Historic Properties

As the detailing and the materials in older buildings are very different than techniques today, it is imperative to bring in the services of a specialist educated in historic and heritage buildings.  At Stronghold Preservation, much of our experience has been gained in important and listed buildings: The Guildhall, Derry; Claridges Hotel, London; Ballycopeland Windmill, Co. Down.  We also appreciate that conservation intervention should be minimalised and visually unobtrusive; preservation rather than modernisation.

Historic buildings, through under-maintenance, or inappropriate use of modern materials, and degeneration over time, often exhibit a range of problems; damp, timber decay, bird infestation, and structural cracks.  Stronghold Preservation provide a comprehensive survey and written report as part of its services.  We also have a dedicated rope access team, including experienced surveyors, who can survey tall or conventionally inaccessible buildings.

Damp & Timber Survey

Historic buildings usually have solid stone or brick walls, without any form of damp proof course, and suspended timber floors; some of which have been replaced with solid concrete floors.  Ground levels can be high, exacerbating problems of damp. Any damp in the walls usually transfer through to the timbers, as historic detailing often entails the timbers being bedded into the walls.  Without adequate heating and ventilation, the timbers can then be prone to woodworm, wet and dry rot; all of which can have serious effects on the structural integrity of the timbers.

Our knowledgeable surveyors are adept at finding the root cause of the damp, and through experience of historic buildings, are aware of the areas most likely to suffer damp and decay.  Woodworm infestation, dry and wet rot can usually be identified visually by our experienced surveyors; though opening up of parts of the building may be required in order to achieve a full diagnosis.

For historic buildings, in particular, we can use dry rot sensors; these can help prevent opening up of areas, where for example there is less suspicion of dry rot, or where there are delicate decorative items.  The sensors are placed in pre-drilled 7mm holes, and left for 14 days; a change in colour indicates the presence of dry rot.

Our surveyor will discuss on site the problems identified and the proposed remedial works.  We provide a comprehensive written report and quotation, for all surveys undertaken.

Structural Survey

Along with a structural engineer, Stronghold Preservation can help identify the root cause of any structural cracks, and design and install a sensitive and visually unobtrusive method to repair the masonry or timber.  We use modern methods of structural repair, which allow more of the existing fabric and detailing to be retained than conventional steel plates, steel ties, pattresses, fitches etc.

In comparison with steel ties, Cintec socked anchors are much less obtrusive; the anchors are diamond drilled (almost essential in unstable void or rubble filled stone walls), and a patch, which can be colour matched to the existing wall, finishes the anchor flush with the surface.  Diamond drilling also allows a greater level of accuracy than conventional hammer drilling.

For timber repairs, Stronghold Preservation offer a timber resin splice system; this necessitates only the removal of the decayed timber, and new timbers spliced onto the existing timber (usually reclaimed timber is used in historic buildings).  Steel rods are placed into grooves in the new and existing timbers, and bonded using a resin.

Bird Control & Guano Removal

Nuisance bird control issues can be problematic in historic buildings.  Pigeons, in particular, can roost and perch externally and internally in the buildings, causing noise, smells, and unsightly mess on buildings and surrounding areas.  Additionally, pigeon droppings (guano) can have a detrimental effect on the fabric of the historic building; the droppings can be corrosive, especially on limestone and sandstone.  Stronghold Preservation will survey the building, assess the need for guano removal, and design and install a bird deterrence system; we understand that historic buildings require a discreet system.  A full written survey, design and quotation will be provided.