Christmas and New Year Greetings – Donation to Water Aid

Posted on 22/12/2021

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at McCollum Conservation. This year, in lieu of sending Christmas cards, we have donated to Water Aid. You can find out more about the their ongoing work at Best Wishes for 2022.

Protection of Bats

Posted on 27/07/2021

As we finish the restoration of the roof and tower to St Luke’s Parish Church, Loughgall, we welcome back a roost of Brown Long Eared Bats.  Bats are protected under law and we worked with our expert Dr Caroline Shiels to ensure that we had the correct licences in place to allow the work to proceed. The restoration was designed and programmed not to impact the bat roost conditions.  The Contractor maintained bat entry points, providing additional vents and worked to the strict licence conditions.  The work was planned to dovetail with the bat cycle and Dr Shiels has recently … Read more Protection of Bats

Copper Conservation

Posted on 01/07/2021

Copper clad domes are found on many high status buildings, especially those dating from the early 20th century.  Its high tensile strength, low weight, low expansion rate and chemical resistance make it especially suitable for domes and steeply pitched roofs. We are working with Wilson Steeplejacks to investigate the condition of this dome in Belfast City Centre and spent a useful morning last week at high level looking at the condition of the copper and its support structure.  Over time, the detailing of copper domes changed and this one has particular characteristics peculiar to its age of construction.  Understanding the … Read more Copper Conservation

Prince Charles visits Caledon

Posted on 02/06/2021

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was given a warm welcome when he visited development projects in the village of Caledon as part of his recent two day visit to Northern Ireland. In what was his last engagement before travelling back to London, Prince Charles, accompanied by Lord Caledon, toured the old barns and stores on Mill Street, Caledon which are to be converted into Men’s Sheds, as well as viewing the former Wool Store, which is also under renovation and forms part of the Caledon Conservation Area.

Grant Scheme Open

Posted on 20/05/2021

The Department for Communities has launched its roof repair fund which is aimed at funding roof repairs to listed buildings.  The scheme opened on 17th May 2021 and will close again for applications on the 21 June 2021.  Owners of listed buildings can apply for a £5,000 repair grant for work to roofs, chimneys and gutters while £10,000 is available for thatched roof repairs. Launching the fund, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “Our listed buildings are a precious resource which provide character to our place and remind us of our shared history. It is important that we work together to ensure … Read more Grant Scheme Open

Good VAT news for churches

Posted on 05/05/2021

The recent extension of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme by the Government to March 2022 has come as a great relief to churches and chapels that are undergoing or preparing building projects. The Scheme has been of great help in keeping church heritage in good repair.  It pays grants to cover the VAT incurred on urgent structural work and new roofs and reduces the burden on congregations to raise funds. Without it a church would have to add 20% onto the cost of a repair project, a substantial increase in costs. The scheme has paid out over £300m … Read more Good VAT news for churches

Mid Ulster Ruins

Posted on 21/04/2021

The Practice, working with Mid Ulster District Council,  has just completed a conservation condition survey and report on a group of ruined church buildings, dating from the from the medieval to late 19th century period.  The conservation of these scheduled monuments presents a particular challenge to those charged with their preservation as they are only fragments of the original building, but are of great historical, ecological and spiritual interest.  We worked with the Council to identify the condition and repairs (including budget costs) so that the Council could identify where urgent, necessary and desirable work was required.

Funding for Historic Church Maintenance and Restoration

Posted on 09/02/2021

The Department for Communities has awarded the National Churches Trust a quarter of a million pounds for historic church maintenance and restoration. The Belfast Telegraph recently visited St Macartan’s (Forth Chapel) in Augher, Co Tyrone. Click on the link below to see this two hundred year old church profit from the Trust’s work.

