2007 Yearbook

INSTITUTE OF HISTORIC BUILDING CONSERVATION YEARBOOK 2007 40 I N R E V I E W types of project, along with the many restoration projects, is catalogued in the CAD archive providing a record of the buildings in the care of Historic Royal Palaces. We use CAD data such as historic typology to relate the history of the building and inform any conservation work done, and we subsequently record our work and any new findings alongside existing information. PROJECTS AND DAY-TO-DAY WORK A lot of time goes into presentation, and CAD data forms a fundamental basis for explaining how the buildings perform and how conservation professionals undertake their work. One very successful interpretation project I worked on centred on investigative work to the main beam under the Royal Pew in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. It had been found that there was movement in the structure of the pew so it was closed off to visitors, the panelling dismantled (revealing an abundance of interesting historical graffiti) and the beam secured. After extensive investigation by archaeologists and structural engineers the problems were recorded and the organisation is now preparing the necessary funding to advance works to the next stage. In the meantime the pew is still out of bounds to visitors, and the historic structure is now laid bare to view. As it was impossible to mount an interpretation board in the middle of the Chapel Royal, I prepared interpretation using the archaeologists’ drawings together with the team’s text and images to explain the various historical stages in an easily readable, disposable format for visitors to pick up and walk around with. This has proved very popular as they enjoy having something to hold onto and take home. My day-to-day work has essentially two aspects; the CAD production side and the CAD management side. Being the only CAD user in the whole organisation at present, there’s a lot of production work that comes my way. Nevertheless, there are plenty of CAD management issues such as maintaining the CAD archive, providing CAD specifications for survey work, enabling a wider use of CAD in the organisation and developing wider access to the CAD information along with all the procedural, technical and training work needed for this to be set up. Doing this type of work in such a historic setting is quite unique. You are never far away from ‘where history happened’ and I believe the King James version of the Bible was finalised four rooms along the corridor from my office. CAD management in a historic context presents its own challenges, such as the ever expanding size of the archive, the wide variety of different types of data, and the organisation of the files to ensure that they are easily accessible. Due to the nature of the work the organisation undertakes, the information will only ever be added to, and it is essential to establish a framework for expansion that enables the data store to grow without harming its accessibility. In addition, it’s inevitable that things will change over the years, so flexibility is another quality any storage system needs to exhibit. All these combine to produce a complex data archive that it’s the CAD manager’s responsibility to maintain. Currently only a small percentage of the CAD drawings are produced in-house due to the nature of the organisation’s principal role in project management. All the external CAD drawings received from outside the organisation amount to a wide variety of standards and drawing styles to adapt to. To work with data from different companies when they use different drafting methods poses problems that only a detailed knowledge of CAD can alleviate. The variety of CAD programs in use in the industry puts additional pressure on the workflow, as each one is essentially in competition with the other, and all export to each other’s format with varying degrees of quality and success. A wider, up to date knowledge of the CAD industry is essential to establish a smooth workflow within the CAD office. I put a lot of emphasis on the exchange of basic, legible standard CAD data, which is tricky when there is no specific national or international standard to work to. It’s very rewarding to see all the effort put into this valuable resource coming together with the knowledge that people may be looking at this information many years from now. Elevation of the Royal Pew’s complex beam in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace (all images are provided with kind permission of Historic Royal Palaces) Historical graffiti revealed when panelling was removed from the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace