The renovation of the Old Infirmary at Stonyhurst College is one of four projects that Civic Engineers have been involved with for the renowned college alongside architects Levitt Bernstein. The Grade II listed ‘Old Infirmary’ was last remodelled in 2006 to provide accommodation for Jesuit priests, and since the last priests moved elsewhere on the estate in September 2018, much of the building has been vacant. The Infirmary is being converted into 23 single/twin study bedrooms which will provide accommodation for sixth formers.
Much of our work has centred around ensuring the survival of the majority of the external fabric and core of the Grade II listed building. This involves limiting the amount of structural intervention to maintain the historic plan and avoid exacerbating the enduring settlements of the walls. The building also houses a Chapel and given this is consecrated ground, this has not been altered at all.
Detailed investigations to determine the need for long term remedial works to safeguard the future of the buildings and ensure their safety were necessary. Our Manchester team provided the structural condition survey and helped with the conversion. The existing building showed severe cracking in several of the original stone walls, due to settlement of the building’s foundations. We organised an intrusive ground investigation survey to determine the ground conditions, and worked with a ground stabilisation specialist (Geobear) to propose a resin-injection solution to improve the strength of the ground below the existing foundations. We also proposed crack-stitching to repair the existing cracks in the stone walls.
The project’s main challenge was ensuring the building’s character was preserved during the project. It was also crucial that we organised surveys and construction work around the students, as the works were taking place during term time.