Monitoring survey
Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Restoring major historical building demands specialist monitoring approach

Oxburgh Hall in King’s Lynn, Norfolk was built by the Bedingfeld family in 1482 and handed over to the National Trust in 1952. After the unexpected collapse of a dormer window in 2016, further investigations revealed a structural weakness to the roofline, resulting in the current £6 million project to repair the roof, windows, ornate chimneys and gatehouse façade.

The Hall is surrounded by a water-filled, clay lined moat and before any restoration work could start, a complex scaffolding structure needed to be erected around the perimeter of the Hall within the confines of the moat. Before the full scaffolding was put in place, an initial trial had to be carried out to establish how the structure would behave in the water.

Survey Solutions was called in by a consulting engineering practice to devise and carry out the specialist monitoring project.

The initial trial to see how the scaffold would behave in the moat started in May 2019. Two towers erected on sandbags, were lowered by a crane into the moat to protect the moat lining and weighted down with water-filled tanks to simulate the weight of a large scaffold structure. Access to the towers at this stage was by rowing boat but once the reflective targets were in place, monitoring could be carried out from the Hall Gardens.

Eight reflective targets were located onto each tower which the Survey Solutions team had to monitor on a monthly basis.

Kevin Steed, Senior Surveyor who led the project said: “This was a highly delicate operation because any slight damage to the moat lining could cause it to dry out and potentially affect the Hall’s foundations.”

Manual quarterly monitoring is now being carried out to ensure the scaffolding remains stable and for adjustments to be made if required.

This complex project relied on Survey Solutions’ extensive experience and technical expertise. As a result, one of the key properties in the East of England has been preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

“This was a highly delicate operation because any slight damage to the moat lining could cause it to dry out and potentially affect the Hall’s foundations.”
Kevin Steed, Senior Surveyor

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