There are several areas within the make-up of a typical timber-framed building that should be regularly monitored to prevent deterioration, lateral or vertical movement or eventual collapse of elements within the construction.
Apart from the general annual checks for problems with roof weathering, guttering and down-pipe defects, checks should be made on the general surface condition of any exposed timbers, infill panel perimeter weathering, open shakes within the timbers, general soundness of joints and levels of adjacent ground.
Several areas of common defect could be avoided by quick and regular monitoring of the external elevations. A customised scheduled inspection check list would assist in this.
Internally, evidence of beetle activity can often be found at beam ends where they are built into masonry. Recent flight holes can be identified by sideways torchlight which will show any ‘lighter’ internal colour. Activity could also be checked by applying rice paper over any suspect area.
It has to be considered that chemical treatment to timbers can leave a surface residue, which could be a safety consideration for young children and it may kill off the natural beetle predators – the house spider!
External evidence of timber deterioration is not always immediately obvious due to a hard-external veneer of deteriorating sections, but outward or vertical movement of panel infill materials or external render covering can indicate frame problems.
Most areas can be inspected for potential defects without physical ‘opening-up’ of external historic fabric.
Should you have concerns or identify deterioration within your timber frame then you should seek advice to determine the extent of any problem, without expensive and often unnecessary opening-up and destroying building fabric.
Decadet Surveys – www.decadet.co.uk – 07836 745620
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