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Sunday, July 14, 2024

£200k safety works scheduled for civic hall due to corrosion of steel frames

The city’s main council building needs investment to tackle a structural problem which can cause stonework to crack.

A Leeds City Council report said the Civic Hall is suffering from a condition called Regent Street Disease, caused by the corrosion of internal steel frames.

The council is planning to spend £200,000 to investigate the impact on the building, carry out health and safety works and find a long-term treatment plan.

The Civic Hall spending is part of a wider £6m planned capital investment to tackle a backlog of maintenance on council buildings and green spaces.

Regent Street Disease (RSD) is found in pre-1950s buildings which have masonry or stone tightly packed around steel frames.

It happens after water permeates through the porous stonework and corrodes the steel, which in turn causes the masonry around it to crack.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “The building is safe, as any pieces of stonework which may have presented a risk were removed as a precaution following an inspection at the end of last year.

“Inspections will be repeated annually until the root cause of the problem is resolved.”

After the 1950s, building techniques changed to prevent the problem by leaving a cavity between steel frames and masonry.

The council is planning to bring in specialists to tackle RSD in the Civic Hall using a method called cathodic protection.

The technique uses electrical currents to suppress and prevent further steel corrosion.

The spokesperson said: “The full programme of cathodic protection works is yet to be fully developed as the surveying and design work is still underway.
“It will be carried out over an extended period to avoid significantly disrupting building users.”
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