Chris is a Maintenance Surveyor for Adur & Worthing Councils and has been in this post for over 6 years.
Chris first qualified as a Building Surveyor way back in 1987 and has worked for some varied organisations ranging from NHS Property, a large social housing provider in Nottingham, County Council and then finally with A&W. Chris works in a small but essential maintenance team of 2 surveyors , 4 support staff and a part time handyman.
He also works alongside our Capital Surveyors and Civil Engineers.
You can read Chris' current 2018 blog posts on this page below
It's not all about repairing and patching up - this week I'll be looking at the works that are currently being carried out or have been recently completed.
To start, our Connaught Studio cinema site is a much used location and has had old toilets with many original features. In some locations a touch of history in the lavatory would be ideal but on this occasion did not provide a salubrious atmosphere for customers attending for a night out!
A capital spend was approved by Worthing Councillors to upgrade these accordingly. We stripped out all the old fittings, flooring, ceilings, plumbing and electrical fittings and replaced with new. The new flooring and colour contrasting cubicles and concealer panels neatly hide all the pipework and now provide a welcoming area.
Another example of replacing old for new is the yorkstone coping stones along Worthing parade.
This was not required as part of an upgrade system but we had found that many of the old weathered copings had been removed by people either clearing away loose or damaged stones or in some instances taking these stones away as mementoes of their visit to Worthing.
I would like to point out that Adur and Worthing both have a large selection of gift shops which sell gifts and mementos which are slightly easier to transport!
We had tried for about 12 months to source weathered yorkstone copings of a similar size but as there was nothing suitable available the decision was taken to replace a 100m section of coping stone from George V Avenue, Worthing and replace with new Yorkstone.
This will weather in time and blend in well. The stones which were removed by us will be used to repair defective stones or ones which may disappear in the future.
We have also recently completed a scheme to replace approximately 260 linear metres of the old timber and metal fencing to the perimeter of Adur Recreation Ground in Shoreham. The old fencing was leaning in places and the concrete had started to spall and become dangerous. The new fence not only improves the aesthetics it also makes the area more secure.
And finally, I am pleased to say that the public toilets at our Pond Lane site have now reopened. We found quite extensive damage to the brickwork and joinery etc so it therefore took quite a while to rectify - you can read about what happened at this site in this explosive blog (below).
Photo: public toilets at our Pond Lane - before ... showing the crack around the top of the walls where the whole asphalt roof was lifted into the air by the explosion
Photo: public toilets at our Pond Lane - after the refurbishment
This week my focus is on some of the works we carry out on our parks and open spaces. This is not claiming credit for how wonderful these areas look as the vast majority of work is carried out by our Parks Department - there are many unsung heroes working tirelessly to ensure that Adur and Worthing looks like an inviting and relaxing place to be.
This being said, the works we do is fundamental in maintaining the aesthetics, security and stability for people using these spaces and to prevent unwanted incursions.
Did you know that along our parade from George V Avenue to Sea Lane, Ferring, we have timber bollards which are the size of tree trunks that all need inspecting and replacing whenever they become damaged or broken?
Sometimes they have been knocked over by vehicles, sometimes found to be rotting from the inside out and even on occasions burnt when people leave old BBQs on them without putting them out.
Photo: Timber bollards along our Greensward area
We also install and maintain seating along the Parade, Highway, Town Centre and Parks areas.
These seats provide a relaxing rest for both residents and tourists to admire the views wherever they may be.
We have a variety of seats around the area and these range from 'Cavendish' timber seats located at Highdown Garden, our cemetery sites and Worthing Crematorium, cast iron 'Lionshead' seating along Worthing Parade and 'Phoenix' seats which are made from recycled plastic and have an amazing wood like look to them which are located along the seafront Greensward area, Highways and within some parks sites.
I would estimate that we probably have in excess of 300 seats throughout Adur and Worthing!
Photo: Phoenix seat
We have just completed one project which was a little different; The lych-gate at St Nicolas' churchyard.
Originally built in 1917 and then rebuilt in 1987 following its destruction during the Great Storms, the lych-gate was showing decay at the base of its supports.
