Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Progression of Plumb's; Restoration Could Be Finished by Middle of the Year

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Progression of Plumb's; Restoration Could Be Finished by Middle of the Year

Article excerpt

QUEENSLAND property developer McConaghy Group is steadily progressing in its restoration of the historic Plumb's Chambers building on Fitzroy Street.

The $1million restoration is being guided by experienced Brisbane-based heritage architect Andrew Watson, who has a master's degree from the UK in building conservation.

Work on the building is being carried out by up to 10 tradesmen who are on site each day, including a six-man team of expert stonemasons led by George Francis who have been flown in from Sydney.

Mr Watson said the restoration had followed the process laid down in the Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance, also known as the Burra Charter, which provides a best practice standard for managing cultural heritage places in Australia.

"It has taken years to get to this point and it's been a long period of review, assessment, design and then documentation in order to make sure that we are doing the utmost we can to conserve the building appropriately," Mr Watson said. "We went through a series of approval processes with the State Government because it's a state heritage listed building and eventually received approvals in regards to the approach we have taken to conservation and adaptation."

Mr Watson said the object of the restoration was to preserve as much of the original building as possible.

"We want to try to do as much as is necessary but as little as possible to the existing building," Mr Watson said. "And then we also need to adapt it so it can be used in the 21st Century."

"It's about working out the balance between maintaining those parts that are important and culturally significant while making it a functioning building."

"There is no point conserving a building if it has no end use because buildings are best conserved when they are in use. As clients, McConaghys have at all times attempted to do the right thing by the building by following the correct processes."

Final result

When fully restored, Plumb's Chambers will be transformed from a dilapidated, vacant old building into a fully functioning office or retail adapted heritage building. …

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