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Defects and Deterioration in Buildings 2nd Edition by Barry A.Richardson | PDF Free Download.
Preparing the second edition of a technical book is always interesting because the alterations that are necessary indicate the amount of progress that has been made since the preparation of the first edition.
However, with this book there seem to have been few significant technical developments since I wrote the first edition about 10 years ago and alterations are now necessary mainly for other reasons, particularly changes in regulations and standards, although I am also pleased that I have been able to introduce several improvements and simplifications in the methods used to diagnose defects and deterioration in buildings.
I have also expanded some of the scientific explanations as I understand from users of the first edition that they have found these interesting and helpful.
Developments tend to be discouraged today by the restrictions imposed on new materials, particularly on those which are considered to be chemicals, such as paints and preservatives.
Manufacturers cannot afford the health and environmental assessments that are required before a product can be offered on the market and, as a result, very few new products are now being introduced which require these assessments.
Many manufacturers concentrate instead on political campaigns to extend the life of existing products.
The effect of extreme regulation is, therefore, to discourage the development of new safer products and to extend the life of existing products, although they may not meet current health and environmental requirements.
As a scientist with 40 years’ experience in the development and evaluation of new construction materials, I find that these current requirements almost always frustrate any genuine attempts to develop improved and safer materials.
In one sense this system has an advantage, as it ensures that we are using materials that are well established and well understood, but in the United Kingdom subject to both national and European restrictions
We can see our construction industry stagnating whilst there are rapid and exciting changes in many other countries who are not subject to such requirements or who choose to ignore them.
When I worked first as a construction scientist we were encouraged to support the concept of international standard and approval schemes which would allow the transfer of products across national borders free from unnecessary technical restriction
But today it is clear that the critical word in this phrase is unnecessary, as many countries have considered it necessary to introduce new national requirements additional to those now established internationally
So that the effect has been to complicate rather than simplify, apparently to achieve bureaucratic satisfaction rather than to improve efficiency or safety.
I do not object to new regulations that improve safety, but is there any need for any other type of regulation?
If controls are necessary they should be performance requirements, leaving complete freedom for the development of products and systems which will best meet both regulations and market requirements, as this is the way to encourage the development of improved and safer products.
Whilst this book is not concerned directly with materials or products, it considers defects and deterioration which can be avoided in many cases by new developments.
Let us hope that improvements will be encouraged in the future and that the need for books of this type will diminish, except perhaps in relation to old buildings.
Unfortunately, it is my experience that history repeats itself and a problem eliminated many years ago will become a new problem tomorrow.
For this reason, I believe that this book will always be useful in assisting the diagnosis of defects and deterioration in buildings.
My family first became involved in building defects and deterioration many years ago when my father, Stanley Richardson, a pharmaceutical chemist in Winchester, was asked whether he could ‘dispense’ a rather strange ‘prescription’.
The formulation was a mixture of paradichlorobenzene, soft soap, and cedarwood oil which had been developed by Professor Lefroy of Imperial College in London, and it was required in large quantities for the application using French vineyard sprayers to the roof timbers in Winchester Cathedral to control Death Watch beetle infestation.
My father warned the contractor purchasing the formulation of the dangers of paradichlorobenzene but he seemed unperturbed; he died several months later, apparently as a result of exposure to this volatile and dangerous chemical.
The architect to Winchester Cathedral was keen to continue the Death Watch beetle eradication work and asked my father whether he could develop a reliable and safer treatment.
Following a detailed study of the Death Watch beetle, my father developed a formulation based on color naphthalene wax and ortho dichlorobenzene in trichloroethylene solvent; ortho dichlorobenzene was considerably safer than paradichlorobenzene but it was later replaced by the insecticide rotenone
A natural extract of derris and a large part of the trichloroethylene solvent was replaced by a kerosene solvent known as petroleum distillate in order to reduce the anesthetic effect of the formulation.
As the formulation was designed to eradicate Anobid beetles, it was originally named Anobol when it was first introduced in 1934 but it was subsequently renamed Wykamol after William of Wykeham, the Bishop who was responsible for so much of the restoration and reconstruction of Winchester Cathedral in which the treatment was first used.
The operatives applying the treatment were equipped with respirators which gave them a rather sinister appearance and the photogenic nature of the treatment in Winchester Cathedral soon attracted the attention of the national press.
The publicity resulted in inquiries from all over Britain, and in July 1935 Richardson & Starling Limited was formed to manufacture the treatment product.
It was soon realized that the Death Watch beetle is rather selective in the buildings that it infests as it needs hardwoods such as oak, which are infected to a limited extent by fungal decay, whereas the Common Furniture beetle occurs more widely as it also infests dry furniture and softwood structural timbers.
However, fungal decay appeared to present even more severe problems, the ultimate cause of the fungal infections being dampness. Chemical products were developed which could greatly assist in remedying these problems, but chemical treatments alone were insufficient.
