Historic preservation or conservation (UK) aims to preserve and protect the built environment. This includes buildings, monuments, landscapes and sites which embody cultural and historical significance. Relics of the past which are identified with a key historical person, event, architectural style, engineering feat or reflection of the past deserve protection from the encroachment of development, insensitive additions, change of use, and demolition. The tenants of preservation are to ‘do no harm’ to the structure and to balance interventions with sensitivity to the building fabric, historical significance, and ensure that additions or stabilization efforts are reversible.
As these structures are often 50 years or older, they are already beyond the architects’ original design life. Stewards of landmark buildings are tasked with preserving landmark structures in perpetuity in some cases. Dealing with deterioration of aging building materials, on-going routine maintenance, and preservation of the building fabric can become a complex labyrinth to navigate all while remaining true to the original design intent.
When assessing landmark buildings, archaeological sites, and monuments it is key that the inspection team understand the SOI’s Standards for Preservation, and governing criteria to ensure the least invasive approach which gains the most knowledge about the structure. Due to the ephemeral nature of some building materials, the most delicate approach must be taken.
The role of non-destructive evaluations (NDE) and testing programs becomes critical where minimal material removal is desired. The balance of a variety of NDE techniques coupled with a sound knowledge of historic construction materials and details is required to understand the behavior and deterioration which impacts these structures. Additionally, the use of measured building surveys on these structures can assist in the accurate documentation of the structure prior to intervention.
Echem’s key staff are versed and educated in material conservation, historic building construction, preservation philosophy, engineering, and NDE. We have consulted on landmark structures throughout the United States, and on an international level, and have worked with governing bodies such as English Heritage, and the Getty Conservation Institute. Our team will provide the utmost care when assessing either general conditions or corrosion related deterioration on your landmark structure. Our work spans history from the stabilization of Hellenistic ruins in Crimea, to the preservation of composite iron frame of the world’s last remaining clipper ship, to landmark contemporary concrete buildings.