Heritage Impact Assessments: Assess, Restore and Protect Aging VIC Structures & Buildings

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When considering larger scale repair, renovation or redesign of the heritage building fabric, as part of our heritage planning and building consultancy services, we offer thorough investigation and reporting including, but not limited to;

  • Heritage Building Assessments and Condition Reports,
  • Heritage Impact Statements,
  • Structural Engineering,
  • Cultural Heritage Management Plans and,
  • Archaeological Investigations Services.

As a full-circle service approach, our tri-phase restoration platform basis of ASSESS – RESTORE – PROTECT, we endeavour to provide our clients with a complete service that ensure accurate and transparent pricing, excellent service delivered by experienced and industry-recognised specialised staff and a well-maintained building envelope long into the future.

Classical Architecture: The Dentil

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Newly restored, an example of Australian Sandstone Georgian/ Colonial Dentils shown under the top cornice molding.

Deriving from ‘dens’ (Lat.)  meaning ‘tooth’, the ‘dentil’ has embellished and adorned many different periods and styles of cornice moldings. From romanesque design through the ages, the dentil, as opposed to it’s relative the “corbel”, serve various functions. Whilst corbels disperse some load (weight) from the stone, typically cantilevered above– transferring it back into the building– dentil’s are mostly ornamental and are, therefore, non-load bearing (non-structural) facade design elements.

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As the architectural periods varied, dentil design, for the most part, remained fairly uniform. This is exemplified by the use of dentil design elements in romanesque design also being used later in the art deco period of the 1920’s.

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Here, shown above the medium relief art deco frieze, an ‘inverted’ dentil, used to enhance visual depth in the building facade.
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An array of handcarved indents for the sandstone facade shown above.

Lime Mortar Design: The Original Expansion Joint

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Lime Ribbon Pointing on Bluestone. Not only used for it’s aesthetic properties, lime mortar allows for flexibility within the stone building.

Lime Mortar has been used for over 6000 years. The pyramids of Giza are plastered with it. Castles throughout the world, buildings of all size and stature, all share one thing: lime mortar. Typically generated through the decomposition of seashells early on, the process of ‘slaking’ limestone by way of kiln/fire came about at a later stage.

As it was noted for it’s inherent abilities for adherence and flexibility, lime mortar has not only been used in stone building in order to bond stones together within the wall matrix but it also serves as an expansion joint; allowing for movement within the wall without destroying the stone itself. The following picture indicates natural deformation of a bluestone masonry wall where settlement or foundation failure has occurred to a minor degree.

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Foundation failure is common in old stone buildings. Without concrete footings, these stone buildings generally relied on larger stone (ballast) placed directly on top of natural soil.

With this inherent movement capability, lime mortar design is a key factor in the restoration, conservation and preservation of these buildings.

In relationship to mortar’s cementitious (cement/ oxide) component, lime, when used in traditional mortar mixes for laying and pointing stone, should always outweigh the amount of cement used.

Lime is still used in today’s concrete design as a plasticizer although chemical dispersants are becoming more predominate as they are more cost effective.