Observer Building Concrete Repairs

The Observer Building, Hastings

Structural Renovations were awarded the contract to complete extensive structural repairs and apply protective coatings to all reinforced concrete within the landmark structure, known as The Observer Building, in Hastings town centre.

The building was originally constructed for the publishers and printers, F. J. Parsons, in 1924 and was designed by the Hastings architect, Henry Ward.

The building was subsequently used by The Observer Newspaper as both a printworks and its administrative centre, until vacating in 1985. The building has remained empty and neglected in the years between, which has allowed significant deterioration to be caused to the entire building fabric and in particular the reinforced concrete structure.

A number of surveys have been conducted over the years, when various parties showed an interest in taking on the building and each survey shows the increasing damage caused, in the main, by water ingress.

The building was finally purchased by White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures in late 2018, who, together with the assistance of various funders, intend to bring this impressive building back to life and utilise the enormous space available.

Our works have involved surveying all concrete surfaces to identify the full extent of defective concrete, before its removal back to a sound substrate. All exposed reinforcement is carefully prepared prior to be in treated with a proprietary primer. The prepared areas are reinstated using a cementitious, polymer modified repair mortar.

Due to the sheer size of the structure internally (in excess of 5,000m²), it was decided that the protective anti-carbonation coatings would be applied by airless spray equipment, which was purchased specifically for this project and has enabled the process to be sped up considerably.

During the works approximately 15 tonnes of repair mortar will be used and over 2,000 litres of anti-carbonation coatings.

It is testament to the original design and construction of this building, which was left to decay for so long that its repair was viable, and demolition was not necessary.

The external elevations of the building are hoped to be completed as part of a separate phase, which will be carried out in the near future.

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