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Bar B C Survey Methodology

The Survey Process

To identify detailed conditions and overall integrity of each structure, a standardized form was created to produce valued results, and yet easy enough in format to ensure consistent and reproducible results for comparative evaluation. To aid with consistency in the recording, all of the conditions used in the assessment were divided evenly among the team where each team member would record the same set of conditions for every structure.

The form was broken into two sections, the first being considered “general information” which included the LCS (List of Classified Structures) number, the orientation of the building, specific features of the area surrounding the structure, as well as general information such as the weather, date, and the names of surveyors. The second part of the form was structured according to principle architectural elements: foundations, walls, roof, porch and chimney.  Some of these elements were then subdivided according to their orientation and their construction features. For example each wall unit was considered separately as was each plane of the gable roof.  In the case of double cabins and more complex buildings, some wall elevations were partitioned in two or more sections depending on their construction. The purpose of this division was to assess each unit separately and relate its condition to its orientation or other building components and site situations. 

Definitions of conditions
A page from the suvey manual which shows how the variable of grade is defined. Note the drawings that provide a visual clue as a way to better understand the condition.

The Rating System and Glossary
To obtain an overall condition assessment, a rating system was developed for all the described features. This rating system, depending on the attributes, was 1) a scaled description, 2) a choice between yes and no, or 3) a fraction.

These ratings were then converted into numerical values, which allowed for further elaboration and evaluation. This rating system suggested different scales of interpretation. Either a single element or the entire building could be comparatively assessed and analyzed. A detailed description of each term and condition rating is included in an extended glossary. The glossary includes images to further aid in understanding the evaluation of the conditions.

The team arriving on site for a full day of surveying. Not a bad view!
Students checking suvrvey
The full survey team discussing the fundamentals of the form and dividing up the conditions evenly among the members.

The Variables
  • type and number of footings
Wall Sections
  • Condition of the logs (the upper half and lower half were considered separately due to the clear difference as a result of sun and water damage)
  • Condition of the sill log (the sill log was not considered in the evaluation of the lower half of logs since they were linked to the flooring system)
  • Percentage of chinking still extant
  • openings within the wall
  • the condition of the wall junctions (corners)
  • Structural problems ( tilting, racking, displacement and deformation) Aspects that can accelerate the decay process (vegetation, grade, and drainage)
Roof Section
  • Type of skin or covering and condition
  • Wood sheathing condition
  • Presence of deformation
  • number of purlins in sound condition related to total count
  • Number of posts intact versus the number or posts intended
  • Number of posts that exhibit no signs of basal rot and which have a closed joint with the upper beam.
  • Floor slope
  • Floorboard condition
  • Loss of the lower and/or upper portions
  • Presence of significant cracks
  • Evidence of separation from the building
The information generated in the survey was entered into a Microsoft Access database. This database provided analysis of the data quantitatively. The data from the survey could also be queried to reveal relationships between the condition of the building and the site characteristics as well as comparisons between architectural elements within a single building or across multiple structures.
Team on site