Ian Blanchard – Associate Director RSK Environment


BSc Geology
MSc Geochemistry
PhD, Department of Geological  Sciences

Ian is an associate director of RSK’s Materials and Structures  team and an experienced construction materials consultant. He  has worked for RSK (originally within STATS, now part of RSK)  since 2003. He is responsible for laboratory testing of building  materials, including natural and artificial stone and roofing slate,  to British, European and American standards, and for  consultancy, managing projects, reporting and quality control.

His principal areas of consultancy expertise are building  materials; stone and slate; investigation of problems  encountered using stone, cement-based and aggregate  materials; advising on appropriate selection and use of  construction materials and of appropriate design and materials  selection; in service performance of floors including slip risk and  abrasion; assessment of dampness and water ingress to floors,  roofs and walls.

Ian has specialist skills in the following areas:

▪ investigation of construction materials and building  defects
▪ providing consultancy services during the design  phase and construction phase of building work, and for  remedial and refurbishment works
▪ expert witness services, including presenting evidence  in court and participating in arbitration and mediation  hearings. Principal areas of expertise are in the

assessment of natural and artificial stone and slate  materials, flooring materials and construction defects,  assessment of slip risk and slip accident investigations
▪ particular expertise in assessing existing tiled floors for  condition and for their suitability for overtiling during  refurbishment projects
▪ laboratory testing of various construction materials,  most especially natural and artificial stone and slate
▪ investigation of staining and discolouration of  construction materials, cleaning and long-term

maintenance solutions
▪ on-site investigations regarding dampness in  construction materials, including leak detection in  structures and interpretation of findings
▪ inspection of stone defects in residential settings, in  particular worktops and internal flooring, through the  SFGB helpline.

Expert Witness History:

EXPERT WITNESS INSTRUCTIONS – INCLUDING PROVIDING EVIDENCE IN COURT Confidential client, pyrrhotite related damage to concrete – Quebec, Canada, 2017–2019

Expert investigation into causes of premature concrete deterioration owing to reactive coarse  aggregate. Commentary on the reliability of laboratory testing and consultancy advice provided by third  parties.

Confidential client, fibre-cement slate – London, 2006–2007

Acting as expert witness relating to the laboratory assessment of claimed defective fibre-cement roofing  slates. Ian’s role included laboratory assessment and review of laboratory data provided by third parties,  prior to acting as an expert including providing oral evidence in court.

EXPERT WITNESS INSTRUCTIONS – INCLUDING ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION HEARINGS Confidential client, failure of swimming pool tiling – Norfolk, 2018/2020

Expert investigation into causes of failure of grouting and tiles within a local authority swimming pool. Arbitration found in favour of RSK’s client

Confidential client, failure of stone grills around swimming pool – Hertfordshire, 2013/2015

Expert investigation into causes of failure by cracking and discoloration of natural stone tiles and  drainage grills surrounding a swimming pool in a high status

EXPERT WITNESS INSTRUCTIONS – SETTLED PRIOR TO COURT OR HEARINGS Mills & Reeve, cladding and screed investigation – Marlow, 2020

Expert investigation into discoloration of polyurethane cladding panels in a school sports hall wall and  of collapsed screed in a weights room.

DLG Legal Services, slip accident investigation – Banbury, 2017

Expert investigation into alleged slip accident on external paving to residential building INTU Broadmarsh – Nottingham, 2016

Expert investigation into the sources of water ingress to the building envelope through a hybrid  roof/bridge deck structure.

Luxury apartment hotel, investigation of wall and floor tiling – London, 2014/2015

Expert witness services on behalf of the architect, relating to staining and discoloration of basalt stone  tiling used on walls of the foyer and walls and floors of the guest bathrooms.

Confidential client, investigation into floor tile setting out – Colchester, 2012

Inspection of ceramic tiled floor installed as part of a refurbishment of an existing major retail unit. The  inspection focused on the setting out and workmanship inadequacies of the installation.

Confidential client, prison kitchen and shower room floor failure – Hull, 2008–2009

Acting as an expert witness, this was an investigation of both tiled and vinyl floor finishes included in a  prison extension and redevelopment. The investigation revealed that the floor failures were as a result  of the use of an inappropriate anhydrite screed in areas of floor that inevitably became wet in service,  causing expansion reactions of the screed and consequent failure of the flooring. Ian’s role was to

provide expert advice, together with suggestions for alternative materials to be used for remediation so  as to minimise the disruption to operations and consequential costs (for example in the necessary  provision of a temporary kitchen during the remediation).

Confidential client, aggregate reactions and heave – Dublin, 2008–2010

This investigation extends to various projects where Ian has acted as an assistant and co-investigator  assisting a fellow director acting as an expert witness in lawsuits totalling in excess of €100 million. The  investigation includes both on-site and laboratory assessment of a range of construction materials  following the allegation that crushed rock aggregate included pyrite and, consequently, was undergoing  expansive chemical reactions leading to damage of the overlying structures. RSK’s role in this  multidisciplinary project included on-site assessment of construction and consequent damage and  materials testing and evaluation services on the aggregate material and various concrete, blockwork  and mortar types used through the building, demonstrating that the causes of defects were inconsistent  with the alleged mechanism. (Note – this case settled after the claimants gave evidence in court but  prior to the defence experts doing so)


Balfour Beatty Construction, external stone paving – Northwich 2022

Assessment of reported failures of natural stone paving used on low-trafficked roads in mixed-use  retail/leisure complex. Assessment of design, materials selection and workmanship.

Winvic Construction, render inspection – Coventry 2021–2022

Inspection of rendered façade on newly constructed high-rise accommodation building following reports  of areas of unacceptable appearance.


Fellow of the Geological Society of  London (FGS)
Chartered Geologist
Stone Federation of Great Britain  Technical Committee (SFGB)
British Standards Committee B507/7 Other
Health and Safety Test for Site  Visitors, Construction Skills  Certification Scheme (CSCS)