BLF Review 2009

Extract from 2009 Annual Report

Education & Training
Awareness has grown about the importance of correctly maintaining old buildings, and not just historically important ones. A major portion of the national housing stock, as well as other building types, is old and often of solid-wall construction.

Lime-related craft skills have long been absent from the national curriculum for the building industry and the National Heritage Training Group has been formed with a view to correcting this omission. Committee members attended meetings at the NHTG and contributed to developments.

New Build
There have been significant developments in this area, particularly green issues. Sustainable construction materials and methods are increasingly in demand. There are many uses for lime in new buildings to assist their green credentials and members of the Forum are at the forefront of developments in these fields.

Publications & Promotion
The Journal was published in September 2009. A particular feature was the inclusion of the draft of the development standard for the structural use of unreinforced masonry made with natural hydraulic lime mortars (BS 5628) in connection with structural engineering and design calculations. Four newsletters were issued to members.

The annual Conference and Gathering at West Dean College near Chichester, West Sussex provided the usual opportunity to hear papers on recent developments and to exchange ideas with like-minded people. The conference was held in conjunction with Weald & Downland Museum where a kiln was built and fired and a three-day lime fair open to the public was held.

The Forum, through Steve Foster and Paul Livesey, has contributed to the revised BS EN 459 Standard for Building Limes (due for publication in mid-2010) and has made representations on other standards directly related to the performance of building limes, including those for building sands.

Cliff Blundell met with representatives of the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing at the Welsh Assembly and has been invited to assist in drafting the new Building Regulations for Wales.

Technical Advice
Technical queries to the BLF were dealt with by Paul Livesey, calling on other members with specialist expertise when required. The type of each query varies widely, as well as the experience of the questioner.

The membership list has been put online so members are able to search for others under a range of name and location headings including a map search. The information is encrypted and password protected. This means that members always have access to up-to-date information about other members.

Also added to the Members’ Pages are back issues of the newsletter and, for members’ comment, the initial draft glossary of lime terms in English and Italian translated by Camilla Massara.

International links
The links with other lime forums have been strengthened and the exchange of information is of mutual benefit. Members of the Forum attended meetings of lime forums in Ireland, Scandinavia and Italy.

Plans for 2010 and Beyond

The latest of the series of Lime in New Build Seminars is planned for April 2009, at Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton, by Edinburgh. The 18th annual conference and gathering will be held at Heriot-Watt University, near Edinburgh in September 2009 with a theme of ‘Make-do and Mend’.

Volume 18 of the Journal is being prepared and there will be the usual newsletters to inform members about best practice, research and current developments in the use of lime in building.

The Forum looks forward to continuing its work with the National Heritage Training Group on the development of training in traditional building skills. The Forum will maintain its links with other national Building Limes Forums to promulgate the ‘lime message’ worldwide.

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