The Building Conservation Directory 2023

P R O T E C T I O N & R E M E D I A L T R E AT M E N T 4.1 135 C AT H E D R A L C O M M U N I C AT I O N S T H E B U I L D I N G C O N S E R VAT I O N D I R E C T O R Y 2 0 2 3 | C E L E B R AT I N G 3 0 Y E A R S STOP THE ROT Timber Decay and Insulation Retrofit PETER BARRETT I N RECENT times our lives have been focused on the cost of energy and energy efficiency. Perceived comfort level and thermal insulation are essential criteria for any property, regardless of age. Thermal improvements will significantly impact the occupants’ comfort and the cost of running a property, especially during cold weather, reducing our environmental impact. The current climate emergency is one of the most significant catalysts driving change in our historic environment today. Historic buildings have survived for many centuries and were built in a sustainable way. Reusing or adapting our historic building stock can significantly contribute to tackling climate change. However, if a historic or period building becomes unaffordable to heat or unviable, it may result in dereliction. This article reviews a holistic approach to insulating a solid-built traditional building and the associated risks of timber decay. The author using a micro-drill to assess decay in the end of a beam embedded in an exterior wall, and below, the results below showing pockets of decay DO NO SIGNIFICANT HARM One of the key objectives when considering any work on a historic or period building is to avoid any significant harm. Harm can be anything that impairs its heritage values, damages or reduces the life expectancy of the building fabric, or threatens the health of the occupants. Part of conservation is mitigating loss while enabling the continued use of a building. As part of this viewpoint,