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Subject: PhD studentship at Heriot Watt University

PhD studentship at Heriot Watt University

From: Craig Kennedy <craig.kennedy<-a>
Date: Monday, July 28, 2014
PhD studentship
Heriot Watt University
"Assessment of timber for use in the repair of Scotland's built

Scotland has a rich and varied built heritage, ranging from
nationally important castles, monuments and grand houses, to
cityscapes and rural dwellings.  It is estimated in Scotland that
there are half a million dwellings built before 1919, using
traditional skills and materials.  Only a small portion of these are
listed or encompassed within a conservation area and as such
protected by statute.  The majority are subject to the same planning
regulations as all other buildings.

Modern buildings adhere to a very narrow set of parameters, set out
as Building Standards.  Traditional buildings were not constructed
to these constraints and were often erected using vernacular
architecture.  Over time, poor maintenance and inappropriate repair
and conservation regimes can lead to the fabric of these buildings
undergoing accelerated decay.  One such material is timber, which
was used widely to frame buildings and can also be seen as cladding.
The timber used in traditional buildings was often much thicker and
heavier than those used in framing of modern buildings.  Historic
timber growing practices were different, with "slow grown" timbers,
typically 200 years old or older, being utilised for construction.
Today, trees are typically grown for around 60 years before being

Wood can decay through a variety of mechanisms such as biological,
chemical, thermal, mechanical and photochemical decay, as well as
the more immediate effects of damage caused by, for example, fire.
In some cases, timber can be treated to arrest the decay and allow
it to continue to function in situ.  However, in other cases the
timber may be degraded to the point where it is no longer fit for
use as a building material and should be replaced.  Due to the age
of the original building, it is not always possible to identify the
type of wood used or its source from records.  The process of
selecting replacement timber involves a small amount of analysis of
original material, but ultimately this information is inadequate.

There is a need to research the selection and integration of new
timber in traditional buildings, and to understand the original
material in place, so that in future a grading protocol can be
formed that will allow for better informed conservation practices.
This PhD project will assess whether a portable system can be
developed to help "match" modern wood with historic wood for repair

Informal enquires should be addressed to Dr Craig Kennedy
<craig.kennedy<-a t->hw< . >ac< . >uk>

Funding: This is a Fees Scholarship which will fund tuition fees
(regardless of fee status) for the 3 year duration of the project.
Funding to support living expenses may also be available.

Eligibility: Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in
a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or

To apply please complete our online application form:


Please select PhD programme 'Construction' within the online
application and indicate that you are applying for a Scholarship in
the School of the Built Environment.  Please also include the full
project title and reference on your application (SBE14CK).

You will also need to provide a copy of your degree certificates and
transcripts, proof of your ability in the English language (if
English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied
for a degree that was taught in English) and references from two
academic sources (please enter your full name and the project title
on the Referee Report Form


and forward to your referees for completion and return).

Timetable: The closing date for applications is 12 September 2014.
Applications will then be reviewed throughout September and October
2014 and applicants will be notified of the outcome of their
application by the end of October 2014.  Applicants *must* be
available to start the course of study in January 2015.

Dr Craig Kennedy
Associate Professor
Royal Academy of Engineering Centre of Excellence in Sustainable
    Building Design
School of the Built Environment
Heriot Watt University
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
+44 131 451 4629

                  Conservation DistList Instance 28:9
                 Distributed: Saturday, August 2, 2014
                        Message Id: cdl-28-9-016
Received on Monday, 28 July, 2014

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