After two fires at the Backbencher in 2012 Silvester Clark were engaged to design works to strengthen this two-storey brick building to 70% NBS. The strengthening works were design to occur in two stages with the works at ground floor being constructed first as part of the fire damage reinstatement works. To allow for the future works we used Reid bars that extended above the top of the new concrete walls so they could be coupled with bars from above when works at first floor are carried out. The strengthening works involved:
- New sprayed concrete shear walls constructed against existing brick walls.
- Restraining the brick walls at first floor level with steel wale beams.
- Providing a diaphragm at first floor level with steel cross bracing between the wale beams and new steel members.
- Constructing a new concrete ground floor slab (suspended in one area over the old basement).
The strengthening component of the works was completed early January 2013 and the Backbencher reopened in March 2013.