Case studies – Fire damage restoration

Effective Response Rescues Fire-Ravaged Grade 1 Listed Castle

Rising above the Cheshire landscape, Peckforton Castle is the last remaining medieval style castle still intact in the UK. Built in the early 19th Century, the spectacular Grade 1 listed building has been used as a film and TV set for Robin Hood and episodes of Dr Who. Converted to an exclusive country house hotel in 1988 with 48 bedrooms, event and conference facilities, and on-site falconry, it is one of the most sought after luxury wedding venues in the UK.

When a devastating fire tore through the landmark castle destroying an entire wing, 70 wedding guests were forced to evacuate as more than 100 firefighters took 12 hours to extinguish the flames. Immediately after the fire was extinguished, project consultants Davies French, along with the Loss Adjuster and policy holder, made the decision to appoint Polygon to help with the restoration of the castle. As an English Heritage approved supplier, Polygon had the skills and capacity to minimise the severe damage caused by the fire and smoke.

Problem

Extensive damage was caused to the castle’s main function rooms, wedding ceremony rooms, corridors, stairways, restaurants, bars, reception area and over 40 guest suites. Polygon’s specialist technicians used their experience to carefully select the decontamination techniques most appropriate for the unique and challenging environment. With so many affected areas, and with different levels and types of contamination, a range of restoration procedures and applications were needed to restore the castle and its contents.

With so many affected areas, and with different levels and types of contamination, a range of restoration procedures and applications were needed to restore the castle and its contents.

Solution

With its experience of major and complex loss scenarios and a dedicated project management approach, the Polygon team was able to manage the restoration of those areas within the castle that had been destroyed. A plan of action was devised and agreed by all parties concerned to ensure minimal business interruption and compliance with strict listed building requirements. Polygon’s team of experts worked closely with English Heritage at several stages due to the age, history and importance of the premises, ensuring the property and its contents could be restored to pre-incident condition without further damage or loss.

The castle was due to be used as a wedding venue in just a few days, so timing for the initial mitigation of the Great Hall, restaurant, brasserie, reception, communal corridors and 40 guest bedrooms was crucial. Initial tasks, including decontamination and deep cleaning of furnishings needed for the wedding functions, were prioritised and completed in just two days. Extensive test cleaning processes were undertaken to establish the best methods to decontaminate the large areas of structural stonework.

The second stage of works involved decontamination of other areas, to allow these to be brought back into service the following week. 

An innovative and patented system called ‘TORC’ was then employed in the following weeks to restore large areas of the stonework and stone stairways. Polygon successfully restored a number of areas using this specialist method after other contractors’ more traditional methods had proved unsatisfactory. 

This restoration project was completed within set timescales and within budget. It was scheduled around the client’s business needs, enabling them to operate with minimal disruption. 

Polygon was subsequently awarded with an ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ award by RSA in recognition of the work completed on the project.

Benefits

• A full property and contents restoration to pre-incident condition
• All work completed within set timescales and within budget
• Innovative TORC system ensured stonework was restored to at least pre-incident condition, and
often “better than” condition
• Satisfied customer and enhanced insurer and Loss Adjuster reputation
• A guarantee that the castle and its contents were free of all incident related contamination, such as smoke and soot