1: Hi Jack, Can you tell us a little about yourself......
I am a Joiner and Site Manager for Robinsons Preservation Ltd where I have worked for five years.
2: You are currently working at the former Andrew Carnegie Library. Can you please tell us more about this project and the work you are doing there?
The main part of our work in this phase is to strip the building back to bare brick on the inside and to carry out essential holding treatments on the dry rot to stop it spreading any further and damaging even more of the building. We are also working on getting the building water tight and providing some much needed ventilation to help the building dry out and create some natural air flow. There are also some structural problems with some of the floors which need addressing.
3: What are the areas of concern for the building?
There are many areas of concern within the building, the worst is obviously the extent of the dry rot. The others are the glass lights built into the floors between ground and first floor level. They are made from cast iron and must weigh over 200kg each. Because the floors around them have been affected badly by dry rot they are close to collapsing. We have had to do some emergency propping below these. Most of the ornate plaster coving is also a concern because of the timber framework holding it to the wall being badly affected by dry rot, this makes the removal of certain sections vital so they don't fall when we least expect them to.
4: What is the next stage following the emergency holding works?
Well it will be stage one survey where hopefully we will be instructed to do the works. This survey will consist of gathering as much detailed information as we can on the areas that need to be worked on. For example, we will need to determine the condition of roof timbers, floor timbers and all other timber work. The reason for doing this is to find out how much is rotten and to enable us to try and get and accurate specification and costing together for the works.
5: What do you find interesting/special/unique about the former Andrew Carnegie Library?
As I am a joiner I have a passion for wood so I really like the oak book shelves on the balcony. The brass foot steps and grab handles to help you reach the top shelf I like the most. I also like the oak panelling in the reception area, ornate carved oak door frames in the foyer, the balcony handrail, ornate plaster mouldings and the green tiles.
6: Finally, what are your thoughts on Lister Steps plans to regenerate the building and reuse it as a community hub?
For me it's good to see how much this project means to so many people and for different reasons. People that are from all walks of life have such a big interest in the building and what it will become. When Lister Steps had their grand launch for the hub at lowlands I was surprised and happy to see the enthusiasm from everyone about what Lister Steps have done so far. I think that it is vital that organisations like Lister Steps have this amount of passion for buildings like this. The library is a big part of Liverpool's heritage and it shouldn't be left to just slowly deteriorate. I also think it’s a good idea to make the building multi-functional so it can be used for as many different uses as possible.