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

Achieving longevity in external structures: Croome Chinese Bridgenavigation-arrow

Andrew Holloway guides us through the reconstruction project for the Chinese Bridge at Croome Park, covering the specification, design, fabrication, preservative treatments and planning for the maintenance of the timber components.


27/05/2020 |  Magazine Article  

Inspecting timber bridgesnavigation-arrow

Specialised inspections for timber bridges are essential to prolong the service life of a bridge, and most importantly provide a safe structure for the intended use. Inspections provide an enhanced level of detail and expertise, complementing regular maintenance examinations of structures carried out by the asset managers. Nick Clifford explains.


27/05/2020 |  Magazine Article  

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