WORKERS have found the cause of structural damage to Burntisland Burgh Chambers clock tower.
Recently it was discovered there was extensive damage to the tower and work to remove the affected stone had to be carried out.
This week, a further two of the clock tower’s bells were removed and stone masons working on the project also discovered the cause of the problems - a rusted iron hoop set in the middle of the stonework, at the level of the cracked arches.
Alan Paul, senior manager, said: “A wrought iron hoop had been built into the middle of the wall, just behind the apex of the lancet arches.
“This was probably used to reinforce the tower, in order to prevent the walls spreading due to the weight of the spire.
“It is very badly corroded and when iron and steel corrode they expand. This expansion results in significant force on the stone, pushing it out, causing it to crack and also forcing the joints open.
“The hoop is located immediately behind the worst areas of damage to the stone and has expanded significantly, so we are certain that this is the cause. The rest of the affected sections of stone will now be removed.
“The remaining two bells will also be taken out using a block and tackle so there should be no further need to use the crane and traffic control, unless we come across some particularly large blocks of stone.
“Once the tower is dismantled to just below the clock faces, a temporary roof will be put in place to weatherproof the tower.”
He added: “It will then be reconstructed using as much of the original stone as possible.”
The clock mechanism has also been removed to keep it safe during the works.
While works on the tower are being carried out, the Burgh Chambers and Local Office will be closed.
But locals can access services from the library, from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.