Building conservation masterclass

Structural Repair of Historic Buildings with Ian Hume

Ref: B3D09122

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About this course

This course is of special value to those who wish to gain a new perspective in applying engineering principles to the conservation of historic structures.

Various permanent repair methods which might be applied to historic buildings are discussed and there will be debate about the merits of hidden repairs as against more obvious repairs. Not all historic buildings are as hazardous as they sometimes seem and we will discuss alternatives to the carrying out of repairs to apparently unstable structures.

The programme covers inspecting, monitoring and repair works ranging from pointing and grouting to tying and underpinning. It also includes practical exercises, demonstrations and trials of equipment and remedial monitoring techniques. Use will be made of case studies to illustrate various points, discussion from the floor will be encouraged and there will be opportunity for discussion in small groups to consider specific problems. There will also be a visit to the Weald and Downland Living Museum.

The course will be of value to architects, conservation officers, masons, carpenters and others involved in conservation, as well as to engineers.

Course Description

Day 1

Introduction to the course; who we are and what we do; philosophy of conservation; Discussion point 1: What is conservation? Reporting back

Day 2

Understanding your building

The inspection of historic buildings, understanding the structure, what does its history say to you?

Discussion point 2: The old library; Reporting back; The basics of structural behaviour

The 'do nothing' option; ways of avoiding intervention

Monitoring equipment and methods; Load testing; Floor loadings

Visit to the Weald and Downland Living Museum

Looking at timber repairs

Beginning to do something

Scaffolding and temporary works; Discussion point 3: Thinking through the processes; Reporting back; French drains

Evening Discussion of students' problem cases

Day 3

The 'do nothing' option

Masonry repairs; Ties and anchors; Discussion point 4: Strengthening timber beams; Reporting back; Timber beam strengthening and repairs

Visit to the Engine Shed

The 'don't do very much' option

Pointing and grouting; Looking at more timber repairs; A look at repairs for metal

Minor intervention case studies

Evening Discussion of students' problem cases.

Day 4

A miscellany of thoughts

The structural aspects of service installations; Cantilever stairs; Traffic vibrations; The effects of climate change on structures; Boundary walls; Jacking structures; Moving structures;

Conservation of modern movement buildings; Limecrete

Visit to the Ruinette

The major intervention option

Two conservation schemes at Ironbridge; Underpinning; Case studies

The major intervention option

Case studies

The value of accreditation


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • The informal evening sessions provide an opportunity for participants to present a structural problem for group discussion. Please come prepared with a case you would like to present; pictures/slides and/or drawings would be useful.


Ian Hume

Ian Hume - BCM Course Leader

Ian is a former Chief Engineer with English Heritage. He is a visiting lecturer on a number of university postgraduate conservation courses and runs seminars on the structural aspects of conservation. He has published a number of papers and articles.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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