Questions posed

THE article in the March 8 edition about the re-roofing of Fremantle Arts Centre raises some questions.

Why has replacement of the roofing of the south-west wing suddenly become urgent?

Was it leaking directly through the material, or did it just need another coat of paint to maintain safe encapsulation of the asbestos cement material?

Will Fremantle strategic planning manager Paul Garbett explain where, when and for how long corrugated iron was used on the Arts Centre, so making it �traditional� and �sympathetic to the character of the building�?

The 1890s additions of the south-west and southern wings have been described as �A masterpiece of well-manner design, incorporating elements of the original such as the gables and window details and using the same basic materials of limestone and shingles�.

The architect for these additions, G.T. Poole, continued the steep-pitched roof design covered with shingles even though he had corrugated galvanised iron available to him at that time.

Mr Garbett states that the �corrugated iron carries a low risk of premature failure, whereas, by contrast, the longer-term benefits both culturally and in practice of using materials to replicate a look are much less certain�.

What is certain is that the replica material has been up there for 45 years, performing its practical functions as well as maintaining, at least, the spirit of architectural good manners.

And yes, it took some time and effort and considerable help from the manufacturers Hardie�s Asbestos, painters Silver & Son and those famous Fremantle paint makers, Messrs Evans & Tait.

I understand that the maximum guarantee offered on corrugated galvanised iron is now 25 years.

R. McK CAMPBELL, architect,

Mosman Park.