The refurbishment of a listed council building in Norwich has set cosmetic repair specialist, Plastic Surgeon, a stern challenge in trying to repair and restore terrazzo surfaces which had suffered more than half a century of heavy wear and tear.
City Hall in Norwich dates from the early 20th century and displays much of the architectural grandeur typical of civic buildings. The top floor of the property, containing administrative and other support areas for staff, is currently nearing the end of a six month refurbishment contract, being carried out by Morgan Sindall; a regular client of Plastic Surgeon.
While main contractors and housebuilders regularly call on the services of Plastic Surgeon to carry out ‘snagging’ operations prior to the handover of a project, in this instance Morgan Sindall recognised that the restoration of the terrazzo surfaces in the washrooms and a main circulation space was a task beyond the capabilities of even experienced flooring contractors, and required special renovation techniques.
A team of Plastic Surgeon’s highly trained Finishers began by cleaning off layers of grime and discolouration which had built up over the decades where timber partitions and other installations had covered the multi-coloured, man-made surface. This was done using Plastic Surgeon’s proprietary degreasing agent and a variety of hand tools, before light abrasive polish and powered pads were employed.
For the many areas that had been damaged, or where different sized fixtures and fittings had left holes in the terrazzo, the Finishers reverted to rebuilding the substrate with Ultra-Premium filler and then smoothing back to match the surrounding surface. The original pattern was then reproduced by applying a base coat and ‘sputtering’ it with beige, brown and dark brown tints; all mixed by hand. Fine artist’s brushes were also used to touch in some of the detail.
The restored areas were also given a final polish and provided with long term protection against further abrasion or dirt staining by applying two coats of Plastic Surgeon’s System 20 lacquer.
The Eastern Region Operations Manager for Plastic Surgeon. Colin Tomlins, comments: “Terrazzo is a highly decorative, traditional surface that is laid in liquid form, though it was also installed in sheet form for walls. At City Hall, for Morgan Sindall, we were tackling sections of wall and skirting as well as the main floor surface, which were all very badly stained and had suffered a lot of damage over the years.
“We have a very good relationship with the client, working for Morgan Sindall across many of our regions and on a variety of projects types. Here we have had up to seven of our Finishers involved at different times and the outcome has been a real success story.”
Morgan Sindall’s Site Manager, Matthew Bidewell, confirms: “Now we are coming to completion of the project I would like to extend my thanks and recognise the efforts of Plastic Surgeon’s team here. With an exceptionally difficult site to manage, logistically, the quality of the finishes achieved throughout, have not only been commented on by Morgan Sindall employees, but also the client and design team.”
He also singled out one of Plastic Surgeon’s female Finishers, Tracey, who was on the terrazzo for much of the contract period, citing the extended hours she had put in and the fact she also supplied “morale boosting” cakes.
Thanks to the wide variety of repair techniques which Plastic Surgeon has developed, the company is able to deal with accidental damage, staining or weathering on all types of natural stone and masonry: including granite, marble, sandstone, brickwork and stucco or plaster. In all cases the treatment’s take account of the material’s hardness, porosity and other characteristics to ensure the best possible match to the original appearance, and to ensure the long term durability of the repair.
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