The affected buildings needed to be inspected, the deteriorating organisms identified and the ultimate problems diagnosed.
In theory, architects and building surveyors should undertake such tasks but few of them had sufficient knowledge and experience, and most of them lacked enthusiasm for such a specialist task.
Inspections needed to be reported and remedial treatment specifications prepared to enable contractors to carry out the works, but few building contractors were actually keen to take responsibility for exposure works or to apply chemicals with which they were unfamiliar.
Clearly the supply of treatment chemicals was insufficient and integrated manufacturing, inspecting, reporting, and contracting service was required, with property owners and their architects or surveyors able to select the services necessary for their particular requirements.
I was very young when I first became involved in these activities, accompanying my father on visits to buildings that were being inspected or treated, but later I worked as a treatment operative during school and university holidays.
Eventually, I progressed to the company laboratory and finally became the Research and Technical Service Manager.
Although my laboratory was concerned with research and development into new and improved products, as well as providing quality control, safety, and other routine services to the manufacturing and contracting operations, we also provided the company building inspectors, sales representatives, and customers with technical service.
Obviously there were few inquiries involving the normal products and services supplied by the company and most of the inquiries were concerned with unusual problems.
A typical inquiry might involve identifying an insect or fungus, and reporting upon the damage that it might cause and its probable origin, but many inquiries concerned problems on-site, such as diagnosing the cause of dampness or stone deterioration, problems that were often solved relatively easily through the combination of scientific knowledge of structural materials and practical experience as an operative working in buildings.
In 1965 I left Richardson & Starling Limited to become a consulting scientist specializing in the deterioration and preservation of structural materials.
Initially, most of the work of the practice was concerned with research and development for the chemical industry on new and improved structural material treatments but there was always a significant amount of investigative work involving site inspections and laboratory examination of samples for clients requiring advice on difficult problems or assistance with civil or criminal litigation resulting from defects in buildings.
In 1968 the practice moved to Penarth House near Winchester and became Penarth Research Centre which was operated from 1973 by Penarth Research Limited.
The overseas activities expanded steadily and Penarth Research International Limited was formed in 1979 in Guernsey to handle these activities, as well as to provide marine testing facilities.
The economic recession from 1980 onwards severely reduced the volume of routine industrial research and development work, and Penarth Research Centre was closed in 1985 when the site was required for a road scheme, although PRIL continues to operate in Guernsey where one of its best-known activities is the organization of an annual conference on building defects and failures which attracts delegates from all parts of the British Isles.
Over the years my own activities had also changed and I had become mainly involved in expert witness work in connection with claims and litigation, as well as arbitration in disputes where the parties require a technically knowledgeable arbitrator.
These activities are more appropriate to private practice and I now practice again in my own name as I did when I first became a consulting scientist in 1965, although I remain a director and consultant to Penarth Research International Limited through which I am still involved in industrial and overseas work.
This broad range of activities is important, feeding me continuously with additional knowledge and experience. My investigations are not confined to problems arising on site but often involve defects in the manufacture of structural materials.
I am sometimes accused of seeing problems wherever I look because, it is suggested, I am only involved in investigating defects and failures.
In fact, I continue to be involved in industrial research and development work, and in routine advisory work on the testing and selection of materials
But the importance of expert witness work lies in the thoroughness with which investigations are made, sometimes disclosing unexpected problems, perhaps prompting research and development work, or changes in regulations and advisory literature in order to avoid such problems in the future.
Friends will often say that they envy me the travel involved in my work, simply because they have heard that I have visited an interesting or exotic place.
Travel is actually the most tedious feature of my work but it is fully compensated by the many interesting people that I meet and challenging problems that I encounter.
For many years I have lectured to students, presented papers at conferences, and spoken to surveyors at their branch meetings, hopefully helping them to avoid the problems that I have been required to investigate but also encouraging them to attempt their own investigations.
My book Remedial Treatment of Buildings was published in 1980 in an attempt to provide architects and surveyors with information on wood treatment
Damp-proofing, masonry treatment, and thermal insulation which would enable them to make their own inspections and prepare their own reports
But it immediately became apparent that a further book was necessary covering a wider range of building problems and concentrating particularly on the diagnosis.
This book is the result. I have tried to make it interesting by including descriptions of actual investigations rather than concentrating on theory alone, and by covering buildings of all ages and types.
Whilst this book is intended to assist architects, surveyors, and engineers in their normal work, it will be appreciated that the discovery of defects or deterioration is often the first stage in a process starting with a complaint and perhaps leading to a claim and a dispute that may be resolved only by arbitration or litigation.
This book may, therefore, be equally useful to lawyers and arbitrators, and includes comments where appropriate on case law on liability.
Unfortunately, the persons least likely to read this book are those who are overconfident or not particularly conscientious or competent, the persons who are the cause of most of the defects that I investigate.
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