Detailed surveys building survey or fabric survey

Detailed surveys are normally undertaken when the condition of a site is not well understood, for example where maintenance records do not exist, or

Table 3.2 Example of the content of a detailed condition survey report

1.0 Report Summary

1.1 Schedule of the Structures included in the Survey

1.2 Description of the Structures

1.3 Construction and Materials

1.4 Inaccessible Parts

1.5 Summary of General Condition

1.6 Recommendations for Further Investigation

1.7 Recommendations for Further Specialist Advice

2.0 Description of Defects - Structures

2.1 Masonry Walls

2.2 Floors

2.3 Surfaces Finishes

2.4 Protective Structures/Coverings

2.5 Past Repairs

3.0 Description of Defects - The Site

3.1 Landscape

3.2 Invasive Plant Growth

3.3 Site Drainage

3.4 Visitor Impact

4.0 Description of Defects - Services

4.1 Electrical Supplies and Fixed Installations

4.2 Fuel Supplies and Heating Installations

5.0 Recommendations

5.1 For Immediate Action

5.2 For Completion within Two Years

5.3 For Completion within Five Years

5.4 For Completion within Ten Years

5.5 Monitoring Work

5.6 Adequacy of Routine Maintenance


1 Schedule of Defects

2 Photographs

3 Survey Drawings

4 Preliminary Specifications where they are vague or incomplete. Alternatively they are used where a comprehensive programme of conservation and repair is planned.

Detailed surveys are commonly referred to as building surveys, building fabric condition surveys or fabric surveys, and consist of a detailed visual inspection of all elements of building fabric and frequently its surrounding site. Comprehensive surveys can also be described as a 'stone-by-stone' inspection, indicating that a high level of detail is required. Since this type of survey is intended to be comprehensive in nature, it is normally based on close inspection using either scaffolding or aerial access platforms (mobile elevated work platforms). The survey document would normally include a descriptive account of the condition, the principal defects and their causes, and a detailed schedule or tabulated record of individual defects with recommendations for repair. The typical report content for a detailed building fabric survey is shown in Figure 3.2. This, of course, would be adapted to suit the monument and its site and the survey objectives. A more detailed account of the schedule of defects is included later in this chapter.

Detailed condition surveys will aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the condition of the ruin, but they can also include further optional work, which may be deemed necessary to provide a comprehensive understanding and to meet client requirements.

Examples of optional work include:

• Tabulated record of all defects, including proposals for repair and conservation.

• Invasive site investigation involving removal of stones, mortar joints, etc.

• Non-destructive investigation, possibly including scanning to detect the presence of iron cramps, thermal imaging to map the pattern/path of water ingress, or ground penetrating radar used in some instances to detect subsurface voids, for example hypocaust systems.

• Camera survey and testing of drainage.

• Electrical testing of appliances, for example site lighting, etc.

• Material sampling, for example mortar analysis, petrographic analysis of stone types.

• Production of record drawings. Record drawings are a very useful resource to assist in understanding the condition of the monument, to aid interpretation, and to record the location and extent of defects.

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