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Wauchope Mausoleum, Edinburgh

Wauchope Mausoleum, Edinburgh

Interim roofing repairs to a Scheduled Monument

Overview

The Wauchope Mausoleum dates from 1735 and is one of the last remains of Niddrie House, which was largely demolished in the 1950’s to make way for a new housing scheme in south east Edinburgh. Wauchope Mausoleum is now owned by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The building is a Scheduled Monument and was in a deteriorating state. Left unattended, its condition may have quickly become critical. Water ingress and invasive woody plant growth threatened the fabric of the structure and its fragile interior monuments.

Work was undertaken to replace the roof covering and remove the vegetation.

Wauchope _overview

Wauchope Mausoleum © Historic Scotland

Approach

The Wauchope Mausoleum is a single storey, square in plan building. Its front is constructed of fine polished sandstone ashlar; the other three walls are rubble masonry. Inside, the space is vaulted and contains a series of recesses for memorials.

It is apparent that the Mausoleum has undergone several cycles of repair in its lifetime. Most recently it has been used as storage for a temporary generator for a neighbouring housing estate, at which time the roof was replaced with concrete paving slabs, sealed with a ‘painted on’ single ply roofing membrane.

This membrane was been badly damaged by UV exposure, vandalism and vegetation growth. This caused water ingress, resulting in the structure below becoming saturated. Cement pointing (another repair) exacerbated the problem, as it prevents water from evaporating from the walls.

The City of Edinburgh Council were aware of the problems for some time, and so took the decision to remove the generator from the building, and allow for its repair.

An assessment of the condition of the building was conducted and it was decided to replace the roof covering – this being the source of the water ingress. Historic Scotland were consulted to identify the potential solutions. A new roofing layer was proposed, consisting of three layers of bituminous roofing felt. Repairs to the roof slabs, and removal of vegetation was also deemed necessary.

Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) was obtained – as the project did not affect the historic fabric directly, rather a later repair – consent was granted quickly, in five weeks. This was also due to the pre-application discussions with Historic Scotland.

The work was tendered for by local contractors. The successful contractor was met on site by Historic Scotland to ensure the specific points of the work were understood and agreed, particularly with relation to the SMC.

Performance

The work was split into three stages (removal of vegetation, repairing of roof slabs, application of new roof covering) and took from March 2014 to July 2014. This included a period at the beginning to allow poison to work on the roots of the vegetation.

The project was initially priced at £5,600. However, during the works it became necessary to change detailing at the edge of the roof, and this caused the price to be increased to £7,030 (exc. VAT).

This was an interim repair, undertaken to protect the building from further damage whilst consideration is made to the larger works that are required. However, the felt roof covering has an anticipated life span of 25 years, and in its location, it would be expected that it would last longer.

Lessons

Price increases are often encountered in work of this sort. As such a suitable contingency should be built into projects such as these.

Given the building type, and the historical remains inside, it is unlikely that the building will find a long-term alternative use. These repairs have better protected the building from the elements and will allow it to be further repaired and appreciated in the future.

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