Without your involvement, we would not have been able to achieve the fantastic end result that we have – and that which has been remarked upon by all who have visited the site.

Paul Wass, building surveyor, Dogs Trust

Oak frame maintenance and repair

To keep a building in continuous use, or to keep it from decaying, some kind of intervention – one-off or regular – is needed.

The skills to preserve a building as it is now

Older buildings need care – and preventative oak frame maintenance can save the need for more destructive repairs down the line.

oak frame maintenance princes mano barnOak frame maintenance

To keep a building from decay, some form of preventative and protective maintenance is required. This could be with a fairly new building, or with an ancient building which has undergone conservation or restoration. Again, the minimum should be done in terms of replacing the fabric of the building, with the goal of extending the building’s life.

hand tool shavingsOak frame repair

Although the term repair is used to mean fix, in conservation terms it more accurately describes a form of restoration or reconstruction – though perhaps not always to the whole building. It’s typically returning an oak frame, or part of an oak frame, back to a previously known state. With or without the introduction of new materials.

conservation oak frame barnHonest repairs that become part of a building’s story

It’s an important principle of conservation that one should be able to distinguish between additions to a building and the original building itself – what we call an honest repair. Such repairs become a clear part of the timber frame’s story, so that future generations can understand the changes made and differentiate between those and the building’s original fabric.

conservation oak frame barnRespecting a building’s cultural significance

Whether a change to a timber frame, or an overall building, alters its cultural significance is a key part in the decision making process for which repair or an oak frame maintenance approach is adopted. Typically, change that is needed to retain a building’s cultural significance is acceptable. If a change reduces a building’s cultural significance, it should always be reversible.

Ensuring that changes are reversible

Where possible, changes should be reversible at a later date. This allows the possibility of an improved technique being used, should one become available – or the removal of the change if required. This isn’t always possible, but it’s always a clear objective.

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