Restoration, Preservation and Rehabilitation of Heritage and Older Masonry Structures


Over the last few decades, professional conservation of masonry has become recognized as a "stand alone" discipline requiring very specialist knowledge and expertise ~ particularly for historically valuable and architecturally significant structures. This two-day course will evaluate traditional masonry construction materials and techniques and highlight the importance of understanding the impact they had and have on durability aspects. Additionally, the program will examine the many advances in technology that have occurred over recent years, together with how these can provide considerable benefit to those involved with masonry structures.

The presenter's own experiences as a specialist consultant and a "troubleshooting" investigator will be used for many of the topics that will be covered over the two days. Various deterioration mechanisms will be identified, together with the way in which failure to understand them can impact on the development of an effective conservation strategy.

Actual examples will be used to highlight failures, defects or deterioration that can often be caused by the selection of incorrect materials and techniques.  

Who should attend

The program is ideally suited for owners, property and facility managers, engineers, architects, consultants, inspectors and technicians, contractors' supervisors and foremen, materials suppliers' sales and technical personnel and trainees. In fact, the course is ideally suited for anyone who wishes to understand the basic requirements for effective and long-lasting conservation of masonry structures.

Why you should attend

In today's business world, reducing risk and avoiding liability are key factors that should be of great concern to everyone. The topics covered within the program have been designed to facilitate learning from the current state-of-the-art, the presenter's own experiences, as well as past mistakes of others.  

Special features

A purpose-designed binder and a USB flash drive containing comprehensive information, photographs and technical data, will be provided to each participant. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions, provide comments, and share their own experiences and problems. The cost for both the binder and USB flash drive are included in the registration fee.


Day 1 - registration/check-in will start at 8:00 a.m. with sessions to begin at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:30 p.m. Day 2 will commence at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:30 p.m. There will be a 15 minute mid-morning and afternoon break. A light lunch will be provided in the classroom on both days. When registering, please indicate if you have any food allergies.

Program outline

Day 1

Welcome & Introduction
Defects and Deficiencies - Types and Causes
Deterioration and damage of masonry often begins early in its life with poor detailing and/or inadequate construction practices, but can continue to be accelerated by inappropriate restoration materials and practices. This presentation reviews many examples of masonry deterioration caused by poor design and practices and highlights details that provide improved durability. Examples of inappropriate original and restoration materials and practices are also discussed.
The Investigation Process
Successful conservation of masonry structures depends on many factors, each as important as the other. This topic evaluates the fundamental principles that are essential for the development of effective remedial strategies. Factors affecting inspection, diagnosis and cause analysis, as well as material and method determination will be discussed. Non-destructive testing and monitoring techniques that can provide valuable information during the investigative process will also be discussed.
Damaged Masonry Units - Should They be Replaced, Repaired or Strengthened?
Badly deteriorated masonry units are often left unrestored as part of a conservation strategy which attempts to maintain the weathered appearance of older buildings - particularly if they are classified as heritage structures. However, to maintain durability, selected repair is sometimes a justifiable option while, on other occasions, replacement is the best course of action. This topic evaluates the key factors to be considered in the decision making process and explores techniques - old and new - which can be used to repair or strengthen/stabilize masonry units and retard the decaying process.
Grouting Destabilized Core Rubble Masonry - The Old and the New
The destabilization of older walls due to the deterioration of the inner core rubble - between the exterior and interior wythes of masonry - can be a major concern, and the remedy is often to grout hidden voids within the loosely bound rubble. Consolidation strategies and techniques must be sensitive to the need to satisfactorily fill the voids using adequate pressure, while maintaining the integrity of the masonry - both during and after the grouting operations. This topic will review traditional grouting methods as well as modern materials and techniques that are available for effective consolidation and actual case histories will be used. The topic will also evaluate the many factors that should be considered, including structural stability and pumping techniques, as well as grout materials and mix design.
Cleaning Masonry - The Benefits and the Cautions
Some experts claim that if masonry cleaning cannot be undertaken without strong justification it should not take place at all. However, there are many occasions when cleaning is justified and the most important consideration then surrounds the selection of a system which effectively does the job without damaging the underlying fabric. This topic examines the principles surrounding the decision making process, evaluates traditional cleaning, and looks at the latest techniques.

Day 2

Repointing Masonry Walls - Matching the Techniques for Success or Disaster
The incorrect selection of materials and techniques for repointing has the potential to accelerate the deterioration of masonry structures more than any other process - apart, perhaps, from incorrect cleaning practices. This topic evaluates the choices of mortar and repointing techniques that can have adverse effects - or alternatively can provide effective long term performance.
Protective Surface Treatments - the Facts and the Fiction
The practice of applying sealers and coatings to masonry has not been widely acclaimed by many experts. In addition, past treatments have often caused more problems than they have resolved. This topic examines why prejudice against treatments exists today and attempts to provide assurances that may justify increased use in the future - for certain situations - while also highlighting the dangers associated with incorrect selection.
Masonry Cracks - Why they Occur, How to Repair Them & How to Prevent Their Reoccurrence
Buildings are seemingly inanimate objects; however, they do move above their foundations - with the degree of movement dependant on such factors as shrinkage, temperature gradients, the degree of restraint from foundations, geometry, etc., as well as loading conditions from wind and snow. Poor design or construction defects can also create poorly distributed load distribution that can result in undesirable concentrations of stresses. This topic provides visual examples of the above and reviews systems and techniques that are used to repair cracks in masonry - particularly crack stitching - or to prevent them reoccurring by the provision of mortar joint reinforcement. Relatively new European technology will be examined, as well as the accommodation of continuing structure movement by the installation of joints.
Putting Theory into Practice - Some Case Studies
This topic concludes the course by highlighting actual projects that have applied the theories and technologies illustrated by the various topics that have been covered within the two day course. The studies will illustrate all stages of project specific restoration, including the investigation stage, the development of the restoration strategies and the way in which the work was carried out. The restoration and stabilization of the twin-towers of an old church, which is designated as a National Historical Site, will be just one of several projects included as case studies.
Wrap up, questions and discussion
Final Adjournment

Course presenter

Paul Jeffs, PJ Materials Consultants Limited

Paul Jeffs is an independent consultant who, for over 25 years, has specialized in providing technical advice and consulting services for the design, construction, restoration and protection of concrete and masonry structures - with particular emphasis on trouble-shooting. He has considerable experience with the investigation of concrete and masonry structures. Prior to forming PJ Materials Consultants Limited, he was employed for over 25 years within the construction industry around the world. Paul has served on the Canadian Standards Association Technical Committee (Associate) and the High Performance Sub-Committee for New Parking Structures (CAN/CSA S-413); he also served on the CSA 266 series of Admixture standards, and is a past director of the Concrete Restoration Association of Ontario. He served as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Ontario Ministry of Housing for the deterioration and repair of existing parking structures, he was a member of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation technical advisory committee for the development of restoration standards and is a member of the National Research Council's Working Group on Repointing Mortars. He has provided materials related expertise as a consultant for numerous industries and has authored many technical papers.

Paul provides courses across Canada on such topics as durable concrete mix design and construction, concrete and masonry structure condition assessments, concrete repair and protection, the restoration of heritage and masonry structures and the design and construction of concrete slabs on grade. He has also regularly presented public and in-house courses in the Middle East. Paul has been a guest lecturer for several Canadian universities, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, the Canadian Dam Association, a speaker at many conferences and has authored or co-authored numerous technical articles.