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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Newman

3 Things to Know About Preserving Historic Buildings

Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Month is celebrated to provide a greater opportunity to appreciate the diverse and unique heritage of the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. During the month-long celebration, local preservation groups, state historical societies, and businesses across the country bring attention to historical buildings and spaces that define their communities.

Join Palacio as we wrap up Preservation Month by sharing key insights on the importance of preserving historic buildings with Senior Vice President, Susan M. Smith.

What makes a building historic?

Typically, a building that is 50 years old or more. However, there is a National Register of Historic Buildings. Most people think of historic buildings as the older, more ornate type buildings but, even structures from the 50’s can be on that register.

What challenges are there to preserving historic buildings?

Many such buildings have structural issues if they have been neglected for years. This can make them difficult to work on. The biggest issue for really old structures is finding matching materials and craftsmen to execute the work. I remember working on a historic theater in Savannah that had a lot of ornate plaster moldings. They ended up bringing in a team of plaster craftsmen from Italy to do the work.

Why is it important to include a cost manager on the design team?

It is important to have a cost manager that understands the unique requirements of historic projects. For example, what is the goal – is it renovation or restoration? These are very different approaches. For example, in a restoration, you would match materials and detailing as much as possible but, in the case of a renovation, it is more about making the building habitable, not necessarily matching the historic fabric.

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