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Taking care of our historic buildings

November 12th, 2013

Quadriga Ltd explains how the UK’s historic buildings can be restored to their former glory and saved from decay using a variety of tried and tested techniques.

The UK is famed for its architectural beauty, with many stunning historic buildings to be found across the country.

From castles and churches to the listed buildings that make our cities such attractive places to visit, it is important to make sure all of these remain structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing so that they can be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.

The combination of speed and care required for these tasks is something  Quadriga Ltd has perfected over two decades of building restoration work.

Restoring a building

No two restoration projects will ever be entirely the same, as the team must react to whatever they find during their initial inspection of the site.

Deterioration occurs differently in certain materials. Many older structures are built at least partly from timber, which requires a different approach to stone or brickwork.

Cleaning is an important early stage in the restoration of a building, as apart from the aesthetic advantages it also helps to reveal any structural defects that require attention.

A variety of techniques can then be applied to reinforce and preserve the structure. Preservation treatment may be added to slow down further decay, and in the case of wood can ward off weevils and other pests.

Each structure is dealt with differently, so it may be that in situ repairs are possible using specially created mortars, or reinforcing plates can be added. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to replace the original part of the building with a new piece of material.

Wherever work is carried out, it is important that care is taken to ensure repairs are not obvious to the observer. A key aim of restoration is to return the building to its original grandeur.

Time is of the essence

Many historic buildings are popular tourist attractions, so it is important to minimise disruption and carry out restoration work in such a way that the day-to-day running of the structure is not disturbed too greatly.

It is possible to allow the facility to continue as normal while carrying out some techniques, while in others a plan may need to be devised so that the owners can prepare in advance for a short closure.

Even in cases where visitors are not permitted, it is sometimes possible for any staff working at these buildings to maintain their daily routine while work is ongoing.

In a country where preserving our heritage is valued so highly, keeping our grandest buildings looking at their best alongside more modern creations is vital to our architectural history.

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