Quantcast Building Use and Maintenance Priorities

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Point out which materials and which features of the
building are original and which ones date from later
repairs; alterations, or additions (building materials and
features are often referred to as the "fabric" of the
Identify both original and early (over 50 years old)
building elements, in order to avoid unintentional future
changes to historic fabric;
Identify structural or environmental conditions that may
contribute to deterioration; and
Provide information from which to develop a schedule of
regular maintenance procedures.
Buildings deteriorate because of physical, chemical, or
biological factors, or a combination of all three.  Some of these
factors were built into the structure itself, as a natural result
of design or building materials chosen.  Others come from
environmental factors such as temperature, sunlight, humidity, or
mechanical equipment vibrations.  Chemical pollutants in the air
or solvents used in normal cleaning processes can gradually
dissolve or break down building materials.  Vegetation, insects,
or vermin may take advantage of these conditions and do further
damage.  A well-planned maintenance program makes it possible to
monitor and control conditions in the building in order to slow
down deterioration and delay the need for replacement or repair,
as well as to predict future problems.
A good maintenance program identifies all the present causes
of deterioration, predicts problems that are likely to come up in
the future, and sets up an effective treatment program for the
entire structure.
Other Sources of Help in Maintenance Planning.  In addition
to the historic structure report, accurately measured
architectural drawings and photographs are helpful to record the
original fabric of the building, later alterations, and the
present physical conditions.  These records are sometimes
available from other federal agencies, such as the National
Archives and Records Service, the National Park Service (the
Historic American Buildings Survey), or the Library of Congress;
from the SHPO; or from local or regional archives in libraries
and historic or preservation societies.  Current drawings and
photographs may be needed to supplement historic data.
Building Use and Maintenance Priorities.  Maintenance
priorities must take into consideration the buildings use. A
building used by the public will face higher levels of stress and
different threats to its historic integrity than one used as a
private residence.


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