Old dame’s facelift near­ing com­ple­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

BY THE end of next month the re­pair and re­dec­o­ra­tion of the iconic Cape Town City Hall’s roof will be com­plete, says paint­ing, wa­ter­proof­ing and con­struc­tion com­pany In­dawo.

The com­pany, which has been com­mis­sioned to re­pair and re­store many of Cape Town’s her­itage sites, said it had re­placed the roof and up­graded var­i­ous roof­ing el­e­ments at the her­itage site.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ge­of­frey Jäck says the project started late last Septem­ber when leaks were iden­ti­fied on the roof as old tiles had de­te­ri­o­rated reach­ing the end of their life­span, and “this ne­ces­si­tated the re­place­ment of the roof ”.

“Var­i­ous other roof el­e­ments needed re­pairs or re­place­ment and these were ad­dressed,” he says.

The project meant there had to be a fo­cus on the safety of vis­i­tors to the site and passers-by.

“Re­mov­ing old roof­ing ma­te­rial is dan­ger­ous and spe­cialised equip­ment had to be used to bring old ma­te­rial to ground level for dis­posal.” Jäck says her­itage build­ings de­mand extra care when un­der­go­ing re­pairs.

“Many still have the orig­i­nal stone, mak­ing it cru­cial to pay at­ten­tion to de­tail. Most her­itage sites are also more than a cen­tury old and restor­ing them to their orig­i­nal aes­thetic ap­peal can be chal­leng­ing.

“The de­tail that needs to be pre­served is crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of the project. Some ar­eas re­quire del­i­cate touch-ups to en­sure the orig­i­nal aes­thet­ics re­main the same and, im­por­tantly, the orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign must re­main in­tact.

“To en­sure our her­itage build­ings are prop­erly main­tained, spe­cific skills are re­quired by the con­trac­tor and these can be gained only from years of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Jäck says: “Work­ing at heights on top of a her­itage site as we have done with the City Hall means tak­ing extra pre­cau­tions not to dam­age the ex­ist­ing struc­ture.

“Un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing the in­tegrity of the struc­ture is re­quired. We need to pay at­ten­tion to the del­i­cate ar­chi­tec­tural fin­ishes, which have be­come frag­ile af­ter years of en­dur- ing a harsh Western Cape cli­mate.”

Jäck says main­te­nance is vi­tal in “en­sur­ing the con­tin­u­ous preser­va­tion of our in­fras­truc­ture to drive an up­ward trend in the coun­try’s fixed prop­erty val­ues and is a fun­da­men­tal part of Cape Town’s main­te­nance strat­egy and some­thing the city takes se­ri­ously”.


An aerial view of Cape Town City Hall’s roof be­ing care­fully ren­o­vated.

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