AUSTIN WINKLEY & ASSOCIATES
Architecture Project Management
|Water ingress - information on water ingress into buildings
Austin Winkley &
Associates has particular skills in the assessment of water ingress into
buildings. This interest dates from the late 1970s when Austin
Winkley wrote his conservation thesis on the topic of rainwater and how
it is controlled in historic buildings.
The proper upkeep of rainwater goods (gutters, downpipes, gullies and suchlike) is a vital and often overlooked aspect of the care of existing buildings. Many historic buildings have inherent problems in the design of their rainwater disposal systems, exacerbated in many cases because they are not easily accessible for clearing or repair on a regular basis.
We have extensive experience not only of diagnosing the causes of water ingress into buildings and the building fabric, but of proposing and carrying out creative and discrete alterations to ensure that the risks of water ingress are minimised. Our project at St Giles' Church Camberwell is an example of this, where water ingress into the valley gutters had caused repeated outbreaks of dry rot in the roof timbers. The valley gutters were virtually impossible for the parish to keep clear of leaves and blockage from the surrounding trees, due to the height of the building (it is cathedral-like in scale).
Our strategy was to reduce to a minimum the risk of blockages by applying eight simultaneous measures, such that if one or two of them failed, the others would continue to protect the building. This approach may seem excessive, but only if one forgets the timescale over which these sorts of buildings need to be cared for - a timescale which extends to multiples of 50 years. (Many of the problems of historic buildings arise from an application of an investment mind-set more appropriate to shorter-lived buildings.) These measures were:
Every element of the works had to be carefully designed in order to ensure that the aim of safeguarding the fabric of this important 1844 Grade II* listed building, which Pevsner credits as being Scott's "first essay in the Gothic style".
This work was generously funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.