and first floors and at seven further levels between the upper story windows. Single 6mm stainless steel HeliBars were bonded into the slots using HeliBond cementitious grout.
  • Twin stainless steel HeliBars were bonded into cut slots around all sides of the internal chimney stacks to strengthen the masonry and avoid any further damage while the stacks lower levels were removed.

Once the external cut slots had been repointed and the wall lime washed there was no evidence of the crack repairs that had been carefully undertaken and the listed almshouse retained its aesthetic appeal.