Clarke Stained Glass Windows

Clarke Stained Glass Windows
Posted on 07/01/2021

Ninety years ago, this week, Harry Clarke, the most gifted Irish-stained glass artist, died in Switzerland while being treated for tuberculosis.  His work has left a unique legacy in Ireland and abroad.  His use of deep rich colours, detail and figures with carved features and deep expressive eyes makes his work instantly recognisable. We are helping a local parish in Co Tyrone to conserve three sister windows to the designs of the Dublin based workshop of Joshua Clarke and Sons, famous for the works of Harry Clarke (1889-1931).  These windows were erected in 1922 to the memories of the Kavanagh … Read more Clarke Stained Glass Windows

Christmas Celebrations at Sailortown

Posted on 19/12/2020

The Practice is delighted to be working with the community in Sailortown, Belfast as they re-purpose St Joseph’s Church.  Having just completed some re-roofing of the main structure of this important historic building, as well as preparing a detailed heritage condition report on the former Parochial House, we look forward to continuing to work with the Sailortown Regeneration Group in 2021 as they focus their energies on making Heritage work.  They have made a good start with their recent Christmas festivities where local children and their Mums were invited to celebrate the season by decorating trees and making lollipops.

Treasure Ireland News

Posted on 04/08/2020

The National Churches Trust wishes to welcome all to the Treasure Ireland project, an exciting new initiative that will support historic places of worship in Northern Ireland. It will run for three years from 2020-23. Exciting times are planned as they will come alongside churches and chapels of all denominations, providing help and encouragement in the form of grants, training and marketing initiatives. Northern Ireland has an amazingly rich heritage of church and chapel buildings. This includes 895 listed places of worship, with 45 churches and chapels listed as Grade A buildings of the highest heritage significance. More people should be … Read more Treasure Ireland News

Staying COVID secure in 2020

Posted on 23/06/2020

McCollum Conservation confirms compliance with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. FIVE STEPS TO SAFER WORKING TOGETHER We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with our employees. We have implemented cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance. We have taken all reasonable steps to help our employees to work from home. We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace and to enable social distancing when carrying out work outside the office. Where people cannot be 2m apart, we have done everything practical to manage … Read more Staying COVID secure in 2020

Treasure Ireland

Posted on 21/05/2020

The National Churches Trust is to lead a new project to support historic places of worship in Northern Ireland. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust, the Department of Communities and the National Churches Trust, the project will run over three years. Treasure Ireland includes a grants fund which will offer between £500 – £10,000 for repairs and maintenance to prevent fabric deterioration that if left unchecked often leads to larger problems, expensive to repair. The project also aims to increase the number of people visiting Churches in Northern Ireland for days out or as part of … Read more Treasure Ireland

St Joseph’s Church, Sailortown, Belfast

Posted on 09/04/2020

Prolonged rainwater penetration is one of the greatest threats to any historic building. At St Joseph’s Church it is one of a number of risks identified by the Sailortown Regeneration Group as it provides a “meanwhile use” for this important historic building. Despite the overall poor condition of the historic fabric, we aimed to do as little as possible, but as much as was necessary to deal with this issue. We are currently repairing a number of the slated roofs and the rainwater disposal system including renewing a side aisle roof to its original form. This new work includes moulded … Read more St Joseph’s Church, Sailortown, Belfast

COVID-19 precautions

Posted on 25/03/2020

Despite the very challenging circumstances that we now find ourselves in due to the Coronavirus, we can advise that McCollum Conservation is taking all necessary steps to protect clients, staff and the wider community while continuing to remain contactable via e-mail or on our landline (028 87748111) during office hours. We have temporarily suspended inspections and our construction sites have been closed. We will continue to review and revise these measures in response to any changes in Public Health advice. We trust that you will bear with us during this difficult temporary situation and look forward to returning to normal … Read more COVID-19 precautions

Ulster Reform Club – External Stone Survey and Restoration

Ulster Reform Club - External Stone Survey and Restoration
Posted on 11/12/2019

The recent project of external repairs to the mid-19th century Ulster Reform Club, Belfast has just completed. This work included maintenance and repairs to the external ashlar and carved stone, external joinery, slating, leadwork and renewal of the external lighting. The Practice worked hard for the Building Committee ensuring the priorities of commercial leases were met, quality of work was upheld and costs kept under control. We worked in conjunction with our partners, Dickson Fitzgerald Architects, Brian Jennings Quantity Surveyors and H J O’Boyle, Contractors.

Focus on Drones

Posted on 15/08/2019

In 2017-18 a National Churches Trust partnership with the Ulster Historic Churches Trust, supported by the Pilgrim Trust and working with McCollum Conservation, saw an initiative which successfully used drones to survey churches in Northern Ireland at a high level. There was high demand for participation in 2018 with 16 churches benefitting from surveys, work plans and grants and additional funding in 2019 has allowed a further 8 churches to benefit. Elaine MacNeill from Cooke Centenary Church says, “The drone survey and report identified areas of work required.  Without a drone survey we would have been unaware of these problems … Read more Focus on Drones

Charles Sheils Houses, Killough

Charles Shiels Charity Accommodation, Dungannon
Posted on 06/08/2019

The Charles Sheils Houses in Killough have been providing charitable housing for the last 150 years.  The Grade BI listed houses comprise a well laid out series of terraced houses, dating back to 1868.  However, at the beginning of the 21st century, the future of this historic set of alms houses looked very uncertain.  Due to many years of neglect and disrepair through lack of funding for ongoing maintenance, a third of the houses were in such a derelict and dilapidated state that they were added to the Heritage at Risk register in 2014. The phased restoration work commenced in … Read more Charles Sheils Houses, Killough

Looking after your Church building

Posted on 11/07/2019

The Practice worked with five rural Parishes in Counties Down and Antrim as they began to deal with growing backlog maintenance to their Church buildings. The issue for each Parish was different, ranging from loose stone around windows, heavy water penetration to a Chancel, heavy and destructive woodworm attack to decorative roof trusses, failing roof slating and rainwater penetration to a Tower. A detailed understanding of historic building construction and materials, coupled with our commitment to continued professional development, allowed the Practice to pinpoint the reasons for the failures that each Parish was experiencing. On that firm foundation we were … Read more Looking after your Church building

Work commences at the Ulster Reform Club in Belfast

Posted on 05/06/2019

Following on from our external fabric survey earlier in the year we are delighted that, with the design work complete, we are now ready to start work on site in Royal Avenue, Belfast, overseeing a maintenance project on the external fabric of this landmark listed City Centre building. We are pleased to be working alongside Dickson Fitzgerald Architects to deliver this prestigious project for the Ulster Reform Club.

Church of Ireland Architectural Drawings – Exhibition Now Open

Posted on 09/05/2019

We were delighted to be invited to the opening of this exhibition at the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square, Dublin. The exhibition showcases a selection of archive drawings from the Church of Ireland collection, which includes 19th and 20th century architectural drawings of Church of Ireland churches and cathedrals and marks the completion of a pilot project to digitize and catalogue the collection. Dr Susan Hood, Librarian and Archivist explained that the purpose of the project “is to make an important heritage resource freely available and, by providing surrogates, to assist with the conservation of a unique collection which … Read more Church of Ireland Architectural Drawings – Exhibition Now Open

Looking For A New Direction?

Posted on 04/04/2019

ARE YOU A CHARTERED BUILDING SURVEYOR OR ARCHITECT WITH A PASSION FOR BUILDING CONSERVATION? We are seeking to recruit a Chartered Building Surveyor or Architect with a passion for historic buildings and a track record in delivering good quality building conservation surveys and architectural work. You will have a can-do attitude and a willingness to learn and understand our projects and culture with an ability to work on your own initiative but be an effective team player. You will be responsible for minor and large works on a range of rewarding, conservation driven appointments across the province. You will employ … Read more Looking For A New Direction?

