Amey restores stunning Grade 2 listed building at RAF Halton

20 August 2021
Image of scaffolding over a grade 2 listed dome.

Teams from Amey’s Defence contracts have carried out works to improve a stunning Grade 2 listed building that has been home to RAF Halton’s Officers’ Mess since the end of the First World War.  

Formerly built for a member of the Rothschild Family and regularly hired out to the media industry for films and TV dramas because of its Victorian elegance, elements of the structure at times requires some subtle but sophisticated maintenance. 

Amey’s supply chain partners, Concept Building Services (Southern) Limited, worked closely with Amey and its client, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), to complete two very intricate projects on this beautiful heritage site that involved renovation of exterior sections of the lead guttering in the West Wing coupled with the refurbishment of the famous glass dome and lantern roof over the main hallway and staircase. This second element especially required the experience and understanding of the complexity of working with Victorian glass structures and the need for precision accuracy throughout.   

Once the scaffolding was erected around the outside of the West Wing, the team worked their way around the building removing the old lead off the façade. This was then replaced with 120 meters of new lead while at the same time addressing any damage to the original stone cornice. The whole process was systematically choreographed, not only because of the unpredictable British weather, but so the original slate tiles could be carefully lifted one at a time to allow the new lead to seamlessly blend into place.  

The Glass Dome and the Lantern Roof are beautiful examples of the architectural techniques used in the Victorian era, however, both needed important restoration. Once scaffolding had been carefully erected inside the building to create a protective floor against possible falling debris and new access ladders installed to the inner roof space, only then could the refurbishment of both structures begin in earnest. On the Dome, the heritage putty was replaced across the whole body and then repainted three times to bring it back to its original splendour. While on the Lantern roof any broken glass panels were replaced before the same refurbishment procedures continued as with the Dome.  

Tanisha Shah, Amey’s Project Manager, said:“The success of the project was down to the great working relationship between Amey, our specialist supplier, Concept, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the RAF. Due to the Mess being a Grade 11 listed building we were required to engage regularly with Heritage Consultancy who ensured that the works were carried out to the highest of standards. It was an exciting project to be involved in and I’m really proud that the building’s heritage and structure has been protected for many years to come.” 

Pat Cross, DIO’s Area Programmer (North) added: “One of the factors that contributed to the success of this project was the good collaboration among all stakeholders which enabled timely resolve of any arising issues.” 

Darren Judd, SO2 Hard FM Reqts, RAF Halton added: “One of the key elements of this project was the effective collaboration across all parties. We all shared the aim to deliver a great outcome and worked hard to achieve it, completing the project on time and to schedule.”