Pipe Dreams

Its not all about the fabulous foyers and luxury living! This week was a little less glamorous, peering onto dark, hidden spaces. The places that other prefers to ignore.


CCTV drainage survey in Inverness for conservation architect Inverness


This week we are on site carrying out a CCTV inspection of concealed drains.

One of the biggest causes of building failures is defective drainage. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the building looks when it is first built, once the weather gets at it, it will either rise to the challenge or get washed away. So, look after your drainage and your drainage will look after your building.

Some problems that can be encountered;


Complicated roofs with no access will deter maintenance. sometimes it is a matter of height, and you will need a cherry picker. Sometimes they are concealed behind finishes, and when leak occurs, the damage can be widespread, but may not be noticed immediately.


CCTV camera operator on conservation architect survey Inverness


Climate change

Rainfall measurements have shown that in Scotland the amount of rainfall that falls on a roof today is double that which fell on roofs 100 years ago. Rainwater gutters that were fine when the building was first constructed, are often too small to cope with sudden downpours that we get today. A sudden rush of water into the drains, quickly exposes any problems.


The older the building, the more likely it is that lead piping was used to form more complex bends. Lead is soft and is therefore prone to damage, it is also water soluble, and over the years can wear away, particularly where water is concentrated.


Concealed drainage with lead pipework in Inverness


Uncoordinated work

One trade is often unaware of the other services that are around them. For example - an incoming electrical main serving a four storey city centre block, placed right next to a leaking lead drain that is taking the rainwater from the building out to the street.


Old buildings left alone are often in great condition. Problems are encountered when later work has been carried out and the original building fabric and services have been compromised.

The focus of my attention is on restoring historic buildings, but many of the lessons are just as relevant to modern buildings.


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

If you need independent advice give us a call ?