When working with a historic structure you must remember that aside from the end goal of preservation, rehabilitation, etc. , there are also often environmental and safety hazards that need to be taken into consideration.
A good place to start? Perform a building condition assessment.
Building Condition Assessment
Building condition assessments should always be the first step when dealing with a historic structure, regardless of whether the goal is preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation.
There are two primary reasons for completing a condition assessment: to identify the materials and features of a historic structure, and determine their condition.
The National Park Service has put together a useful post containing tips on the best way to complete a condition assessment. Lastly, it is important that issues discovered during a condition assessment are addressed quickly and appropriately to avoid further complications.
Historic Structures Reports
“A historic structure report provides documentary, graphic, and physical information about a property’s history and existing condition. Broadly recognized as an effective part of preservation planning, a historic structure report also addresses management or owner goals for the use or re-use of the property. It provides a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment, prior to the commencement of work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The report serves as an important guide for all changes made to a historic property during a project-repair, rehabilitation, or restoration-and can also provide information for maintenance procedures. Finally, it records the findings of research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, for future researchers.”Preservation Brief 43: The Preparation and Use of Historic Structures Reports
- Information on Lead Paint from the EPA
- Lead Abatement, Inspection and Risk Assessment
- Preservation Brief 39: Appropriate Methods for Reducing Lead-Paint Hazards in Historic Buildings
Asbestos resilience to heat, fire, chemicals and other outside factors made it a popular choice for construction materials.
It is important to examine and evaluate the structural condition of a historic building before moving forward with any work.