The condition survey is the basis for devising a strategy for the conservation or restoration of a building. A detailed description of the current physical condition of the building on an element by element basis will help in identifying and explaining the nature of decay mechanisms at work. Typical conditions identified include spalling, cracking, brick or stone decay, loss of pointing, biological growth, failure of paint coatings or inappropriate renders. Each façade is thoroughly surveyed, usually from a hoist to gain close inspection, and all conditions are then marked on survey drawings.
A survey of the condition of the interior of the structure is also undertaken, if required. This then enables patterns to be made visible and which can explain the nature of the decay mechanisms at work on the building elevations. Detailed photographs are also taken.
When a condition survey is complete, the correct method of intervention can be designed specifically for the building, using ‘Best Practice’ conservation techniques. The strategy, where possible, is based on repair of existing material rather than replacing authentic fabric that contributes to the special character of the structure. Good repair will also reduce the likelihood of decay in the future by eliminating or minimising the causes. The report will prepare for the building’s future fabric maintenance, replacement and conservation work.