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    • The word "restore" gets very contentious in conservation circles.  At a lecture I recently attended, a well-known conservation architect held up an example of a bike that was owned by a famous cyclist.  He was very pleased to own this bike and wanted to use it.  The bike was very famous (in the cycling world!) and he wanted to conserve it as much as possible.  The problem is, it needed new wheels and a new saddle.  He then realised that the brakes and the gears needed overhauling and this raised the question which he put to all at the lecture: if you replace everything, does the item you are conserving/restoring cease to be the original?  The relevance to this for building stock is simple.  The reason old buildings look so great is that, well, they're old!  Time builds up a patina that is not easy to replicate.  If you were to replace every damaged brick on an old building and replace all the stone cills and details, you would end up with something that looked like a major house builder's Victorian pastiche.  

    • At London Building Renovation we have developed a way of working and an ethos that runs through the business.  We aim to repair all structural work but to leave it looking as if no work has been done.  With regards to fitting of new details, wherever possible we "age" them; the exception to this may be fitting of new items where there is no alternative but to replace, such as a stone sill or a string course.  Occasionally, where properties have lost a large part of detailing in total, there is no alternative but to replace with new.   In such cases, we feel that it is best not to try and hide a complete replacement but our philosophy is that a new piece of stone can sit quite comfortably beside old brickwork

    • In old buildings where lime has been used as a mortar, it is possible to salvage many bricks.  Where cement has been used, it is often impossible to save any.  We have the address of every reclaim yard and access to many hundreds of brick colours and sizes.  Our address book ranges from foundries to copper workers, from stone masons to French polishers.  If you are serious about restoring all of your building or just a small part, such as an arch, then we would be well placed to advise you.

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      • Brick cleaning
      • Brick restoration
      • Tuck pointing
      • Self-supporting brick arches
      • Restoring original window openings
      • Re-create brick sash openings
      • Stone work, including new sills, string courses, steps etc  from either re-constituted or natural stone
      • Lime work, including brickwork constructed purely with lime
      • Lime re-pointing
      • Lime rendering
      • Lime washing
      • Overhauling of cast iron rainwater goods
      • Cast iron balustrade overhaul or replacement
      • Cast iron air vents
      • Cast iron drain covers

      We are able to source terracotta architectural parts, although the lead time for this can easily be 26 weeks.

    • Problem No 1 – bulging walls that require rebuilding and other extensive structural repair work.

      Case Study Spencer Road, Wealdstone

      Our clients had an attractive late Victorian house which had been built with lots of great detail in the brick work. Unfortunately when they went to replace the sash windows they were advised that the lintels had cracked and indeed there was a sizable movement in the front of the house.

      London Building Renovation were called in as recognised experts in the field of Victorian facade renovation. The intricate detail in brick varieties on a modest house is typical of Victorian flamboyance. There were three main brick types: the Cavetto, the Dentil and the Cyma Recta. Most of the bricks could not be salvaged as the house had been repointed with cement. If the house had been left untouched most of bricks would have been able to be saved.

      Kevin carried out a detailed assessment and carefully marked up all items that could be salvaged. It was decided that the gable, down to the ceiling of the ground floor would be removed from the front of the house. This meant we would have to fully support the roof down to the ground floor, board off the bedroom to provide security, erect scaffold in such a way to allow the rebuilding of the front face, without jeopardising the clients safety and construct a sequence of events that would keep the property watertight all at a reasonable cost. The front of the property was then drawn to scale and every brick was quite literally designed and measured by hand before being sent to our specialist brick supplier. They made moulds for all the bricks which then had to be approved. It is no exaggeration to say we paid minute attention to detail with even the widths of the dentils being changed from 33 mm to 31 mm to ensure there are no cut bricks in the top course.