Author: E. Morton (The Morton Partnership Ltd)
1 April 2016
Standard: £9 + VAT
Members/Subscribers, log in to access
E. Morton (The Morton Partnership Ltd)
This article introduces engineers to the various techniques available to monitor movement in historic structures, from simple manual techniques which are less commonly used today, to sophisticated electronic systems. The form of monitoring will depend on the nature of the assumed movement, the funds available, and the possible consequences if the movement is progressive.
Timber and stone are the oldest known building materials. Our most ancient buildings are characterised by their use. So it is no surprise that an engineer looking after historic fabric will regularly encounter the need to repair timberwork. The greatest threats to the structural integrity of timber are from attack by rot and insect; therefore, in the damp British Isles, those working in conservation will often need to reach for the sketchpad to record and re-detail areas damaged by the effects of moisture. Interventions to historic timberwork are also necessary when a building is converted. This happens, for example, when floor joists are reframed or loading is assessed for a new use. While philosophically this is different to a simple repair, it nevertheless requires similar skillsets to achieve the best, most sensitive results. This article looks briefly at these matters, first from the aspect of conservation philosophy and material choice to establish some ground rules, and then by showing some of the details typically in use in the UK today. In order to focus on these, it does not consider survey and diagnosis.
This article looks at some aspects of floor loading and how its application has changed for the better. It encourages a careful consideration of loadings to avoid unnecessary and irreversible loss of fabric through the application of significant strengthening schemes, cutting away existing historic framing.
As structural engineering students, we learn about mild steel, modern design and construction methods. However, historic structures often do not fit into this mould. Whether you work in conservation or are a general practitioner, you are likely to come across cast iron, wrought iron, as well as early mild steel structures.