Recording Historic Structures

Vernacular timber barn for a government agency

H+R was approached by a governmental agency about surveying a Grade II listed historic barn they had recently come into possession of which was believed to have some elements dating back to the 14th century. The remote nature of the barn had meant that little existed in the form of documentation, so as well as a full condition survey of the remaining historic fabric, the client requested the barn be recorded to a Level 3 Historic England standard including the preparation of detailed drawings and photographs.

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H+R deployed a two-man team over two days to tackle both facets of the survey. The historic fabric condition investigation included an assessment of the metal sheet roof, timber clapboarding, historic timber frame and the brick plinth detail at the foundation. All historic timber elements were subject to decay detection drilling and probed for deep moisture content to assess their condition. In addition, samples were taken to assist with timber strength grading and species identification. The main challenge facing the structure was the continued exposure to chronic water penetration via the failed roof finishes at the collapsed midstrey which had caused localised wet-rot decay to several timber elements. H+R decided to adopt a ‘phased’ approach to its schedule of recommendations for the project, laying out the conditions and recommendations in order of priority and urgency. This allowed the client to tackle the most pressing issues during phase 1 works and the lesser issues at a later date when funds and access allowed.

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To tackle the documentation portion of the survey, H+R utilized a laser distance meter alongside analogue data collection techniques, primarily in the form of hand measurements. The roof finishes, roof structure, external and internal elevations and the timber frame were all extensively catalogued in photographic form to establish an information audit should any further collapses occur at the barn prior to renovation works taking place. Elevations and plans were then drawn up at the office by our technicians to be both marked up with condition data and to form the basis of an archive of documentation for the structure in the future.

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Recording Historic Structures - Case Study - Technology (Image 3)