Woodworm found in old timbers Damage to Original Window Frame Defect Investigations

Defects Diagnosis, Specialist Investigations and Scientific Analysis

Understanding the nature and causes of defects in traditional buildings often requires specialist knowledge and equipment to ensure a correct diagnosis. Many defects are a result of neglect or natural weathering, but many problems are specific to the period of the building, the type of construction and numerous other factors. Nicholson Price Associates can provide reliable quantitive scientific data as part of a detailed building survey, or as a stand-alone investigation.

Damp Investigations

Arguably one of the most debated and misunderstood problems affecting traditionally constructed buildings.

Identifying the type and cause of damp in traditional buildings can often be achieved by simple techniques and sensitive surveying, but there are occasions where robust quantitive data is required in order to establish the efficacy of remedial work or to inform the specification for repair. NPA are able to undertake detailed damp investigations, identifying and quantifying moisture levels in timber and masonry, where necessary using core sampling and laboratory analysis to determine free and hygroscopic moisture content and determine the levels of salt and other chemicals present.

Modern living is not always compatible with historic buildings leading to increased levels of condensation, this maybe chronic in nature or more likely intermittent depending on the environmental conditions. Any damp investigation will include a condensation risk analysis, which may involve longer term monitoring using data loggers to produce an accurate risk profile over a period of weeks or even months

Timber Defects

Most traditionally constructed buildings contain a high proportion of timber, much of this will have been used to construct important structural elements such as floors, walls and roofs, large quantities will also have been used in the construction of doors, panelling and mouldings. The loss of any historic timber can have a serious impact, not only on structural integrity, but on the historic and architectural significance of a building.

The greatest long term threat to timber is water. Damp timber is susceptible to various forms of rot and insect attack, identifying sources of moisture and understanding the mechanisms and consequences of decay or attack by wood boring insects is critical when considering how to deal with the problem. Some problems can be resolved by making simple environmental changes, others require more invasive treatments especially where the structural integrity of the timber has been affected.

NPA carry out minimally invasive and cost effective investigations of structural and other historic timber components, and design bespoke repair solutions utilising traditional and modern techniques.

Materials Analysis

Identifying the components of an historic mortar or render is often the first step in understanding why the material has failed and ensuring that any replacement materials are matched as accurately as possible. NPA offer chemical dissolution and mix detail calculations for render and mortar samples, and the testing of historic paint finishes for the presence of lead.


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