St. Michael’s Church – Refurbishment

Key Facts:

Client Name: St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Brentwood
Location: East Ham, Newham
Type of client: Church, Ecclesiastical
Disciplines provided by M+C: Building Surveying | Procurement | Project Management
Value: £132,000
Contractors: Houghton Building Services
M+C Lead: Jack Haine

St. Michael’s is a very popular Roman Catholic church located in the heart of Newham. The church forms part of the Diocese of Brentwood. St. Michael’s is a modern, urban building in Tilbury Road, a quiet street near Central Park. Designed by A.J. Newton of Newton and Burles, it was built in 1959. A range of older images can be seen here.

Sadly, the church suffered a major fire and smoke damage. As a result of the investigative work, it was also found that a full rewire was required throughout in addition to the remedial works.

Working with the Loss Adjuster and the Diocese of Brentwood, the opportunity was taken to deliver a full refurbishment of the church, developing a specification that made the most of building’s structure, and in particular its internal height. Having been refurbished once early in its 56-years, this scheme presented the chance to remove a false ceiling and re-commission high-level windows allowing a high degree of natural lighting to fall in to the main church building. Additional lightings layouts were designed to sympathetically add additional illumination throughout.

To access the full ceiling height, particularly imposing at some 15 metres to the apex, an impressive 100-tonnes of scaffolding were used to provide a full bird-cage scaffold throughout. Prior to re-finishing and the provision of the lighting, the roof was completed insulated to offer vastly improved energy efficiency for the capacious building.

Careful attention was paid to the interior design of the church, in particular the altar area; with the selection of subtle colours to provide a calming, tranquil finish. The main section of the altar wall was decorated using a shimmering flock wall covering, to make the most of the new lighting. A new marble shelf was also created behind the altar for the tabernacle, which holds Eucharist and should always be visible from the body of the church.

The church was carpeted throughout, and the original pews were re-installed. Along with the provision of a new disabled access ramp and doorway, two sets of pews were carefully altered to create areas within the main body of the congregation for wheelchair users at their request.

Following a range of additional works, the scheme was completed in early December, allowing the Diocese to re-open the church with a major celebration and re-dedication by the Bishop of Brentwood prior to the Christmas period.

“Myself and all of the parishioners are absolutely over the moon with the results of the work that has been done. We thoroughly appreciate all of the care, attention and most of all respect that has been show throughout the project by all of the team”

Father Bob Hamill, St. Michael’s Church