Structural Appraisal of Historic Buildings - ARCH8410

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 30 (15) Ronald Yee checkmark-circle


This module explores the structural behaviour of buildings, and examines their response to environmental phenomena. It helps the students to analyse the causes and patterns of damage in a wide range of structures and cultivates a critical understanding of the techniques employed in the repair and strengthening of historic buildings. A combination of lectures and laboratory analysis will help the students to develop an advanced understanding of the properties of building materials and their decay. The module will include lectures on materials such as stone, brick, mortar, timber, iron and concrete. Three of these lectures will be delivered by the conservators of Canterbury cathedral at the Cathedral's conservation workshop. This will constitute an opportunity to observe the methods employed in the conservation of Canterbury cathedral, examining the practical application of a wide range of preservation techniques. The course’s assignment, a structural report on a historic structure in Kent will provide students with an opportunity to test the skills and knowledge gained in the lectures, articulating their findings using the relevant presentation skills.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 36 hours
Private study hours: 264 hours
Total study hours: 300 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Structural Report (100%)

Reassessment methods
Like for like.

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Ashurst, J. & N. (1988). Practical Building Conservation (Vols. 1-5). English Heritage Technical Handbooks.
Ayres, James. (1998). Building the Georgian City. Yale
Beckmann, Paul. (1995). Structural Aspects of Building Conservation. McGraw Hill.
Carbonara, Giovanni. (2005). Atlante del restauro. UTET, ISBN: 9788802061207
Croci, G. (1998). The Conservation and Structural Restoration of Architectural Heritage. Southampton: Computational Mechanics.
Forsyth, Michael. (2007). Structures and Construction in Historic Building Conservation: Structures and Construction. Wiley-Blackwell: ISBN-13: 978-1405111713
Gorgon, J. E. (1991). Structures: or why things don't fall down. Penguin.
Heyman, Jacques. (1997). The Stone Skeleton: Structural Engineering of Masonry Architecture. Cambridge University Press: ISBN13: 9780521629638
Mainstone, R. (1975). Developments in Structural Form. Allen Lane.
Robson, R. (1991). Structural Appraisal of Historic Buildings. Gower.
Theodossopoulos, Dimitris. (2012). Structural Design in Building Conservation, Taylor & Francis Ltd Routledge ISBN-13: 978-0415479462

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 A systematic understanding of construction components in historical buildings and their structural behaviour.
2 An understanding of the causes of decay, and repair of historic buildings.
3 An enhancing of the ability to assess and monitor the condition of buildings, and make proposals for their repair, maintenance, and enhancement.
4 Provision of graphic presentation skills employed in structural appraisal and the development of conservation strategies.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Ability to critically apply theories, research and analysis in order to understand the structural behaviour of a building.
2 Ability to investigate and identify the extent and the cause of construction materials' decay, by analysing a wide range of historical documentation and interpreting data
from laboratories.
3 Ability to develop a structural intervention strategy using appropriate presentation and communication skills.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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