In early 1996, Batten-Sears and Associates Consultants Inc. were engaged to investigate serious water infiltration and deteriorated masonry on a historic building in downtown Ottawa. St. John’s Anglican Church was built in the late 1800’s and is primarily constructed of brick and limestone masonry.

During the investigation, it was found that large sections of the parapet metal were badly deteriorated to the point where sections of metal were missing. The original masonry below was crumbling and mortar joints were non-existent in some cases. A portion of the bell tower wall was bowing out with badly deteriorated brick on the exterior. Mortar joints throughout the building were seriously deteriorated and required re-pointing with a sensitivity to the aesthetic and heritage value of the property.

Contractors with proven restoration experience in the Capital Region were invited to quote on the tender package. Everest Restoration Ltd. was awarded the project and work was commenced in the summer of ’96.Time and scheduling was of the essence on this particular project. There were a series of concerts being performed in the church on a daily basis with literally hundreds of people lined up around the building while work was occurring.

Everest was totally accommodating on this point and as a result no delays to these concerts were encountered. Restoration commenced to the North wall with mortar joints carefully chiseled and cut out. Jeff Keays, (Everest’s Operations Manager) applied a number of mortar colour samples until the desired one was chosen by Batten-Sears. There were 4 different earlier mortar colours on the structure.


Much of the brickwork on the sloping parapet walls were 6 wythes thick with various cuts on the brick to accommodate the slopes in the metal. Matching brick was located in Hamilton, Ontario and relayed into place, the 2 x 8″ sections of pressure treated pine were installed using 4″ masonry fasteners. The new metal consisted of one single piece shaped to existing contours to prevent future possibility of leaks.

A two meter square section of the Bell Tower was removed and it was discovered that the interior coursing was unstable. The interior wythe was subsequently stabilized and the wythe carefully relayed into place, salvaging brick from other portions of the building. Helefix anchoring ties were used to tie the wall together once work was complete. The upper section over the front entrance of the building was repointed using a soft mortar. Various other sections of the structure were restored with a variety of techniques.

Everest Restoration was found to be very professional, and co-operative on this project. There was very positive feedback from the community on the cleanliness and professionalism on the work site. This was an excellent example of contractors working closely with Engineering consultants resulting in all parties satisfied in the end.

Wes Lamb, Batten-Sears & Associates Consultants Inc., Ottawa office Ph: 613-731-1175.

Definition – “WYTHE”: Thickness of the wall measured by number of bricks.


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