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Project —

Fitzroy Town Hall

Project Overview

We prepared a Conditions Assessment and Recommendations Report for Fitzroy Town Hall in 2021. We identified that many ceilings throughout Fitzroy Town Hall were exhibiting various signs of deterioration and required stabilisation as a matter of priority. We documented ceiling stabilisation works to 24 ceilings throughout the building, including the Mayor’s Meeting Room, the Council Chambers, and the Main Hall.

Various methodologies were adopted for the stabilisation of the ceilings throughout the building depending on their condition, location, construction methodology and degree of decoration. Ground floor ceilings, that cannot be accessed from above, and do not feature high levels of decoration were mechanically pinned on a grid to the floor joists above. First floor ceilings, that could be accessed from above, were treated using the Westox RAP adhesive system. This system first requires that all dust and debris resting on the lath and plaster ceiling be removed and a clean surface provided.

The Mayor’s Meeting Room – which features a mural and decorative painted scheme, was stabilised from above using the Westox RAP adhesive system, and subsequently open cracks were filled using lime putty and the decorative scheme was infill painted.

In January 2022, storm damage affected ceilings throughout the first floor of the building, and a syphonic stormwater system was documented and installed to mitigate the likelihood of future water ingress events and permit the undertaking of conservation works to the ceilings. When repairing the storm damage, the original ceiling of the Council Chambers was revealed beneath the deteriorating fibrous plaster sheet ceiling that had been directly attached. The original ceiling was heavily affected by mould and significant mould remediation was required. Some material was unsalvageable, and Conservators were engaged to treat the material that could be retained.

The original Council Chamber ceiling comprises decoratively painted ceiling paper adhered to hessian tacked to timber lining boards – and this construction methodology was used for infilling the section of the ceiling that was too affected by mould (or missing completely). The Conservator team provided paint sample analysis of the wall, cornice and ceiling (colour matched against the original ceiling in-situ) and we worked with Specialist Paint Manufacturer’s to match closely the original paint colours and reinstate the scheme – a laborious process to align contemporary paint systems and their lustre with hand-mixed paints that have deteriorated over time.

The Main Hall ceiling stabilization project included the structural remediation of the roof trusses that were affected by water ingress and termite activity. The structural remediation included the installation of steel members either side of the roof truss at their junction with the exterior wall with a tensioned rod connection between either end.

The entire Main Hall ceiling was stabilised using the Westox RAP adhesion system, following the removal of close to five tonnes of dust and debris that had collected on the lath and plaster ceiling.

The Main Hall ceiling comprises decorative plaster bands that are assumed to have been run on a bench and fixed into position overhead. Much of this decoration was exhibiting signs of deflection directly associated with the condition of the roof trusses. The decorative plaster bands were stitched back to the roof structure using copper wire, and whilst undertaking these works, some of the original copper wire used to attach the plaster to the ceiling structure was found – reinforcing our approach as the most appropriate for this circumstance.

We undertook paint sample analysis, and localised uncovery of the Main Hall Ceiling decorative scheme, and worked closely with Specialist Paint Manufacturer’s to match closely the original paint colours and reinstate the scheme (without the stencil work). Eleven custom colours in total have been reinstated, the background or body colours of the decorative scheme.

Work Completed

Architecture and Conservation
Heritage Advice & Strategic Planning


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