3.1 LONG-RANGE HISTORIC RESOURCE MAINTENANCE PLANNING. The key
to good maintenance of historic buildings is a long-range
maintenance plan. Long-range planning recognizes a
responsibility to the future to prolong the useful life of a
building by preserving it in its present condition and preventing
or slowing deterioration and damage from natural or other causes.
Designing a good maintenance plan for a historic building is
not hard, but it does require some thought. For instance, it
requires being aware of the specific architectural character of
the building. Every historic building has certain
"character-defining " architectural features and building
elements --its doors, windows, roofs, and ornamental detailing are
obvious ones. These elements tell us much about when it was
built and why, and sometimes even who designed it and for whom it
was built. When such features are lost or changed, the building
is said to have lost its architectural or historic integrity.
Its essential character is gone. It may still be a good, useful,
and even beautiful building, but it is no longer the same
Standard modern repair and maintenance techniques and
materials are often acceptable for use on historic buildings, but
they sometimes do more harm than good. Using the wrong materials
or methods to maintain or repair (or, when necessary, replace)
important features can destroy the integrity of the building and
may even shorten its useful life. Each case must be carefully
thought through. The earlier the planning takes place, the more
likely it is to have a good effect.
An experienced preservation architect may usefully be brought
in from outside the government to assist with scoping, plan
review, specification writing and construction supervision. This
may be accomplished by means of an Indefinite Quantity Contract,
or in some instances through the good offices of the American
Institute of Architects, which can sometimes arrange for
professional volunteers or at least minimum cost assistance.
Historic Structure Report. A historic structure report is
the best place to begin in setting up a long-range maintenance
plan. The report is a thorough analysis of the existing
structure by a specialist in the field of historic preservation.
o Record the existing condition of the structure;