Dry Rot treatment at University of Liverpool, Old Infirmary

Background to Case Study

The Liverpool Infirmary was originally founded in 1743 and took around 6 years to build. It was opened to help with the widespread outbreaks of illness that had been caused by the overpopulation issues at the time. As the ill-drained streets and unhygienic conditions became worse, the infirmary opened the first nurse training school with the assistance of Florence Nightingale. Established in 1862, it was only the second Nightingale training school in the country, built to train both hospital and district nurses.

In 1823 a new hospital and lunatic asylum was built on the Brownlow Street site and renamed The Liverpool Royal Infirmary. The building underwent much reconstruction before eventually closing its doors in 1826. The building was then purchased by Liverpool University in 1994 and restored after laying derelict for many years. Liverpool University is now using the building for clinical skills teaching and examinations and is today, still carrying out renovation works.

Prior to Timberwises involvement

Our team of Liverpool based property care experts were appointed to carry out surveys on the roof timbers of the old infirmary block. The surveys revealed a severe outbreak of dry rot and wet rot within the timbers of the roof, caused as a result of defective rainwater goods, roof cladding and a lack of general routine maintenance. The lack of maintenance allowed surface water to penetrate the fabric of the building over a period of several years. As the moisture levels built up within the timbers it created the perfect conditions for rot growth to start. Our experts found several parts within the roof section that needed to be treated, along with several timbers that needed to be replaced due to the extent of the decay within the timber.

Solutions and results

For each section of the roof that needed attention, remedial works needed to be carried out that complied with the client’s future plans for the building.

Within the roof, all the timbers that needed replacing were replaced on a like for like basis. The roof rafters and wall plates required custom made manufactured sections of timbers on site, using our timber resin repair system. This is where our technicians insert unseen, reinforcement bars into the timber and then pouring a resin mix into the shuttering to match the existing timbers. To finish the graining and staining of the resin is carried out to match the existing timbers.

Within another section of the roof, Dry Rot Fungus (Serpula Lacrymans) was found on the timbers, affecting the junction of the ceiling and wall to the gable elevation. The decay had extended further to affect the lower section of the first truss – again roof timbers were removed as a result and defective wall plate sections were renewed using treated timbers to match existing sections. The decayed truss rafters were cut back and replaced to match the existing timbers.

All accessible timbers were also treated with a liberal application of fungicide solution to offer protection against further fungal attack. Any defected timbers that had decayed were cut back and replaced with treated timbers to match existing timbers.

In a further section of the roof, traces of mycelium growth were found, indicating the presence of dry rot decay. During the survey, it was discovered that the rot had spread through to the timber wall plates, roof rafters, close boarding and the match boarding below the rafters.

All accessible timbers were treated with a liberal application of fungicide solution. Any defected timbers that had decayed were cut back and replaced with treated timbers to match existing timbers.

Treating dry rot

Timberwise are specialists in treating dry rot problems in commercial properties and have over 45 years’ experience in the successful remediation of dry rot. To arrange a dry rot survey complete our on-line survey request form or call our team on 0800 288 8660

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