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Conference and seminar papers

The Heritage Branch runs occasional conferences and seminars covering a variety of topics relevant to heritage issues. Papers presented are linked to this page as they become available. To view and download the linked documents click on the title of the paper. (You will first need to install the free Acrobat Reader.)

You may download and copy the papers presented at the seminars for non-profit purposes, provided you copy all of it and you do not make any changes or additions. Papers may be quoted with appropriate attribution to the author and the Heritage Branch.

Keeping up appearances 2002

A workshop on cleaning external masonry was presented in August 2002 by the Heritage Branch with the Technical Advisory Group and the National Trust of Australia (NSW). The workshop presented up-to-date information on cleaning methods currently available and also balanced the theory with industry involvement.

Annotated Bibliography (tagbibliography.pdf, 12KB) - guidance on the major works on cleaning techniques.

Material evidence 2000

Material Evidence; Conserving Historic Building Fabric was held at Tusculum in Sydney and organised by the Technical Advisory Group of the Heritage Council of NSW and the Heritage Branch in association with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. This two-day seminar examined technical issues concerning the practical conservation of historic buildings. Sessions included the stabilisation of heritage buildings, the conservation of materials such as concrete, an update on recent assessment and practice methods for stone and timber conservation, and the particular problems associated with conservation of significant flooring and roofing. The seminar included a site visit to St Mary's Cathedral to see the new conservation works in progress.

Keynote address Nicola Ashurst - The Expression of our Heritage (ashurst.pdf, 34KB)

Session 1: Structural issues

This session examines two structural issues commonly faced by practitioners in NSW. Many historic buildings in NSW, particularly in rural areas are constructed on reactive clays. A building's ability to accommodate movement is dependent on a number of factors including the materials and construction methods. There is increasing concern on how buildings accommodate potential earthquake threats and a number of key conservation projects have, in recent times, included structural upgrading to accommodate this risk. This session looks at the way traditional buildings function in the light of these environmental factors and suggests means of managing the risks and mitigating repair after damage has occurred.

  • Bill Jordan - Stablising heritage buildings on reactive clays - dealing with conflicting requirements
  • Bill Higgins - Seismic stabilisation of heritage buildings

Session 2: New heritage materials - concrete and metal frame windows

The recognition and protection of places of the more recent past as heritage items raises some interesting issues relating to their practical conservation. The use of innovative new materials and construction methods that broke from traditional tried and tested methods raises some difficult problems when it comes to their conservation. There is little specific research into the development of modern materials and construction techniques used in Australia, and as yet practitioners have limited experience in dealing with the conservation problems. Repair methods developed to address material and system failures do not always align well with typical conservation aims and are yet to be challenged to fulfill demand for the retention of original fabric.

This session examines two issues that are increasingly coming to the fore: concrete - one of the most widely used materials of the twentieth century, and metal frame windows. Both papers introduce the materials and provide some understanding of the way in which they deteriorate, outlining the repair options.

Session 3: Stone

This session looks at methods for analysing the deterioration of stone, and how these inform the subsequent repair and cleaning of historic stonework. Stone selection, cleaning and repointing are examined in detail with reference to recent methods.

Session 4: Timber repair

This session addresses the three key concerns regarding the conservation of timber buildings. In particular, termites are the subject of a lot of myth and misunderstanding and the issue of how termites behave and how heritage structures may be managed in regard to termites will be addressed.

Session 5: Flooring

There is little specific information available on the conservation of common historic flooring. This session examines two common materials in detail and provides information on conservation techniques that minimise the loss of original fabric. The recent works at St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney provide an overview of the complex issues that are sometimes encountered when addressing the repair of historic flooring systems.

Session 6: Roofing

This session provides information on common roofing systems used for many heritage buildings. Corrugated roofing is frequently replaced rather than repaired and the conservation options for this roofing type will be examined in detail. The slate roofing industry is internationally undergoing major change due to the rapidly expanding international trade in different materials from around the world. This is having a marked effect on traditional roofs in terms of the techniques and resulting appearances of the roofs. There is little information on the more recently introduced products in Australia, some of which are proving problematic. The practioner's view highlights the practical issues relating to the repair and re-roofing of heritage buildings

Page last updated: 01 September 2012