The construction of the crossbow would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work shown by you and your team; we very much appreciate the commitment you have all shown over the past six months.

Kate Mayne, ITN


Restoration is the favoured approach when the goal is to return a building to a known earlier state.

Recreating the past; preserving it for the future

It may be that a single point in time is the most culturally significant for a building, and the goal is to return its fabric to that state.

dolbelydr restoration externalRestoring a building to a previous state

It’s a culturally valid goal to restore a building to a previously known state – to recreate the building as the architect intended and as people at the time enjoyed it. It’s important that such work doesn’t become a wholesale reconstruction and that the original components of the building are used in its restoration – ideally without introducing new materials.

barn purlin restorationAn evidence-based approach

Restoration should be undertaken based on evidence, not opinion or preference. So, restoration work typically requires proof of that earlier state. This will exist in documented form (perhaps in several places) but in many cases investigative work within the building and knowledge of timber-frame construction of the period can provide clear evidence as to a building’s intended state – and when other additions took place.

powersaw carpenterTimber-frame reconstruction

Sometimes, it’s not possible to take a purely restorative approach. For example, part of a building may have been destroyed by fire, or even rot. Then, the only option may be to introduce new materials. Some good examples of this would be our work restoring the roof at Windsor Castle, after the fire in 1992, and the roof at Stirling Castle – which had not existed for many years. Reconstruction work is typically based on plans, if they exist, or photographs, documents and whatever other historical evidence is available.

dolbelydr kitchen restorationAdaptation

This is where a building’s use is modified or changed – and, as a result, changes are needed to the building (and to the timber frame). A good example of this is converting a barn into a home, where rooms need to be created, or turning small rooms in an old house into larger rooms which are more suitable for modern living. Although such changes should be made with care, they inevitably mean changing the building’s fabric to some extent.