First Portglenone Presbyterian Church, Co Antrim

First Portglenone Presbyterian was built between 1870-73 by Young and McKenzie, one of the leading and most successful architectural practices of the era. The church, which is of Gothic style, was designed to seat approximately 900 people and is rectangular on plan with a 60ft high square bell tower.

Doran Consulting was commissioned to undertake a structural inspection of the ageing church building, which had fallen into a poor state of repair, and to prepare a survey report detailing remedial recommendations as well as providing guidance on the future development of the church property and associated land. As a result of this initial work, we were then commissioned to provide civil and structural engineering design services for 3 separate phases of work:

Phase 1- Enabling Works Contract

An initial ‘enabling’ phase of work was undertaken to form a new entrance onto Main Street and to create an access road to the west of the church buildings. The purpose of this work was to provide both enhanced vehicular access to the site and to access development land owned by the church to the south-west of the site. This work involved the demolition of an end-terrace house, the construction of extensive reinforced concrete retaining walls and the provision of a new storm and foul drainage system to the site. Doran Consulting had significant input into achieving planning permission for this work.

Phase 2- Church Remedial Works

The structural inspection undertaken concluded the following:

  • The existing slate roof had developed numerous leaks, causing damage to the underlying structure  
  • The structural damage caused by water ingress needed to be repaired urgently 

Doran Consulting was responsible for preparing the tender documentation necessary for the structural repairs as well as overseeing the work on site. The structural repair work comprised the following:

  • Replacement of rotten roof timbers
  • Provision of steel splices to rotten roof truss ends
  • The specification of ‘wet rot’ and ‘woodworm’ treatments
  • Provision of timber splices to the rotten ends of gallery floor members
  • Stitching of stonework
  • Structural support to new tower ‘cresting’

Work commenced in September 2013 and was completed during February 2015. The total construction cost was £700,000.

Phase 3- New car park

We played an integral role in gaining planning permission for a new 106 space car park on previously undeveloped land to the south-west of the site.  As well as providing car parking, these proposals will also create a large ‘all weather’ play area that can be used by the various youth organisations associated with the church. Work is to commence once the necessary finance is in place. The budget construction cost of this work is £300,000.