Skilled craftsmen dismantled the structure, removed it from site and carefully disassembled it. They then crafted new legs in keeping with the original design and reinstalled into is place.
Photo: The lych-gate at St Nicolas' churchyard
I hope this gives you an insight into some of the work we carry out that goes into our parks and open spaces, so next time you are out relaxing have a seat and enjoy the views.
Next week “What's new?”
Although the vast majority of our work is repairing and replacing broken items, the other side of what we do is preserve items which have been in the custody of the councils for many decades.
These are the War Memorials in Worthing and Shoreham, the Town Hall clock and a new plaque recently installed in Montague Place Worthing. I am amazed at how supportive the residents of Adur and Worthing are during remembrance events and it falls to us to ensure that these monuments are kept as pristine as possible. I spent four years in the TA Military Police during the 80s so needless to say it is this area of my work fills me with such pride and gratitude.
The Monument, outside Worthing's Town Hall, is a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the community who lost their lives in the First World War. Made by Joseph Whitehead and Sons and paid for by public subscription through the Worthing Gazette the memorial was unveiled by Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson on 11th April 1921.
The dates of the Second World War and a list of the names of the fallen of that conflict were added to the memorial, as have the names of others who fell in subsequent conflicts. We have carried out numerous repairs including replacement of the memorial panels which hold the names of the fallen. We ensure that the whole memorial including the bronze statue, panels and names are all prepare in time for the remembrance events.
This structure was granted Grade II listed status on 27th June 2017 by Historic England. Photo below is of the Worthing War Memorial at the 2016 Armistice Day service.
We recently oversaw the installation of a new plaque dedicated to Second Lieutenant Montague Moore who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917.
The commemorative stone was unveiled at his birthplace of 13 Montague Place, Worthing (see Google Maps), on Sunday 24th September 2017.
This installation was in the planning for over two years and through negotiations with WSCC and collaborative working with our events, parks and cleansing colleagues the celebration was a great success.
Our other monument is in Shoreham Town Centre and this received an extensive makeover in 2014. The names which had been engraved into the stone had weathered to an extreme and many names had been lost. By looking through archives and detailed photographs it was possible to re-engrave them back into the stone. Did you know that all of our engraving is carried out by hand?
Something Borrowed (we had to borrow numerous records from archives to source accurate detail of lost names)
The last and the most delicate is the Worthing Town Hall clock which is installed in a clock tower above the main roof. It is a marvel of precision timekeeping with hundreds of cogs, springs and screws.
The hourly strike was originally designed to activate on a mercury switch which was a little temperamental to say the least and the strike would usually occur many minutes earlier than expected. This would lead to its own problems during the remembrance events where it needed to strike exactly at 11am! What was the solution? Not what you'd expect ... In this case it involved me sitting in the clock tower with my phone checking the countdown and throwing the switch at the allotted time.
You'll be pleased to hear that we have now replaced the switch with a modern electric Toller and - touch wood - it hasn't struck more than 10 seconds out since it was installed so I can now be outside during the events and not sitting in the roof. All the original parts are still in place so that it still remains original.
The views from the top of the bell housing makes you feel like you are up in the sky which makes for a very tenuous 'blue' I know but the best I could think of.
Last week I commented that Spring was coming, something I soon regretted as Storm Georgina hit our shores and I found myself walking along the parade struggling to stand in one place for more than a minute!
The pier had to be closed due to high winds and it certainly took a battering.
As usual it stood up to everything that Mother Nature could throw at it and the only minor damage was caused to a water supply pipe which runs from the main parade to the furthest southern point of the pier. Although the break was minor, the only way to access this area is via a cherry picker which is driven along the beach, which in turn can have its challenges as these works can only be carried out when the tide is out.
Whilst Storm Georgina battered the pier I found myself fighting my own battle as I fell victim to the flu bug that is going around. At home feeling sorry for myself I was unable to escape from watching hours of soaps on evening TV with my family, I found myself looking at the condition of Albert Square and Coronation Street.
It dawned on me that everyone used the facilities and surroundings but walked around oblivious to the fact that repairs needed doing - unless it caused them an inconvenience - but to me as a professional observer these issues were evident.
Which leads me to my version of the 3R's; Report, Repair or Replace.
