Although the predominant building materials for the last 150 years have been man-made materials such as brick, and concrete, stone has recently become much more in demand. For many years, cladding buildings with stone, whether they were commercial or private, was often seen as an expensive option. In fact, as the cladding of a building, whether it is in brick or stone, is only a relatively small proportion of the total cost of construction, this has never really been the case. Furthermore, stone is now becoming accepted as the environmentally friendly building material. Unlike man-made materials which can utilise considerable quantities of energy in their manufacture, and may result in the emission of large amounts of greenhouses gases, the extraction of stone uses little energy and has no harmful effect on the environment. Extraction sites tend to be low key and, since blasting, crushing and the transport of large amounts of material are not necessary, they cause no environmental pollution.
We provide a service to those involved in building stones, whether they are producers or users. Proving building stone deposits, which are often relatively local occurrences, can often be successfully undertaken in a much more simple manner than is required for bulk materials such as aggregates or cement. For example, exploration pits can be used to study potential deposits, rather than drilling cored boreholes. The suitability of a stone as a building material can normally be determined from petrographic analyses, although specific uses may require testing which can range from the measurement of porosity, through to the exposure of large-scale stone structures to real-time weathering in special environmental chambers.
As well as assisting in locating new sources of building stone and planning their extraction and development, we have considerable expertise in the investigation of existing stonework. Deterioration of stone due to natural causes or pollution can be a major problem. Assistance can be provided in identifying and solving such problems, including locating the original source of the stone, or identifying an acceptable replacement, if new material has to be inserted. Stone cleaning, if undertaken incorrectly, can cause major damage to existing stonework. Studies prior to cleaning can identify such potential problems and assist in selecting the most appropriate cleaning method.
Please contact us for further information on the services we can provide.