A CONSULTING engineering firm has helped bring the past to life in rural Cheshire.

Patrick Parsons Consulting Engineers, which has an office in Chester, has completed work on a unique community barn – featuring a traditional green oak cruck frame – in the village of Aldford.

Commissioned by the Eaton Estate and Chester Renaissance in April 2012, the project was designed to showcase heritage skills such as traditional oak carpentry and brickwork, thatching, and wattle and daub panelling, and will act as a hub for the local community.

The use of a cruck frame, which features curved beams, is a historic method of building in the Cheshire countryside, and the barn’s timber was sourced from six oak trees felled from the Eaton Estate, where Aldford is situated.

Patrick Parsons Consulting Engineers was appointed as civil and structural engineers on the project, and was responsible for the design of the ground slab, drainage, bespoke post supports, timber sizes and a review of the traditional timber connections.

The firm has extensive experience in the heritage sector, having worked on projects at Durham Cathedral, Hexham Abbey and Saltaire in West Yorkshire, among others.

Cormac Harte, principal structural engineer at Patrick Parsons, said: “Very few traditional cruck barns are commissioned nowadays, so this was a unique and exciting opportunity for the company.

“As we have worked on a number of heritage projects in the past, we were familiar with traditional carpentry methods – this experience was vital to the Aldford barn project in justifying the capacity of the traditional timber connections, ensuring they were sufficiently robust and able to satisfy building regulations.

“We’re delighted that the barn has now been completed. It will be an important resource for the community and is a stunning example of what can be achieved by using a combination of modern and heritage building methods.”

Magnus Theobald, of Cheshire West and Chester Council capital delivery and maintenance team, which delivered the project for Chester Renaissance, added: “Projects such as the Aldford barn keep traditional skills alive. It’s rare to see new thatched public buildings being constructed, so everyone involved should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.

“Patrick Parsons’s experience and expertise was invaluable in ensuring that the structure was built on time and to budget.”

A multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm, Patrick Parsons offers a wide range of consultancy services including civil and structural engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, environment and energy, geo-environmental engineering, planning support, project management and construction design management. It also has specialist expertise in white water rafting courses.