The main floor works were undertaken in three phases, to allow the Abbey to continue to function on a day to day basis. During each phase of work, an evaluation process was undertaken which summarised the results of the individual stone assessments. Any stones that were irreparable or otherwise unfit for reuse were identified and the remaining stones were then used to create a new floor stone layout.
The objective of the new floor layout was to place the floor stones as close as possible to their original position. This would minimise changes in the floor pattern and also avoid cutting stones unnecessarily, as despite appearances they do not fit together in a regular pattern. However, there were a number of reasons why floor stones could not be re-laid in their original position.
The arrangement of floor trenches was altered in the nave, to counteract the strong downdrafts from the large clerestory windows and in the central choir aisle, the floor grilles were no longer required. While previously the stones of the entire central aisle had been staggered between two lines of floor grilles, they could be now aligned, acknowledging the importance of the central east-west axis of the building.
Electrical trunking was incorporated in the floor around the base of each column and concealed by new, removable stone covers. Other smaller changes to the earlier floor layout were made, to avoid the adverse visual impact of floor grilles and to incorporate new floor access panels. New stone was only added where absolutely necessary.
The resulting new floor layout is the culmination of thousands of individual stone assessments and many years of technical work by the specialist project team which then allowed the floor stones to be carefully re-laid, after construction of a new floor structure.
The removal of the nave pews at Bath Abbey and the repair of the historic Abbey floor provides an opportunity to appreciate Bath Abbey in a new way, reminiscent of the pre-Victorian era. The floor and wall memorials can be fully appreciated, enhancing the significance of the Grade 1 Listed Building. The evidence of lives lived in Georgian times also enhances the outstanding universal value of the City of Bath World Heritage Site. The corporation stalls and choir stalls are being returned to the east end, an important part of the Victorian history of the Abbey, but the rest of the pews will be replaced with stackable chairs that can be arranged to suit the wide range of activities that take place in the Abbey, providing much-needed flexibility for contemporary worship and community events.