RETOLD: Structural Damage Assessment in Berlin

In the museum village Düppel (Berlin, Germany), we are currently carrying out a structural damage assessment to evaluate the condition of our reconstructed houses. The 13 houses were built using methods from experimental archaeology, in the years between 1976 and 2008 according to the model of medieval farmhouses. Care was taken to retain the floor plans of the houses found during excavations and to rebuilt the reconstructed houses in their original locations. As the buildings are exposed to the weather and are often used in the museum, their condition is regularly checked and repairs are carried out.

We are currently performing a particularly detailed evaluation with the help of an external professional (Lothar Krüger) in order to obtain an accurate assessment of the houses. The findings can then be used to derive maintenance measures and set priorities. The tips from the professional building damage surveyor, can also help the team to better and more effectively assess the condition of the houses themselves in the future.

With the launch of the RETOLD app, the results can also be easily recorded digitally and checked regularly in the future. The assessment of the reconstructed houses in the museum village Düppel will continue until spring 2024. So far, it has been established that the houses are in a better condition overall than assumed before the assessment and that the type of construction has a major influence on the state of the houses. Log houses are seemingly much less susceptible to damage than post and beam buildings. The damage observed was in some cases caused by moisture, which led to fungal growth and rot, but most of the damage was caused by insects. These included the longhorned beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus) and the common house borer (Anobium punctatum), which particularly attacks the sapwood. The posts in the ground area also proved to be particularly vulnerable, despite the treatment of the timber with tar or charring of the outer layer of wood, a few posts showed starting rotting. The assessment so far has not revealed any major damage or necessary renovation measures, only minor repairs will have to be carried out next year. The results of the building damage assessment can help us in the future to build the houses more durably and effectively, identify repair needs and make maintenance measures more sustainable.

By Svea Röbke