Course description

This course focuses on the methods used in the survey and condition assessment of conservation projects. Through a series of practical exercises and case studies, participants will be introduced to the range of survey and assessment techniques that typically form the structure for project proposals. Participants will explore important concepts such as level of detail, accuracy, precision and tolerance, and learn techniques for creating a measured and drawn record for a building. Practical exercises will introduce participants to advanced techniques including:

  • rectified photography
  • photogrammetry
  • total stations
  • laser scanning

The second half of the course will concentrate on the condition assessment process and apply the principles and tools used in the diagnosis of condition for timber, stone, brick and mortar. Moisture content, timber species and grading, geology, porosity, compressive strength and the effect of salts will all be touched upon in the context of the systematic condition assessment of the buildings at Cole Island. By the end of the course students will have completed a group project focused on the condition assessment of a structure of their choice at Cole Island.

Topics covered:

  • measured drawings: approaches to creating a drawing record
  • advance image based survey techniques: rectified photography, photogrammetry, RTF imaging
  • instrument survey introduction to the levels, total station and laser scanners
  • tools and procedures in assessment of timber: physical inspection, moisture content, resistography, microsecond timers
  • tools and procedures in the assessment of masonry defects
  • group project- condition assessment

Learning objectives

  • Have a foundation in methods/concepts of measured survey.
  • Be familiar with the nature of deterioration in various building material and to be able to quantify effects on the overall structure.
  • Be familiar with the principles and practical tools available used in historic buildings recording.
  • Understand concepts of scale, accuracy, precision and tolerance in recording and documentation, and to be able to demonstrate a knowledge of which method or methods are best suited to the situation.
  • Be able to demonstrate knowledge of assessment techniques and to determine condition in timber, masonry and brick materials.


Note: though not required, prior experience in a cultural organization would be an asset for success in this course.

Please contact the Program Coordinator, Tusa Shea, directly at if you have any questions or concerns.


Ben Gourley is a practicing building conservator and archaeologist with a specialization in earth, timber and masonry structures. Originally from Vancouver, he moved to the UK to study conservation at the Institute for Advanced Architectural Studies in York in 1998, and subsequently joined the Department of Archaeology (York) in 2003 where he taught building conservation, buildings archaeology and landscape archaeology for nearly a decade. He has worked on projects in Europe, Canada, Asia and Africa and has a particular interest in the conservation of vernacular building traditions worldwide. In 2010, with stonemason colleague Nigel Copsey, he set up the Centre for Traditional and Sustainable Building, an organization dedicated to the promotion of traditional building skills in conservation.

Gord Macdonald is a Master Carpenter and Building Conservator with more than 30 years’ experience working with historic timber buildings, specializing in traditional timber-frame carpentry. He has led his carpentry teams through a range of interesting and award-winning projects from the restoration of medieval houses and castles to the re-creation of a 30-ton Roman war machine for BBC Television. Gord has worked at many diverse locations, including the equatorial jungles of Suriname and the Ross Sea of Antarctica. He has previously served as Chairman of Britain’s premier timber framing company Carpenter Oak & Woodland Co Ltd, and as director of the international non-profit Timber Framers Guild. Gord is a current director of Heritage B.C.

Registration details

{{ ::(section.startDate | customLongDate) }}{{ ::getSectionTabText(section) }} - {{ ::section.code }}

You have already registered for this course.

View My account

This item is already in your shop cart.

View shop cart
Fee Tax Subtotal
{{ ::(fee.price | currency) }} {{ ::( | currency) }} {{ ::( | currency) }}
{{ ::(child.price | currency) }} {{ ::( | currency) }} {{ ::( | currency) }}
    Total {{ fee.totalFees | currency }}

Add to Shop Cart

Note: You must log in to register and pay for this course.

Having trouble registering online? Register by phone: 250-472-4747

You're already on the waiting list for this item.

Sorry, this section is full.

Sorry, this course is not available for registration at this time.

This course is in progress. Please contact us for more details.

Online registration is closed for this course. You may still be able to register by phone. Call 250-472-4747 to find out.

This course is on your wish list. You will be notified when this course becomes available.

Want to receive notification when this course becomes available?

Note: you will need to log in/create a new account to use this feature.

Add to wish list

Info you should know: