November 29, 2018 – By its nature, restoration of historic structures requires that an experienced Construction Manager anticipate hidden conditions and the need to provide rapid, cost effective solutions to them. Water, the insidious enemy of historic buildings, often creates such conditions. Such was the case at the Glenelg Country School’s mid-nineteenth century Manor House, the original school building for what is now, a significantly expanded campus.
Glenelg Country School contacted the Lewis team for water problems in the basement of the house and because one of the large first floor windows at the rear of the house was showing signs of water damage as well. When Lewis assessed the condition of the building, several significant situations became apparent. Lewis prepared narrative scopes of work for subcontractor bidding and a budget to complete the repairs. Through these self-directed efforts, constant communication, and weekly meetings, this team was able to streamline the planning and construction process, rendering significant savings.
One of the most stringent conditions for the project was the schedule—all work needed to be completed between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with no evidence of any work having taken place when the parents and students attended the annual Start of School Celebration in the fall.
Added to the original scope of the project was the complete replacement of the wood flooring within the double parlor. Nearly two dozen new laminated wood joists were fabricated and installed and the tongue and groove wood flooring were replaced to match the damaged historic materials. Even the most seasoned observer would find it difficult to tell the new flooring from the remaining historic materials.
Lastly, the school requested that the Lewis team mitigate problems with one of the existing brick masonry chimneys. Loose bricks were removed, cleaned and re-installed with new mortar to replace the deteriorated materials.
In spite of the hidden challenges and unforeseen conditions, this initial phase of the mansion restoration was completed in time for the celebration. This project is currently nominated for an Excellence in Construction Award through the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).