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5 Heritage Building Restoration Challenges

The historical and cultural significance of a heritage building is huge. As time passes and outside factors affect the building, however, it will wear down. In this case, a heritage building restoration is your best option. However, heritage building restoration services aren’t as simple as putting a fresh coat of paint on the outside. You will face many challenges that are unique to the heritage building restoration process, and you must prepare for them beforehand; this starts by understanding what they are and how they will affect your approach. That being said, here are five of the most common heritage building restoration challenges that you will come across:

1. Doing Irreparable Damage While Trying To Restore the Heritage Building

Many heritage buildings feature building materials that haven't been used in over a century. Such materials are not designed to withstand the abuse that contemporary physical and chemical construction tools cause. In many cases, these building materials are also irreplaceable. You could end up permanently destroying a part of your heritage building during the restoration process if you don't use the right tools.

2. Patching Up What You Should Be Replacing

A small hole, short crack or lone crumbling brick may seem like a harmless cosmetic defect, but it could signal a greater issue with your heritage building that needs to be fixed ASAP. For instance, a crack in the wrong place could indicate foundation issues; a crumbling brick could mean that there has been so much wear that you need to reinforce the structure.

3. Making Some Inappropriate Additions to the Heritage Building

You aren't just trying to make sure that a heritage building is a fully functional structure that can be used for any purpose. You want to restore it to the condition that it was in when it was first constructed. If you started making modern or historically inaccurate additions to the building during the restoration process, then it could lose most of its historical value.

4. Meeting or Overcoming Modern Building Codes without Ruining the Building

Modern building codes exist to maintain building safety -- based on contemporary building construction methods and materials. These rules and regulations do not consider the fact that heritage buildings are very different from a building constructed last week. Overcoming this challenge will require you to educate your local government and possibly use some creativity to meet certain standards without harming the building.

5. Finding a Restoration Team That Will Get the Job Done Right

Most of the above challenges with restoring a heritage building can be overcome if you have an expert restoration team working with you throughout the process. For example, an engineering team that specializes in historical building restoration services will have the tools and know how to complete restoration tasks to meet the restoration's exacting requirements.

However, finding an experienced restoration team is not easy, since even the most seasoned construction professionals are only experts in the most modern building and restoration methods. The key here is to research carefully and take your time finding the right contractors, because there are professionals in every relevant industry that specialize in historical building restoration.

Despite the Challenges You Face, a Proper Restoration Can Be Performed on Nearly Any Heritage Building

Now that you recognize some of the biggest challenges that you will face with heritage building restoration, you can better prepare yourself to overcome them -- and possibly avoid them altogether. For more information, contact us at Heather & Little today!

Preservation Consulting

And if you are looking for a second opinion on your project or have a particularly complex issue that needs a fresh eye, we’re here for that too. Tackling tricky challenges is our specialty and we welcome the opportunity to provide consulting advice, with the same exacting attention to detail we bring to all our commissions.
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