Built Environment and Historic Preservation

We are your go-to experts for existing timber constructions and historically valuable buildings, from appraising their condition to assessing and upgrading them.

Seeking to strike a wise balance between refurbishment and redensification, we combine tradition with innovation. With respect to the built environment and sustainable construction, the focus is on interdisciplinary, static-constructive, physical and cultural-historical aspects.
One important priority is to develop improved methods of non-destructive testing. In this way, we make an important contribution to the protection and preservation of buildings of cultural and historical value.

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Service portfolio

We are engaged in the assessment and upgrading of existing, historically valuable buildings and take an interdisciplinary approach in the search for new, pragmatic solutions:

  • Research projects commissioned by companies and institutions
  • Technology developments tailored to the size of the company (from micro-enterprises to industrial companies)
  • Support in applying for research funding from national and international funding organisations (including Innosuisse, FOEN, Horizon 2020, M-ERA.NET)
  • Assessment of the condition of structures
  • Permanent monitoring (building monitoring) of wood moisture, climate and deformations
  • Consultancy and expert appraisals

We are heavily involved in teaching and continuing education. We supervise students’ projects and theses. We also frequently engage master’s students as assistants in research projects. In this way, we contribute to training the experts of the future.

We have connections with the following academic programmes and courses of continuing education:

We aim to transfer all non-confidential research into practice. To this end, we hold events and lectures, write specialist articles, conduct tours, organise workshops, and present our results at trade fairs.

Areas of expertise

We are distinguished by the combination of specialist knowledge of material-specific properties of wood with methods of assessing and evaluating its condition, as well as monument conservation and cultural-historical solutions.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Assessment and upgrading of historically valuable existing buildings
  • Methods of non-destructive and minimally destructive testing
  • Static and structural investigations of historical supporting structures
  • Assessment and development of building structures based on criteria for sustainable construction
  • Drafting and development of maintenance plans for timber structures as an aid to owners
  • Preparation of rule details for timber constructions for long-term constructive wood preservation
  • Investigation of extension options for existing buildings for redensification

Institute for Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture IHTA

The Institute for Timber Structures, Structures and Architecture (IHTA) focuses on the built environment and historic preservation. At the IHTA we focus on innovative, resource-saving and energy-efficient buildings. We support you from the design to the constructional implementation to the built environment.

Other key areas of focus:

Infrastructure

In addition to laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment, mobile facilities are also available to enable us to carry out service and development orders proficiently. These include:

  • Diverse wood moisture and climate monitoring technology with remote transmission
  • Calibrated drilling resistance measuring device (resistograph)
  • Mobile X-ray
  • Endoscope
  • Thermal imaging camera
  • Timber Grader MTG
  • Ultrasonic measuring devices
  • Universal testing machine with maximum forces of 2.5kN to 250kN
  • Equipment for shear testing to EN SN 14080:2013 Annex D (accredited by SAS)
  • Delamination testing equipment to EN SN 14080:2013 Annex C
  • Core removal devices

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