Facade Ordinances and Historic Structures - Theoretical and Practical Conservation Issues in Inspection and Repair

December 30, 2004
Publication: Building Facade Maintenance, Repair, and Inspection, ASTM STP 1444 p 47-64
Author(s): CeCe Louie Kecia L. Fong

The primary concern of building facade inspection ordinances is to insure the safety of the public and surrounding property and to establish baseline cycles of inspection, maintenance and repair. While public safety is paramount, what these ordinances do not address are the appropriate means of investigation and remediation with respect to historic structures. Local preservation ordinances acknowledge the primacy of public safety, however, they do not provide direction for appropriate emergency interventions to preserve and protect a building's historic and architectural integrity. The lapse in continuity between facade inspection and preservation ordinances can result in unnecessary and irreparable loss of integrity and value. Work on historic structures poses distinct and often complex philosophical and practical issues requiring thoughtful and creative responses. The inspecting professional must be well informed of historic building practices, contemporary building codes, and established preservation standards and legislation to blend public safety and historic preservation needs effectively. This paper presents the theoretical and practical conservation issues involved in the inspection and repair of historic structures.

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