Building restoration

describes a particular treatment approach and philosophy within the field of architectural conservation.

According to the U.S. Secretary of Interior’s standards, “Restoration is said as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code-required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a restoration project.”[1]

In the United States restoration is different from preservation (American English, conservation in British English) by allowing the removal of historic materials to create an accurate portrayal of a particular time period, not necessarily the original or final time periods.

Overview

In the field of historic preservation, building restoration is the action or process of accurately revealing, recovering or representing the state of a historic building, as it appeared at a particular period in its history, while protecting its heritage value. Restoration work may be performed to reverse decay, or alterations made to the building(s)

Since Historic Building Conservation is more about fostering a deep appreciation for these famous structures and learning more about why they exist, rather than just keeping historic structures standing tall and looking as beautiful as ever, true historic building preservation aims for a high level of authenticity, accurately replicating historic materials and techniques as much as possible, ideally using modern techniques only in a concealed manner where they will not compromise the historic character of the structure’s appearance.[2]

For instance a restoration might involve the replacement of outdated heating and cooling systems with newer ones, or the installation of climate controls that never existed at the time of building after careful study. Tsarskoye Selo, the complex of former royal palaces outside St Petersburg in Russia is an example of this sort of work.

Exterior and interior paint colors present similar problems over time. Air pollution, acid rain, and sun take a toll, and often many layers of different paint exist. Historic paint analysis of old paint layers now allow a corresponding chemical recipe and color to be re-produced. But this is often only a beginning as many of the original materials are either unstable or in many cases environmentally unsound. Many eighteenth century greens were made with arsenic and lead, materials no longer allowed in paints. Another problem occurs when the original pigment came from a material no longer available. For example, in the early to mid-19th century, some browns were produced from bits of ground mummies. In cases like this the standards allow other materials with similar appearance to be used and organizations like Britain’s National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty will work with a historic paint color re-creator s to replicate the antique paints in durable, stable, and environmentally safe materials. In the United States the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a helpful resource. The polychrome painted interiors of the Vermont State House and Boston Public Library are examples of this type of heritage restoration.

Secretary of Interiors standards for restoration

 

In the United States, the Secretary of Interior is the head of the National Park Service which owns and maintains thousands of historic buildings and has been a leader in historic preservation for over 100 years. The standards were developed in 1975 and updated in 1992.[3] The standards deal with the “…materials, features, finishes, spaces, and spatial relationships…”[4] of historic buildings and are divided into preservation, rehabilitating, restoration and reconstruction. It helps to understand what building restoration is in context with the other standards:

  • Preservation“places a high premium on the retention of all historic fabric through conservation, maintenance and repair.” All materials added to a building over its life are retained and only work which is necessary to protect it from deterioration is carried out.
  • Rehabilitationis a standard for preservation but is more lenient because it presumes the building is so deteriorated that it needs some repairs to prevent further deterioration.
  • Restorationincludes preservation, leaving as much material untouched as possible, reconstruction to replace missing elements, and repair work to bring the building to a historically accurate condition in one particular time period. This may include removing some historic building elements (after documenting them) to make the building historically accurate for a specific date in history.
  • Reconstructionallows the re-creation of a missing building or element in all new, appropriate materials.

The first steps in a restoration to the Secretary’s standards are to study the building and choose a time period for the restoration. The new use of the building should be consistent with the original use or at least with the time period of the restoration. Materials which were added after the chosen time period must be documented and then may be removed while preserving and repairing the appropriate materials. Materials missing may be reconstructed to “…match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials.” which are evidence based. Modern chemical and physical treatments may be gently used if they do not damage the historic materials, and archaeological resources will be preserved or mitigated. The standards recognize that there are inherent conflicts with modern codes and regulations for energy efficiency, health, safety, and accessibility. The standards allow sensitive alterations of historic buildings to meet the spirit of the codes and regulations, if necessary.

Storm Restoration

Storm restoration is the restoring of a building due to damage from a severe storm. Most damage is caused by strong wind gusts or hail, but may also include large amounts of rainfall, lightning strikes,[5] as well as extreme storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes. The majority of storm damage occurs on roofs, sides of structures, and in basements, but over time causes damage to the interior. Unlike heritage restoration, storm restoration takes place on buildings with no historic significance as well

Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.

The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.

An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a sump pump, many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to “Sewer and Drain Coverage”.

