smt associates


Building Pathology


"There is no-one I have worked with in Cornwall who knows so much about the use of lime, sands, and other traditional materials for use in repair and conservation of old buildings"A.P. English Heritage

"Stephen takes a very methodical approach to conservation repair and deals with each challenge in a careful sequence of stages"

"Stephen is now probably the top expert in Cornwall on the analysis of damp problems in historic buildings" E.B. Conservation Officer

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At SMT Associates we take great pride in all of our projects and when we get feedback it is always appreciated by our staff. Below are some excerpts from letters received from our clients.

Letter received from the property secretary of a local church

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Stephen Tucker for some four years now. He came to us at a moment of crisis when, through retirement, we had just lost the services of an architect who had been with us for a very short time. He is a keen conscientious worker who is always willing to go the ‘extra mile’ in pursuit of excellence.

Stephen is deeply involved with our project at Carn Brea Methodist Church, which is to renovate the exterior of the building and to remodel the interior to make it suitable for community use… Stephen with his deep knowledge and experience in working in limes, particularly on an 1870 building such as ours, is invaluable. At our church meetings his quiet, yet confident manner, as he provides solutions to our difficulties, is appreciated by all members.

Stephen is never afraid to get his hands dirty, he manages at the ‘coal face’, providing folk like ourselves, who have very limited funding, and not much knowledge, with a great deal of skilled physical assistance and craftsmanship, together with the benefit of his experience. He also has an extensive knowledge of local craftsmen from whom he accepts only the very best to work to his high standards.

In addition to his practical experience and theoretical ‘know how’, Stephen also prepares excellent reports on the structure of the building, analysis of the composition of the walls etc. and recommendations for work needed to remedy defects in the traditional manner. His detailed reports are readily accepted by our Property Managing Committee in Manchester.

In addition to advising us he has also provided a service to nearby Carnkie Methodist Church, the Truro Library Project and also the National Trust.

We would not hesitate to recommend his services and knowledge to any organisation.

KJ, Property Secretary

Extracts from a letter of support received from English Heritage

There is no-one that I have worked with in Cornwall who knows so much about the use of lime, sands, and other traditional materials for use in the repair and conservation of old buildings. I personally have learnt a huge amount by simply talking to you, particularly about the importance of the right sort of sand in a mortar mix, and about how to deal with damp problems caused by the inappropriate use of non-traditional materials in old buildings. I have been particularly impressed by your enthusiasm, knowledge, and willingness to share your information.

The mortar you specified for Rogers Tower and Quarry Cottage proved remarkably successful, and the builder, who previously had no experience of working in lime, found it easy to use and apply. He is, moreover, completely converted to the use of lime for repairing old buildings and has come back for further advice for another project.

The mortar analysis you carried out for St.Ruans Holy Well also stands out in my mind. Although the results were for research purposes only, and were not used in specifying a mortar for repair, the analysis shed fascinating additional light on the history of the building.

As you well know, I have approached you many times for opinions, advice, or just discussion, and would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending your expertise to anyone seeking advice on all aspects of the repair of old buildings, the use of lime, and damp problems in traditional buildings.

AP, English Heritage

Extracts of a letter of recommendation when seeking accreditation in building conservation

Stephen has displayed considerable knowledge and understanding of conservation legislation and philosophy of repair. He has amply demonstrated his awareness of the principles and processes of repair. Also, Stephen has broad experience of working with different building types and with a wide range of building materials. Cornwall is rich in these materials and is also a challenging place for repair techniques that can cope with the wet and windy weather conditions without compromising conservation principles of repair.

Stephen Tucker has been involved in a number of important repair schemes in Carrick District including the architecturally accomplished grade II listed Truro City Library. This project involved a wide range of repair techniques and has now been successfully completed in a way that satisfies the original brief solving serious problems of damp and frost damage to much of the dressed stonework…

…The library building is now properly repaired, it looks wonderful and is greatly admired – a fine example of conservation repair.

Stephen takes a methodical approach to conservation repair and deals with each challenge in a careful sequence of stages including understanding the historic fabric and the repair challenge, analysis, monitoring, appropriate timing and method of repair, all backed up by a deep awareness and knowledge of the historic environment. All decisions are based on a full understanding of the problems and repairs are implemented under proper supervision and monitoring. Stephen is now probably the top expert in Cornwall on the analysis of damp problems in historic buildings (together with investigation and monitoring, particularly with porous materials), the use of lime mortars, the stabilisation of stonework and the methodology of joinery repairs. Cornwall’s historic buildings now need Stephen Tucker, and conservation specialists in the county all look to him for proper advice and often also for inspiration.

EB, Conservation Officer