Maintaining a façade in London, UK
Architecturally speaking, the façade of a building is one of its most important aspects, as it sets the tone for how the rest of the building will be viewed. From an engineering standpoint, it also has an impact on energy efficacy. The façades of historic buildings are often protected through the UK planning system, which has strict rules regarding any alterations or refurbishment work. A thorough understanding of the forces that affect historic façades is necessary when dealing with these buildings. This includes knowledge of the causes of deterioration, the properties of the original building materials and up-to-date inspection tools and methods, and a solid grounding in renovation and repair techniques. These kinds of skills and expertise were on display when RSK’s materials and structures rope-access team conducted an extensive survey of the stonework façade of a prestigious Grade II listed London building built in the 19th century.
The survey was conducted to assure the client of the integrity of the building’s façade and to catalogue the details of the current building. This work aimed to inform further design and refurbishment work before the external scaffolding was installed and the construction phase of the project began.
RSK worked closely with the pre-demolition contractor on devising a programme that enabled the RSK engineer-led teams to undertake a range of inspection and in situ materials testing of the stonework. This included non-destructive radar testing by in-house IRATA-International-qualified geophysical and civil engineers to ensure that the data captured were interpreted efficiently and with full knowledge and understanding of the engineering principles and properties of the construction materials involved. Our materials scientists also took stonework specimens from the site for examination and analysis in our UKAS-accredited testing laboratories. The testing techniques used included petrographic testing and analysis to classify the constituents and condition of the stonework.
Our report included the survey and materials testing results and advice on future durability and maintenance aspects for the façade.