There is nothing quite like doing something yourself to improve your understanding of the process, materials and any complications that might occur. For this reason, HAA is always supportive of our architects taking up hands-on opportunities. Jennifer Castaldi has just returned from a week long masterclass on roofing, roof plumbing repair and reproduction methods run by the Longford Academy.

During the week, Jennifer built a rainwater head, barge flashing and gutters out of galvanised sheet metal, and was also shown the process for installing these items. Templates were used to cut the shapes out of the sheet which were rolled and folded then soldered together to form the items. Once completed, a scaffold was erected and the barge flashing was installed to protect the new barge capping northern end of the woodshed.

Held at the World Heritage listed Woolmers Estate outside Launceston, the Longford Academy provides training in conservation and traditional repair techniques for tradespeople and others involved in the care of old buildings. The maintenance of these methods and an appreciation of the traditional materials is important as modern construction practices and materials are often incompatible to the existing structure and increase the risk of further damage.