Architects examine Ballaarat Mechanics Institute facade for water damage

IT’S not a job for the faint-hearted, but someone had to do it. 

Two heritage architects yesterday examined the facade of the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute (BMI), via a 13-metre crane. 

At 7.15am the 50 tonne Barry James crane towered over Sturt Street, while the architects inspected the heritage building’s facade for water damage. 

BMI president Graham Gooding said the architects found water had deteriorated the 1869 brick work beneath the exterior facade. 

“We require a heritage architect to examine the facade (of the building) because the facade has caused an issue with the 1869 brick work,” Mr Gooding said. 

“The (existing) bricks are absorbing water.”

Mr Gooding said Ballarat’s frosty and wet weather over an extended period of time had caused deterioration to the brick. 

He also said the institute would push to secure funding from Heritage Victoria to help repair the facade. 

“To the untrained eye, you could not see the deterioration of the facade,” he said. 

“We now have documented evidence to show that the facade is deteriorating.” 

Mr Gooding said the BMI was a gift from Queen Victoria to the people in 1858.