Damp, Masonry Decay and Sustainability Conference
During autumn 2020, we hosted a virtual conference on moisture in masonry buildings. Moisture is a key factor in almost all forms of decay, and it increases heat loss from building fabric. However, identifying its source can be complicated as water is so mobile. It can condense from humid air onto cold surfaces and it can spread through a structure by capillary action and gravity.
Understanding these mechanisms and their consequences is vital, particularly now that we are increasing insulation in historic buildings and restricting ventilation. Getting it wrong can be disastrous.
In this conference, leading conservation specialists discussed the science of moisture movement and the impact of climate change on buildings as well as the latest research from Historic England.
The conference presentations
You can listen to recordings of the conference presentations by clicking on the links below. These presentations will be of interest to building conservation professionals including conservation officers, architects and surveyors.
Rising damp? The science of how moisture moves through a building and its fabric, and why misdiagnosis is rife
View 'Rising damp? The science of how moisture moves through a building and its fabric, and why misdiagnosis is rife'. Presented by Robyn Pender, Historic England.
Dr Robyn Pender is a buildings physicist and a senior building conservation advisor in Historic England's Building Conservation Team. She was an author and principle editor of the Building Environment volume in the Practical Building Conservation series. Robyn advises on all aspects of building performance, and is currently leading Historic England research into flood resilience.
Climate change adaptation: Traditional details for shedding rainwater and the role of historic renders and finishes
View 'Climate change adaptation: Traditional details for shedding rainwater and the role of historic renders and finishes'. Presented by Roger Curtis, Historic Environment Scotland.
Roger Curtis is a chartered building surveyor and the Technical Research Manager at Historic Environment Scotland. His team looks at a wide range of issues affecting the traditionally built environment, and is currently focusing on energy efficiency of the pre-1919 housing stock in Scotland and climate change adaptation measures.
Damp measurement and monitoring: the non-destructive investigation and modelling of moisture in masonry walls
View 'Damp measurement and monitoring: the non-destructive investigation and modelling of moisture in masonry walls'. Presented by Tim Floyd, FloydConsult.
Tim Floyd is a chartered building surveyor and architectural materials scientist, specialising in the scientific assessment of historic buildings and their environments. He is experienced in using a range of techniques to assess how the building envelope and its internal environment are affected by moisture.
The need for old buildings to sweat: the role of lime mortars and coatings in dissipating moisture
View 'The need for old buildings to sweat: the role of lime mortars and coatings in dissipating moisture'. Presented by Alison Henry, Historic England.
Alison Henry is Head of Building Conservation and Geospatial Survey at Historic England. She has a special interest in masonry, mortars and earthen materials, and leads Historic England’s research into these materials. She co-edited and contributed to the Historic England Practical Building Conservation series volume on Mortars, Renders & Plasters.
Damp Towers Project update: Options for reducing damp penetration in solid masonry walls in exposed locations.
View 'Damp Towers Project update: Options for reducing damp penetration in solid masonry walls in exposed locations'. Presented by Nicki Lauder, Historic England.
Nicki Lauder is a RICS conservation-accredited building surveyor and former SPAB Technical Secretary. She has worked for Historic England since 1997, but is a recent addition to the Building Conservation Team, where she contributes to research and guidance on dealing with damp.
Solid wall insulation: Assessing and mitigating the risk of moisture accumulation from retrofit
View 'Solid wall insulation: Assessing and mitigating the risk of moisture accumulation from retrofit'. Presented by Soki Rhee-Duverne Historic England.
Soki Rhee-Duverne is a building conservation advisor in the Building Conservation Team at Historic England, managing research projects on energy efficiency and the hygrothermal performance of historic buildings, particularly in relation to technical risks from moisture, and assessment of moisture in building materials.
Moisture movement beneath solid floors: research into the effect of floor slab material on soil moisture and damp in walls
View 'Moisture movement beneath solid floors: research into the effect of floor slab material on soil moisture and damp in walls'. Presented by Kevin Briggs, University of Bath.
Kevin Briggs is a chartered engineer and senior research fellow in geotechnical engineering in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath. His research focusses on the transport infrastructure earthworks (embankments & cuttings), and includes field and laboratory investigations into the properties and behaviour of natural soils and engineered fills. He is leading Historic England’s research into the movement of moisture beneath solid ground-bearing floor slabs.
The Bath Abbey project: an overview of the scheme, its heat source, and the practicalities of adapting a Grade I listed abbey.
View 'The Bath Abbey project: an overview of the scheme, its heat source, and the practicalities of adapting a Grade I listed abbey'. Presented by Alex Morris, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
Alex Morris is an associate at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios LLP. An architect with over 25 years’ experience delivering a wide variety of projects, Alex has led design teams on a series of listed buildings and creative reuse projects, and he is currently leading the £20m conservation and refurbishment project for Bath Abbey, ‘The Footprint Project’.
Other conference resources
This is the first of two virtual conferences organised by Historic England and the IHBC’s South West branch. The second, held in May 2021, focussed on timber timber structures.
You can also view recordings of the presentations from the Damp, timber decay and sustainability conference.