Non-destructive testing of timber

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Non-destructive testing (NDT) may be defined as 'any means of determining the properties of a material, without causing significant changes to those properties'. This definition permits some degree of damage, providing the performance of the material, in this case timber, is not affected.

This Wood Information Sheet is an introduction to non-destructive testing of timber in buildings and other structures for architects, engineers, surveyors and building inspectors. The various NDT techniques are discussed, together with their capabilities and limitations. 



  • When to use NDT techniques
  • Inspection
  • NDT techniques
  • Use of NDT in surveys
  • Further reading

Suggested Reading

Assessment and repair of structural timbernavigation-arrow

Repairs become necessary when a building is no longer safe or serviceable for its intended purpose, or to restore or improve its appearance, performance or function.


Timber structures can be repaired using traditional all-timber methods, mechanical fasteners and adhesives, but only following survey and assessment that take account of...

25/03/2019 |  Wood Information Sheet  

Prolonged exposure of timber structuresnavigation-arrow

The successful use of externally exposed structural timber depends on using the right timber, good design, appropriate maintenance and correct specification of preservative treatments.


24/04/2019 |  Magazine Article  

Assessing structural timber elementsnavigation-arrow

In this extract from BM TRADA's Best practice guide to Timber in high-specification buildings, Dr John Williams discusses what to consider when assessing the condition of existing structural timber elements in refurbishment or conversion works.

Article from TRADA Timber Industry Yearbook 2015

01/01/2015 |  Magazine Article