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Practical Building Conservation: Concrete


Product Code: 19597

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Despite some public antipathy towards its appearance and concerns about its longevity and environmental impact, the importance of concrete to the nation's architectural heritage is gradually being acknowledged.Many concrete buildings have now been listed: fromfarmbuildings, sculptures, houses and churches, to large structures such as factories, bridges and even whole housing estates. A number of buildings have been conserved to wide acclaimand this is helping to temper the perceived 'ugliness' of concrete, as well as successfully extending the lifespan of the buildings themselves.

The vastmajority of iconic 20th-century structures have used concrete in some part of their construction, even if this may not be readily visible.Many concrete structures have been built to a very high standard; others (for reasons of economy, lack of knowledge, expediency and poor workmanship or supervision) have been less well constructed, but are nonetheless of architectural or historic importance and so may require conservation.

The maintenance of this built infrastructure is socially important and, given that premature demolition and new construction are neither economically or environmentally sustainable, its conservation also has considerable environmental benefits. This volume considers how historically significant concrete buildings should be treated, both in terms of preservation and repair. The interaction of the composite materials that make up concrete provides additional complexities that do not exist in homogenousmaterials. Furthermore, the approach to conservation, both inmaterial and aesthetic terms, may be different to that adopted formore traditional historic materials, such as stone, timber and plaster. For those materials, retention of a certain amount of surface decay and weathering is acceptable and perhaps desirable, but on a more modern concrete building, technical issues and design intent may preclude this, even though patina can play an important part in its appearance. One of the problems with conserving this complexmaterial is that, as yet, the number of concrete conservation projects is small and there has been little opportunity for long-termmonitoring of the results.Materials andmethods will continue to evolve, through improvements in understanding and technology, and asmonitoring of treatments revealsmore about good and bad practice.

The book begins with a history of the use and development of concrete as a building material. The second chapter, Deterioration & Damage, looks at the ways in which concrete degrades or breaks down, and the third covers the Assessment of concrete buildings as a prelude for determining approaches to their conservation. Treatment & Repair describes the range ofmethods that can be used to deal with the causes and consequences of deterioration and damage. This is followed by a chapter of Case Studies, where specific examples are used to illustrate some of these general principles of repair. The final chapter, Care & Maintenance, gives guidance on how to maximise the preservation of concrete buildings whilstminimising long-termcosts.

Published: March 2013

Extent: 320 pages

Binding: Hardback

Size: 240mm x 220 mm

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Practical Building Conservation: Concrete