Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are useful tools for surveying historic buildings and structures, as well as assisting in diagnosing building failures. Drones can also be useful for archaeological research and of ruined buildings and their surrounding landscape. Drones are small, portable, and able to hover and operate in confined spaces, yet are powerful enough to carry DLSR still and HD/4K video cameras for survey work, as well as lidar and terrestrial scanners. For historic buildings and heritage sites, drones offer high-resolution imagery and data which can be used for monitoring, recording, presentation, interpretative display, surveying, and mapping. Continue reading
The conservation of stone is one of the most complex and challenging areas in architectural conservation, involving a detailed understanding of a wide range of materials, how they respond to weathering, how they interact with other historic building materials and interventions over time, and the repercussions of maintaining, cleaning and conserving architectural and archaeological building fabric. Ireland has a particularly rich heritage of building with local stone. Historic buildings and archaeological monuments may be constructed from a wide range of stone types including limestones, sandstones, conglomerates, granites and other igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock types.
Detailed knowledge of Irish building stone has been developed since 1997 through desktop research, fieldwork and laboratory analyses. Analytical services to advise on the weathering, conservation and repair of stone include:
- Characterisation of Stone
- Diagnosis of Weathering and any other Deterioration
- Identification of Type and Impact of Soiling Deposits
- Sourcing of Suitable Replacement Stone
- Testing & Comparison of Conservation Treatments
- Overseeing & Monitoring Cleaning & Conservation
- Design of Replacement Mortars for Stone Conservation
- Recommendations for Conservation, Cleaning & Repair and Preparation of Specifications
Materials research and analysis has been a core activity since 1997, focused on understanding the deterioration and methods of preserving the historic fabric of architecturally and archaeologically significant buildings and monuments.
The knowledge of stone, brick mortar, plaster and render types and how they deteriorate has been gathered through primary research funded by government bodies and third level institutions, as well as research studies commissioned by architects, engineers, archaeologists and building owners to address the deterioration of historic buildings, archaeological monuments, ruined structures and finds from archaeological excavations. Work undertaken since 1997 includes:
- Identification, Characterisation and Matching of Stone, Brick, Terracotta, Mortars and Plasters
- Diagnosis of Historic Building Material Failures (e.g. stone decay, staining, weathering, past cleaning treatments)
- Studies of Provenance, Technology and Dating of Archaeological Building Materials
- Primary Research funded by Government Bodies into the Nature, Origin and Deterioration of Stone, Brick and Mortar
- Testing of Conservation Techniques for Cleaning, Consolidation, Stone Treatments, Biocides and Repointing
- Recommendations for Conservation & Preparation of Specifications
- Design of Replica and Improved Mortars and Plasters
Pavía, S, & Bolton, J. (2001) Stone Monuments Decay Study 2000: Assessment of the degree of erosion and degradation of stone monuments in the Republic of Ireland. Kilkenny. The Heritage Council
Pavía, S, & Bolton, J. (2000) Stone Brick and Mortar: Historical Use, Decay and Conservation of Building Materials in Ireland.Bray. Wordwell Books
Bolton, J. (2016, forthcoming) “Granite and marine salt weathering anomalies from submerged, inter-tidal and coastal archaeological monuments in Ireland”, Proceedings of the 13th International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone, Paisley, Scotland
Bolton, J. (2012) “Ever decreasing circles: the implications of climate change for the deterioration of coastal archaeological monuments”. In IKUWA 3: Beyond Boundaries. Proceedings of the 3rd International Congress on Underwater Archaeology, University College London, 10-12 July 2008. Frankfurt. Roman-Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute. Pp.143-150
Bolton, J. (2010) “Carved stone in Romanesque Ireland: use, decay and conservation”, 7th International Conference on Science and Technology in Archaeology and Conservation Workshop on Documentation and Conservation of Stone deterioration in Heritage Places Petra, Jordan, December 7 to 12, 2010.
Bolton, J. (2010) “Irish Medieval Mortars: Implications for the formulation of new replacement mortars”, 2nd Historic Mortars Conference & RILEM TC 203-RHM Repair Mortars for Historic Buildings, Prague, 22-24 September 2010. Czech Republic. Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics & RILEM. Pp.19-28
Condition assessments are undertaken to determine the current state of a site, historic building, wall surface and/or architectural element to identify the nature and significance of any decay processes. Condition surveys for historic properties and ruined archaeological monuments draw on specialised assessment methodologies and techniques to determine the decay processes leading to failure(s), the risks to the structure, and the necessary works for stabilisation and/or repair. The assessments, investigations and analyses undertaken during the condition survey identify areas of vulnerability, and provides the basis for a strategy to undertake effective cleaning, repairs and/or conservation work. Condition surveys may include: Continue reading
Architectural Heritage Impact Assessments (AHIA) are prepared to accompany design proposals for new build or alterations which may impact a Protected Structure, and are often an obligatory planning requirement. During the planning process, a local authority will check if the building is listed on the Record of Protected Structure (RPS) or within an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA). I have carried out AHIA reports for over a decade on houses, churches, hospitals, prisons, lime kilns and complex multi-period buildings.
The purpose of the AHIA is to provide the planning authority with sufficient information to determine the architectural significance of a building, site or structure, the relationship and any impact of the proposed alterations or new build on the architectural heritage, and may suggest possible mitigatory measures.
Archaeological Impact Assessments normally form part of a submission for planning permission and are undertaken to determine the potential for archaeological remains in an area. Assessments include desktop research, a site visit, an examination of any visible features and the production of a report which describes the archaeological potential of the site, and the potential impact (or lack thereof) of a proposed development on archaeological heritage. The purpose of the report is to allow the relevant authorities to make an informed decision on each individual development proposal.
In the case of sites which contain a ruined archaeological monuments, the impact assessment is slightly different as it involves the study of the ruined building or structure, and is sometimes called a historic building assessment. Continue reading
Historic buildings in Ireland were built with lime, gypsum, earthen, Roman Cement and Portland Cement mortars. Lime-based mortars are most commonly found in historic buildings and archaeological monuments, and were used for bedding and pointing masonry, for internal plain and decorative plasterwork, for special purposes, and as external renders.
Mortar analysis provides essential information for the understanding of historic building materials, and for the specification of compatible materials for conservation and repair work. Mortar analyses can provide information on the binder, aggregate, number and thickness of coats or applications, void space, fracturing and macro-porosity within the binder, the presence of hair and other inclusions, and the abundance and distribution of unmixed binder. Information can be gathered not only on mortar composition, but also on likely performance during application and weathering, durability and structural function in order to design quality repair materials compatible with the adjacent historic fabric. Continue reading
A conservation plan is a document which explains the significance of a site, and how that significance will be retained in any future use, management, alteration, or repair of the site. Conservation plans are intended to describe what is there, why it matters, what is happening to it, and the principles drawn on to manage the place, and only then sets out work programmes and other actions for maintenance, uses and other matters.
Conservation plans are driven by the need to understand why a place is important, and provides a framework to manage a place so that its cultural significance is not Continue reading