Adur & Worthing Councils receive reports daily of repairs that need carrying out from straightforward fixes like leaking taps or faulty lights to more in-depth problems like repairing services to the pier or roof leaks to an industrial unit.
On occasion we are unable to carry out repairs to as the property may not be owned by A&W, rather they're the responsibility of County Council, Parish Council or part of a private residence. In these cases we will always try to pass the information to the respective people to let them know of the issue.
We can't see everything everywhere, that's why we always appreciate when members of the public take the time to report things to us.
A recent report which springs to mind concerned some damaged fencing at our Lancing Manor allotment site. Now - to my shame - I previously never understood allotment holders dread of fence damage until my wife took on an allotment as a family project. Needless to say it wasn't long before the PlayStation and shopping took over the family's interest and the digging and planting became my job, and subsequently somewhat of an obsession!
I went to site to look at the damage and discussed with plot holders of the anticipated thefts and damage that was bound to have happened but to my surprise there was none. The damage to the fence was however a bit of a surprise, someone had visited site and physically removed about a 20ft length of 2m high chainlink fencing and took it away with them. The fence is now in the process of being replaced.
Photos: damaged fencing at our Lancing Manor allotment site
So the moral of my story is those 3R's; Report, Repair or Replace. We can't Repair if we aren't made aware of a defect, we may not be responsible for some repairs and some repairs may not be carried out straight away if part of a larger programme, but we will always do our best to ensure A&W looks its best.
Thanks for reading, more next week.
Hi everyone and welcome to my first ever blog.
I don't just mean first blog for Adur & Worthing Councils but first ever in my life! Needless to say I have sought advice from my 8 year old son about what I should be doing ...
I want to use this monumental event (well for me anyway) to tell everyone what works the Engineering and Surveying Dept carry out and where, as unfortunately most of our work goes unnoticed if we have done it right.
We carry out most of the buildings maintenance and repairs to corporate assets (not including Adur Homes) within Adur and Worthing ranging from Worthing Town Hall, Portland House and The Shoreham Centre in Shoreham, through to seafront seating, parks pavilions and public toilets. The list is too long to write but if the council owns it we have probably had some interaction with maintaining it at some point.
We carry out:
- Reactive repairs (when things either stop working or become damaged)
- Planned repairs (where we have identified that major repairs or replacements are required)
- Capital Projects (larger improvement schemes)
As well as the above we also manage the statutory servicing and testing of mechanical plant, electrical services, water testing and weekly or monthly roof checks.
One of the most challenging elements to my work would be rectifying vandalism which I know occurs everywhere, but when you know it affects residents and visitors to the area it is hard to find justification for.
One such event happened on 27th October at our Pond Lane toilets in Durrington. We received a call from the Police informing us that an explosion had been heard at the toilet block and that the fire brigade were in attendance.
It is believed that some teenagers thought it would be a good idea to let off explosives within the gents toilet block.
The blast was of such magnitude that it lifted a whole asphalt roof in the air by approx. 4 inches, blew out the windows and door and even managed to crack a china urinal. Although this would only have taken a second (and I am grateful that nobody got hurt) it has now left the users of the newly installed play area without facilities whilst rebuilding works are being carried out. The list of works got bigger everyday as we discovered damage to the walls and flint work and even cracking to the floors.
We are in the process of refurbishing the gent's toilets which will have new electrics, wall panelling, ceiling, urinals, and lighting and needless to say a new roof and we are hopeful of this site being reopened within the next couple of weeks.
I am really proud of the work we do and the speed that these are carried out as in the event of vandalism, fire or a serious accident we may only have minutes to react.
On a brighter note, the sun is shining (at time of writing!) and spring is in the air, so now starts one of our busiest times of year getting everything ready for the start of summer. Next week I will tell you about some exciting projects we have started or will start soon.
Photo: Crack around the top of the walls where the whole asphalt roof was lifted into the air by the explosion
Photo: Crack clearly visible at the top of the walls and damage to the ceiling after the explosion
Photo: Crack right across the roof and a large area of missing asphalt after the explosion
Photo: Crack in the brickwork after the explosion
Photo: Cracked walls and damaged brickwork around a windows and under the roof eaves after the explosion
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