A blog post

High Street shop suffers the ‘Headache’ of Timber Decay

Posted on the 11 March, 2014 at 6:31 pm Written by in Case Studies, Death Watch Beetle

Premier Heritage was called upon to undertake a detailed investigation into the structural condition of the exposed timbers within a High Street, chemist’s shop, when structural movement was identified beneath one of the carrier beams and the main framing timbers on the jettied section of the building projecting over the public precinct walkway.

Exterior of property

Exterior of property

The property along with the adjoining shops had jettied sections supported on a series of timber hardwood columns, one of which supporting the main carrier beam and framing timbers being affected by long standing water penetration. This had occurred as a direct result of a defective hopper and down pipe resulting in wet rot decay to the main hardwood timbers and the top section of the supporting column, eventually leading to the compression of the column and the reported structural movement.

Damaged rain water goods

Damaged rain water goods

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Damaged timbers

Damaged timbers

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Compressed column

Compressed column

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Working with and on behalf of the Insurance Assessors we were instructed to undertake a full timber condition survey to identify the type of decay, but more importantly the extent of timber replacement and this being a Listed Building necessitated the requirement to keep the replacement timbers to a bare minimum.
Our investigation involved a full visual and moisture assessment of all adjacent timbers, along with general probing using a bradawl, but also the use of the Sibert Digital Micro Probe to assess the actual condition and potential loss of fabric on the larger dimension timbers.
Some time was spent cleaning out the decayed timber and general debris from within the timber column, only to discover an active infestation by Death Watch Beetles, these clearly having infested the decaying timbers some years prior to our survey.

Damaged timbers

Damaged timbers

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Death watch beetle damage

Death watch beetle damage

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The outcome initiated an immediate repair of the down pipe and hopper and a proposal for replacing some secondary timbers, splicing and resin injection to the top section of the main supporting column and the introduction of some steel work to strengthen the main frame timbers. This was followed by targeted treatment of the timbers using an Insecticidal Fluid to aid with the control of the Death Watch Beetle, in conjunction with natural drying of the timber.

Our survey had obviously highlighted the need for property owners and such like, to ensure they routinely undertake inspections and report any obvious building defects before they get out of hand. In general discussion with the adjoining shop owner we were informed that the down- pipe had been leaking for some time and had been reported on several occasions, despite which no repairs had been implemented.

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