Methodology

It is good practice to develop and use a standard approach to condition survey. For example, carry out the inspection from left to right, working across the elevation in horizontal bands. Horizontal bands are ideally two metres high to match the standard height of access scaffolding, but this is frequently difficult to achieve when working from aerial access platforms or with ground-level access. In these instances use horizontal architectural lines, such as string courses, window sills and heads to define horizontal bands (see Figure 3.16). To assist with identifying the location of defects, vertical grid lines should be superimposed onto the elevation. Again, these can follow vertical architectural features such as columns, piers, buttresses or window and door openings. On long monolithic wall elevations which are devoid of architectural features, for example rubble stone walls, this is challenging and can only be practically achieved by dropping string lines down the fa├žade at predetermined intervals, for example at two-metre centres.

When surveying wall heads the same approach should be used but the vertical face of the wall head should be inspected at the same time, at least to a one-metre zone to assess the condition. Decay of wall heads is seldom limited to the horizontal surface. It is important to survey the sky surface and both vertical faces. It is often useful to inspect the complete wall head with both vertical faces at an early stage, since this will build understanding of overall conditions and provide insight into decay patterns further down the wall face.

Survey of low-lying wall remains is undertaken in a similar way, working systematically along the wall, but the much lower vertical height can often be covered in one pass.

Survey of floors is undertaken following the same discipline of working from left to right and top to bottom. Start in the top left-hand corner and work in bands across the floor. Floors allow greater flexibility since you can superimpose a grid line across the floor using either orange string or survey ranging poles carefully laid onto the floor surface.

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