Using Drones to Protect your Church building

Posted on 27/03/2019

A little time spent now on a building “M.O.T.” can save parishes from having to spend a great deal of money later. Good maintenance begins with a good inspection, but the inspection of the high level elements of a church building can be a daunting, and perhaps prohibitively expensive or risky, thought for many select vestries. However, a pilot scheme, undertaking a series of high level inspections of churches across Northern Ireland using drones, is showing that this emerging technology could provide an answer. The scheme over two years 2017/2018 was backed by the National Churches Trust, partnering with the … Read more Using Drones to Protect your Church building

Restoration of Old Shop in Gracehill

Posted on 06/03/2019

We are working with Gracehill Old School Trust on the conservation and restoration of the former shop in Montgomery Street, Gracehill. The building dates from the 18th century and the discovery of this slate on the roof, which records that Henry Kerr re-slated the house in 1835,  gives us an invaluable connection with those who worked on the building before us. The Trust is aiming for a combination of 18th Century style with 21st century comfort, centred on the conservation of the original shop interior and commercial use of the domestic accommodation at lower basement level. Phase One of the … Read more Restoration of Old Shop in Gracehill

Restoration of 280 year old Co Armagh cottage

Posted on 23/01/2019

Frizzell’s Cottage, Ardress, lay uninhabited for approximately 30 years, to all intents an apparently unremarkable pebbledash cottage, with corrugated iron roof covering .  However, concealed underneath this bland exterior is a rare mud-walled construction and original thatched roof.  Frizzell’s Cottage has now benefitted from a significant £334,000, 18 month restoration project funded by a legacy gift to the National Trust.  This successful restoration has been achieved by working in conjunction with McCollum Conservation, Historic Building Consultants and Chartered Building Surveyors and with the builder, Robert Weir, to bring the hidden gem back to life using traditional techniques and materials, with … Read more Restoration of 280 year old Co Armagh cottage

Roman or Greek?

Posted on 29/10/2018

This photo shows a section of the Parthenon on the Athens Acropolis and the Doric Order of the structure is clear with its distinctive Frieze sitting above the column capital.  However, this order exists in both the Greek and Roman forms so which type is it?  It might be obvious in this case, given the location of the structure, but both forms are quite different when the detail is considered. Whilst we are not about to enter the debate about the multitude of differences here, two to remember are that the Greek form never has a base and the Triglyphs … Read more Roman or Greek?

St Mark’s, Dundela – Connection to CS Lewis

St Mark's, Dundela - Connection to CS Lewis
Posted on 06/09/2018

St Mark’s, Dundela recently received a grant of £5,000 from the National Churches Trust to assist in completing internal repairs and keeping the building dry. Chris McCollum Conservation is pleased to be involved in the repairs to this landmark church in East Belfast, which recently celebrated 140 years since its consecration and has strong connections to CS Lewis. The 150 foot high tower of St Mark’s is visible across Belfast and there are regular church tours for visitors interested in CS Lewis, who spent his childhood in East Belfast. The author was baptised in the church and visited his grandfather … Read more St Mark’s, Dundela – Connection to CS Lewis

Hydraulic Building Limes Today

Killeavy Castle
Posted on 08/08/2018

Over the last twenty or so years it has become common knowledge in the construction industry that when repairing historic buildings, it is generally best to specify and use building limes rather than cements. As a result, a variety of lime mortars for building, repairing or plastering now appear on every building conservation project. However, despite this “lime revival” there remains much to understand if the material is to be adequately specified and used properly on site to ensure that the expected results materialise (and failures are avoided). One of the most critical issues to understand is that specifying lime … Read more Hydraulic Building Limes Today

St Philip’s & St James’ Parish Church, Holywood

St Philip's & St James' Parish Church, Holywood
Posted on 22/05/2018

The Practice is currently involved in providing expert conservation guidance in repair to a Grade B+ listed church, located within the town centre of Holywood. The Church was consecrated in 1844 and is an important example of the work of Charles Lanyon. We are providing a specialist Architectural service from inception to completion. As part of the work we are replacing a unique Spire counterweight which provides structural stability.