Re-roofing & Refurbishment Works, Clare College

Project Scope

Replacement of the North Range roof coverings and façade repairs with services upgrades and refurbishment of the Porter’s Lodge and Staircase E.

Approximate Value

£4.4 million


Clare College, University of Cambridge

Completion Date

October 2020

Clare College’s Old Court is Grade I listed with significant heritage value. By early engagement and design team meetings we provided a specialist temporary roof and access scaffold providing cost and time savings, and significantly reduced the need for temporary fixings to the fabric of the listed buildings to facilitate the re-roofing works using Collyweston slates

Collyweston slates, which date back to Roman times, are mined from the small Northhamptonshire Village of Collyweston. The slates are created from a unique form of limestone which, once frozen and thawed several times in wet conditions, can be split into thin sheets of stone, by skilled craftsmen called “Clivers”. Historically, the slates were mainly used locally to the mines, however, due their ability to last longer than any other natural roofing material, combined with their pleasing appearance, the slates became the material of choice for many of Cambridge and Oxford’s Colleges. After closure in the 1960’s, predominantly for Health and Safety reasons, the Collyweston mines reopened in 2015, adopting modern-day safety techniques and industrialised freezers, allowing production of the age-old slates to be continued for use in select projects, such as Clare College.

To ensure high quality construction was maintained, all repair works were detailed with conservation works methodologies, approved by the Planning Department’s Conservation Officers. Furthermore, particularly sensitive works were allocated to our directly employed trades operatives with known skills to undertake traditional and conservation building techniques. All works were closely supervised by our Site Manager who worked collaboratively with the Design Team, providing inspections and photos to schedule repairs, as areas of roof structure were exposed.

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