Those individuals who are affected by wide scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program.[1] On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the FEMA Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received $1.2 million FEMA grant after flooding in June 2008. The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space.

  • Preservation“places a high premium on the retention of all historic fabric through conservation, maintenance and repair.” All materials added to a building over its life are retained and only work which is necessary to protect it from deterioration is carried out.
  • Rehabilitationis a standard for preservation but is more lenient because it presumes the building is so deteriorated that it needs some repairs to prevent further deterioration.
  • Restorationincludes preservation, leaving as much material untouched as possible, reconstruction to replace missing elements, and repair work to bring the building to a historically accurate condition in one particular time period. This may include removing some historic building elements (after documenting them) to make the building historically accurate for a specific date in history.
  • Reconstructionallows the re-creation of a missing building or element in all new, appropriate materials.

The first steps in a restoration to the Secretary’s standards are to study the building and choose a time period for the restoration. The new use of the building should be consistent with the original use or at least with the time period of the restoration. Materials which were added after the chosen time period must be documented and then may be removed while preserving and repairing the appropriate materials. Materials missing may be reconstructed to “…match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials.” which are evidence based. Modern chemical and physical treatments may be gently used if they do not damage the historic materials, and archaeological resources will be preserved or mitigated. The standards recognize that there are inherent conflicts with modern codes and regulations for energy efficiency, health, safety, and accessibility. The standards allow sensitive alterations of historic buildings to meet the spirit of the codes and regulations, if necessary.

Causes

Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, flood waters and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks.[3] On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.[4] According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim costs in the US. Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator icemakers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.

As far as insurance coverage is concerned, most damage caused by bad weather is considered flood damage and normally is not covered under homeowners insurance. Coverage for bad weather would usually require flood insurance

  • Category 1 Water – Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as “clean water“. Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.Category 2 Water – Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as “grey water“. This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.Category 3 Water – Known as “black water” and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affects the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.

    Classes

    Class of water damage is determined by the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded. Determining the class of water damage is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilized to dry-down the structure.

    Class 1 – Slow Rate of Evaporation. Affects only a portion of a room. Materials have a low permeance/porosity. Minimum moisture is absorbed by the materials.

    Class 2 – Fast Rate of Evaporation. Water affects the entire room of carpet and cushion. May have wicked up the walls, but not more than 24 inches.

    Class 3 – Fastest Rate of Evaporation. Water generally comes from overhead, affecting the entire area; walls, ceilings, insulation, carpet, cushion, etc.

    Class 4 – Specialty Drying Situations. Involves materials with a very low permeance/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster, etc. Drying generally requires very low specific humidity to accomplish drying.

    Restoration

    Different removal methods and measures are used depending on the category of water. Due to the destructive nature of water, chosen restoration methods also depend heavily on the amount of water, and on the amount of time the water has remained stagnant. For example, as long as carpet has not been wet for longer than 48 hours, and the water involved was not sewage based, a carpet can usually be saved; however, if the water has soaked for longer, then the carpet is probably irreparable and will have to be replaced. Water damage restoration can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional water damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore water damaged property.

    Standards and regulatio

    While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two certifying bodies, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. The IICRC-recommended standard is IICRC S500.

    Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state’s Department of Consumer Affairs – usually the state contractors license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board. Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for “water and fire damage restoration.”

    Procedures

    Water damage restoration is often prefaced by a loss assessment and evaluation of affected materials. The damaged area is inspected with water sensing equipment such as probes and other infrared tools in order to determine the source of the damage and possible extent of area affected. Restoration services would then be rendered to the residence in order to dry the structure, sanitize any affected or cross contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the labor is completed, water damage equipment including air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and sub floor drying equipment is left in the residence. Industry standards state that drying vendors should return at regular time intervals, preferably every twenty-four hours, to monitor the equipment, temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the affected walls and contents.

    Restoration

    Different restoration methods and measures are used depending on the type of fire damage that occurred. Restoration after fire damage can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional fire damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore fire damaged property due to their training and extensive experience. Most are usually listed under “Fire and Water Restoration” and they can help speed repairs, whether for individual homeowners or for the largest of institutions.

    Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state’s Department of Consumer Affairs – usually the state contractor’s license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board. Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for “water and fire damage restoration.” Hence, the Contractor’s State License Board requires both an asbestos certification (ASB) as well as a demolition classification (C-21) in order to perform Fire and Water Restoration work.

     

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