Saving a Heritage Building with the Help of America’s Cup

Saving a Heritage Building with the Help of America’s Cup

Bermuda was hit with America’s Cup fever a few weeks ago and it’s lead up created a lot of jobs and projects for the island, for us included. As the Cup was becoming a reality the renovation of Building #9 in Dockyard quickly turned into a larger scale project for BS&R.

The conversation about renovating Building #9 had been on the cards for quite some time. Previously working on small renovations in other Dockyard Buildings we had supplied various options for replacing windows in a number of buildings with multiple exotic hardwoods. Building #9 was one of these buildings.

Woods like mahogany, teak, meranti, and pine were all considered over the years for price point and long-term performance. However, the main issue with exterior wood products is the requirement to provide continual maintenance. When we became a distributor of Accoya it solved this problem for Bermuda. With its ability to last 50 years above ground without paint it can be left to weather and require minimal to no maintenance. This, in particular, made it the perfect product for historical buildings like Building #9 as it will slowly weather to match the rest of the building’s look and style.

Initially we were hired by Correia Construction for the installation of Accoya sash windows on the second floor. However, once plans unfolded for America’s Cup and Team Oracle was announced as the new tenant of the building the first floor was quickly extended into the scope of the project. We then took over the supply and installation of the first floor windows as well.

The project was no small feat. Besides two large arched sliding doors, we supplied over 100 windows and installed around 200 with about 10 other doors thrown in the mix as well. Before the interiors were fitted we were able to work on all three of the big rooms, completing the exterior millwork and fitting each sash to each opening while on staging. It was very labor intensive but very rewarding to see the final product.

All of the new exterior millwork is Accoya wood. We were lucky to have some original frames and other pieces still in good condition, such as the painted window frames, so they were not replaced. They are most likely pine or Bermuda Cedar and it would have been a pity to get rid of them.

While fabricating these windows the main thing to consider was the final look of a weathered low maintenance window and what that meant to our joinery techniques. We had to pay close attention to how Accoya wood acts with regards to moisture when it is left exposed and what other products to use along with it to ensure that a weathered low maintenance window could still perform against the exterior climate in the long run. It was imperative to use epoxy as an adhesive in our joints and use a quality caulk between the frame and sash.

At the end of the day this building is a heritage building and we had to make sure the design and end look articulated that. The major design decision was to then copy the windows and doors ‘like for like’ in proportion of the original windows. The rails, stiles, and glazing bars are of the exact same proportion as the original windows so it does not change, in any way, the aesthetic and period of the original exterior.

The sashes were installed into the existing frames which required an interior ‘stop bead’ in order to sandwich the sash into the frame as they were originally operating casement sashes. We copied the profile of the exterior frames for the new ‘stop bead’ so that we did not introduce any new profile or dimension from the existing window. Due to the original frames being in good condition all of the sashes had to be made slightly over sized so that they could be fitted to the irregularity of the frames. This turned into a lot of work with a planer shaving the sashes to suit each opening.

It took about 1 ½ months to fabricate and about three weeks to install everything. We were more than pleased with the final result of Building #9 and how well the new Accoya sashes went with the rest of the building. In the end the building is renovated and outfitted with all new windows and still looks like the rest of the heritage buildings in Dockyard.

We were honored to be involved with something America’s Cup related and excited to have worked on the building accommodating Team Oracle. We not only got to help save a piece of Bermuda heritage but also were able to use a green building material such as Accoya to help further Bermuda’s environmental efforts.