Sustainable solutions for our
built heritage

Tuesday 22 February

Representatives of Historic England and the British Geological Survey, together with heritage consultants, explore the key role natural stone and digital technology play in delivering sustainable solutions for the built heritage. Subjects covered include an update on ‘The Building Stone Database for England’, the challenges of sourcing suitable stone for conservation, and the benefits of digital tools and communication technologies.

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Sessions included:

  1. New stone used to repair or replace decayed or damaged stone should be geologically compatible with the existing stone in order to minimise the risk of a poor outcome (including exacerbated stone decay).  This presentation will demonstrate some of the issues that can arise from incompatibility between the ‘original’ and replacement stones, before outlining the process – known as stone matching – that should be followed when seeking a replacement stone with which to effect repairs.  Use of the right replacement stone not only benefits the building or structure being repaired, but is also the most cost-effective and sustainable solution. 
  2. Working with the British Geological Survey, geologists and historic building professionals, the Strategic Stone Study project aims to identify the indigenous building stones and their sources used in England’s built heritage. This information will help mineral planners to identify and investigate potential safeguarding areas and conservation professionals to source suitable stone for the repair of historic buildings and new build. In 2022 this mammoth project will be completed to create the Building Stone Database for England. This presentation will outline the project and showcase the database. 
  3. With the increasing demand for quality repair and maintenance in the historic built environment, impeded by the problem of skills shortages and the move to a low-carbon economy,  investment in new technologies and innovative processes becomes paramount for modernising practice and training. 

    This presentation focuses on the pace of technological change and considers the role the uptake of digital technologies (such as laser scanning, thermal imaging and cloud-computing) will play in providing support to specialist SMEs in delivering high-quality repair and maintenance of historic buildings, raising project productivity and performance, whilst also provide organisational benefits and advantages. The presentation provides a 'snapshot' of several demonstration projects, where SMEs have incorporated data capture, visualisation and communication technologies into their existing processes and practice. 

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    Simon Boocock
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