Look But Don’t Touch: Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) of Historic Buildings – Fundamentals and Real World Applications

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Look But Don’t Touch: Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) of Historic Buildings – Fundamentals and Real World Applications

April 6, 2017 - April 7, 2017

Documentation can comprise many layers of information from various sources, relying on visual assessment and physical measurement in many cases. What tools are available to preservationists when there is a requirement to understand construction arrangement and condition below the surface? This symposium is designed to introduce the audience to the variety of technologies available, describing the fundamental methods for collecting and analyzing data and taking a look at the limitations of those tools in real word applications. Topics covered will include Ground Penetrating Radar, Infrared Thermal Imaging, Ultrasonic and Magnetic Testing, Laser Scanning, Photo-documentation and Backscatter X-ray Imaging.

This two-day, free symposium is open to practicing preservation professionals and any students of historic preservation, architecture or allied fields. Participants may attend either or both sessions. Advance registration is required. Please visit:

Session One:
April 6, 2017 // 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Introductory Lecture
Non-Destructive Evaluation of Historic Buildings
Presenters: Alex Bell & Alan White, GB Geotechnics USA Inc.
Location Host:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Historic Preservation Program Studio
116 South Michigan Avenue, 15th Floor, Chicago IL

Session Two:
April 7, 2017 // 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Glessner House – Hands-On Demonstration Sessions
Infrared Thermography, Ground Penetrating Radar and Metal
Detection and Photo-documentation.
Location Host:
Glessner House Museum
1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago IL


Alan White is the Director of Operations for GB Geotechnics USA Inc. (GBG), with almost 20 years of preservation experience, ranging from hands-on restoration of medieval properties in the UK to implementation of emerging technologies for the nondestructive evaluation and measured survey of historic structures across the US. With a background in engineering (University of Hertfordshire, UK, BEng. (Hons.) and expertise in data collection & analysis (10 years’ experience with GBG), he specializes in the documentation of the built environment, providing highly accurate and detailed construction arrangement and condition assessments. Located on the West Coast, he
serves on the Board of the APT Western Chapter and is actively involved with the California Preservation Foundation.

Alex Bell is the Managing Principal of the New York City office of GB Geotechnics USA Inc. (GBG). He is a Civil/Structural Engineer with 18 years’ experience in undertaking, coordinating and managing innovative structural  nvestigations of varying magnitude using intrusive and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques within the built environment. He has conducted a wide range of structural investigations and condition assessments of contemporary and historic structures, both in the USA and the UK. With a dual degree background, he is currently dividing his professional responsibilities between managing NDE-based and crossover structural investigations and providing engineering support to domestic and international GBG office. Moreover, he has carried out hundreds of building pathology investigations and assessments, utilizing a full range of non-Intrusive investigation tools and calling on his knowledge of the behaviour of structures and materials under various distress conditions.


SAIC, APT WGL, Glessner House Museum, Historic Resources KC








April 6, 2017
April 7, 2017
Event Category:


AIA Chicago