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Royal William Yard, Plymouth – Ancient Scheduled Monument

Apr 17, 2013

During a period of more than 10 years, EBS conducted a detailed diagnostic, non-destructive, environmental inspection of the Brewhouse, Slaughter House, Stone House, Mills Bakery and all the other buildings at Royal William Yard, Plymouth. 

This was commissioned to assess condensation, damp, residual moisture, hygroscopic moisture, mould, dry rot, wet rot infestation, to carryout timber stress grading and environmental monitoring.

The investigations included;

  • Identifying moisture sources, reservoirs and sinks
  • Non-destructive decay detection with Resistograph microbore drilling
  • Dry rot (Serpula lacrymans) and wet rots infestation and decay
  • Recommendations for chemical free treatments
  • Recommendations for conservation timber repairs and environmentally sustainable holistic solutions for prevention of decay
  • Stress grading of timbers
  • Identification and viability tests for toxic moulds
  • Monitoring and assessing damp, residual moisture and environmental factors leading to mould growth and infestation
  • Spot and continuous environmental monitoring
  • Monitoring and assessing mould colonies
  • Compliance with health and safety guidelines proposed by WHO
  • Stabilisation of the indoor environment
  • Monitoring and assessing the level of microbial contamination
  • Environmental monitoring and multidisciplinary approach for holistic conservation solutions

As the buildings had been empty for a period, considerable damage had been caused by water penetration. There was an obligation, as the buildings were listed, to prevent further damage and stabilise the structures and internal environments before further irreversible damage occurred. At the outset it was not known how long the buildings would remain empty; therefore the buildings were mothballed to prevent further deterioration. This ensured that the structures were in the best condition before eventually the buildings were handed over to a developer for conversion into private apartments and commercial use.


This approach of mothballing the building prior to conversion saved considerable time and expense for the developer and saved the maximum amount of historic fabric and finishes.