Global Warming and Traditional Properties

Changes in our climate are having an unexpected impact on our historic buildings. While many commentators are concerned about temperature rises, what is of more immediate concern to those responsible for a traditional building is the frequency and intensity of heavy rain showers.

We regularly carry our inspections and fabric reports to investigate problems and find many issues are related to ineffective rainwater goods.

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drainage problems on traditional properties MAAC Studio conservation architect Edinburgh Inverness

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It is important that gutters and rainwater pipes are kept clean and free from debris. Moss that grows on your roof can be dislodged and fall into gutters. Leaves are blown off nearby trees, landing on roofs and in gutters. Even bird droppings can build up over times. All this debris slowly rots down and fills the bottom of the gutter with sludge. Even if this does not physically block the gutter, it will reduce the amount of water it can carry. Eventually the gutters will fill with water and it will spill out over the walls or back into the roof structure.

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large roofs built for a different climate MAAC Studio conservation architect Inverness Edinburgh

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Large roofs, found on churches or community halls, have large areas of slate. We are finding that the size of the gutters that were provided are no longer adequate and can’t cope with the volume of water that runs off the roof during heavy intense rain showers. Finding an effective solution, either increasing gutter size or adding additional rainwater pipes, needs to take into account the impact on the designs of the elevations.

It is often possible to source an alternative gutter form the same material, with the same shape and profile but slightly larger. The difference may be small, visually you will barely notice the difference, but the benefit will be huge.

These showers are intermittent and unless you have the experience and the knowledge to assess the capacity the gutters, this problem may not be spotted. This could result in problems being diagnosed incorrectly and the wrong repair being carried out and when you have spent money and the problem is not solved a great deal of frustration can arise.

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MAAC studio are accredited conservation architects and principal designers working with traditional buildings throughout Scotland. 

If you need independent advice give us a call ?