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Dry Rot, Timber Decay, Building Conservation, Thermal Imaging & our Resistograph

Apr 27, 2020


Dry Rot, Timber Decay, Building Conservation, Thermal Imaging

& an Ancient Tree Survey using a Resistograph



 Bingley Railway Station


Prior to the Covid-19 Lockdown, EBS Ltd had an extremely busy spring.  We are still working but restricting ourselves to buildings which do not require public transport to get to and buildings, which are not occupied.


We have been busy in building conservation works, surveying historic buildings, mould surveys, indoor air quality, health implications and hazardous contaminant surveys all over the UK and Ireland including projects in Belgravia, Mayfair, Grosvenor Square & Dublin.

We have been advising and providing fungal identification and structural timber surveys on several legal cases of well-known high-profile buildings where sections of the new builds have failed catastrophically. We may be able to update on these once resolved.


Dry Rot, The Square in Rostrevor Northern Ireland 

The Square in Rostrevor Northern Ireland was in poor condition with extensive dry rot to built-in timbers. EBS Ltd was asked to give a second opinion on the best way to deal with the dry rot damage.  Repairs were recommended to the damaged timbers ensuring the repairs were isolated from the masonry with no chemical treatment required to control the dry rot. This enabled a considerable cost saving over the original proposals.


Bingley Railway Station

EBS Ltd has carried out a survey of Bingley Railway station (see photograph above) which had suffered a period of neglect allowing water penetration into the structure with consequential extensive fungal decay to structural timbers. Decayed timbers were identified, the extent of decay plotted for individual timbers and recommendations were made for the extent of repair to the timbers. Mortar sampling was used to measure accurately the levels of free moisture and hygroscopic salts in the masonry to distinguish between rising and penetrating dampness. Saturated masonry will need to be dried out by accelerated drying before all repairs can be completed.


Roof Timbers, St David’s Roman Catholic Church in Swansea 

St David’s Roman Catholic Church in Swansea had an extensive dry rot outbreak to the roof timbers. A fixed scaffold was required to gain access to the high level timbers. It was found that the purlin ends in the gable wall were structurally decayed along with a number of large hidden bonding timbers (see photograph below) in the masonry which were found by thermal imaging. The decay was the result of roof defects which will be repaired as a priority. Hidden metal plates will be used to repair the ends of the timbers.  No chemical treatments were required.


Dry Rot in Bonding Timber


Resistograph Inspection

We also did a non-building survey of an old chestnut tree in Cricklade church yard using our Resistograph decay detection drill. The tree was approximately 1m in diameter at 500mm from the base. The Resistograph has a 500mm long drill and the tree was drilled from both sides to get a cross section through the tree. There was a large bracket fungus Ganoderma applanatum on the south side of the tree at the base (see photograph below) which indicated that the tree was likely to be structurally damaged. The drillings plotted the extent of decay which was forwarded to the tree surgeon to decide on the future of the tree. 


Ganoderma applanatum at the base of the Chestnut Tree


Legal Cases

EBS Ltd has also been involved in a number of potential legal cases and appraisal of the effects of mould on the occupants in new builds. This was associated with water penetration during and post construction leading to saturation of Gyproc plaster board where the paper lining is particularly prone to toxic mould growth. We will revisit these when the lockdown has been lifted.


Pesticide Free Management of Dry Rot & Decay

EBS Ltd environmental philosophy & non-destructive inspection, instrumentation and Resistograph technology together with chemical and pesticide free management of dry rot and decay have saved destruction to the historic fabric and successfully preserved the historic timbers in buildings such as British Museum, Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, Christ Church Oxford, Canterbury Cathedral, Hampton Court palace, Windsor Castle, Dover Castle, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.


Copyright: Environmental Building Solutions Ltd April 2020