Liverpool Cathedral crumbling reports say
by Christopher Ralls POSSIBLY SERIOUS structural faults in Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral could lead to legal actions being taken against the architect and consulting engineer by the Archdiocese.
According to Construction News, writs may be served following the discovery that roof panels are beyond repair and may have to be replaced.
Reports have suggested other design faults, as well as at least one other construction weakness. The bells in the central tower have been badly hung, it is claimed, and there are acoustic problems, resulting probably from the shape of the conical tower. Retaining walls were apparently constructed without expansion joints and have cracked.
The roof is said to pose the most serious problem. Several panels on the roof have had to be patched and at least one has been removed for testing. The panels, which were made from aluminium-clad concrete, are laid on precast concrete beams which act as rafters, supported between ring beams.
This week, no one in the Liverpool diocese would comment on the allegations. Mgr James Dunne, one of the Vicars General, said he had returned from holiday on Sunday and knew nothing about the allegations until then.
The diocesan surveyor, Mr Richard Edge, was on holiday, and Mr Ferguson, the building inspector, preferred not to comment until he had seen newspaper reports.
However, Mr Edge did speak to the Liverpool Daily Post last week, but he declined to comment on the question of legal action against the architects, Frederick Gibberd and Partners, and the consulting engineers, Lowe and Rodin.
Mr Edge, however, added: "The only thing we can say is that investigations on the site of the cathedral are in process of being made and that is as far as it has got, as far as we are concerned."
A spokesman for Gibberd's, Mr Forest, told the Catholic Herald this week: "I have not seen Construction News and I have no comment to make." But Mr Michael Coombes, a partner in the architects' firm, confirmed to the Liverpool Daily Post that there was a problem with the roof which had caused "minor leaks". He said an investigation was taking place.
A spokesman for Lowe and Rodin said that Mr Jack Rodin had been concerned all along as consultant engineer in the building of the Metropolitan Cathedral but that he was on holiday.
Construction of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral began in 1962, and the Cathedral was opened in 1967. It cost some £4 million to build.