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Decay detection has historically been a problem for Surveyors, Engineers, Contractors and owners alike.
Usually any render, plaster finish or panel in-fill has to be opened up to investigate possible deterioration of the structure. This is not always desirable or possible due to the historic nature of the building or because it is sometimes difficult to secure instructions due to any possible change of ownership of the property.
Often, timbers are tested with the use of a simple sharp probe to a minimum depth for testing strength. In ancient buildings, whilst this type of testing is often useful as a guide, it is seldom possible to rely solely on calculated stresses, as with age and decay the nature and strength of timbers vary considerably. This gradual deterioration is often hidden from the experienced eye by a hard external 'veneer' of timber.

New techniques have been developed which enable the structural integrity of the timbers to be tested throughout their cross-section with minimal damage to the surface finish. Rapid penetration of timber sections with an instantaneous digital readout gives all the details of the internal density to analyse the structural integrity.

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