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Conservation maintenance management

Establishing a research agenda - Nigel Dann, Derek Worthing and Stephen Bond

Abstract

This paper examines some of the key aspects of the process of maintenance management of the built cultural heritage. It is primarily based on responses to a questionnaire from a number of maintenance managers all of whom are responsible for significant stocks of historic buildings within their portfolios. The research identifies two types of organisation; ‘heritage focused’ and ‘non-heritage focused’. It examines differences in approach between them in the following key areas, aims and objectives of the organisation, the use of external consultants and condition surveys, prioritisation and costs. The paper identifies areas for further research, it also suggests that the identification of cultural significance embodied in the fabric of historic buildings and consideration of its vulnerability should be a prerequisite for determining approaches to maintenance management.

Key words

Maintenance management, Historic buildings, Cultural significance, Conservation principles, Condition surveys, Prioritisation.

 

 

Conservation maintenance management - Establishing a research agenda

Nigel Dann, Derek Worthing and Stephen Bond

"Maintenance is the single most important conservation process. Whether the place is architectural, mechanical or botanical, prevention is better than cure." (Semple Kerr 1996)

 

INTRODUCTION

This paper presents a preliminary evaluation of a questionnaire intended to examine some key aspects of the process of managing the maintenance of the built cultural heritage. It focuses on estates that contain significant numbers of listed buildings, scheduled ancient monuments or buildings contained within conservation areas. Throughout this paper we will refer to them as ‘historic buildings’. The purpose of the questionnaire is to highlight an agenda for further research in an area that currently has little published research.


CONTEXT

With his call, in 1897, to ‘..put protection in the place of restoration, to stave of decay by daily care’, William Morris (1877) highlighted importance that maintenance plays in protecting historic buildings.

National and international guidelines all emphasise the importance of regular maintenance based on the principle of minimal intervention. The Burra Charter (ICOMOS, Australia 1979) defines conservation as being ‘all of the processes of looking after a place so as to retain cultural significance’. It goes on to state that ‘the cultural significance of a place is embodied in its fabric, its setting and its contents.’ The charter develops this by stressing that retaining cultural significance must necessarily involve the least possible intervention. The Venice Charter (ICOMOS 1964) states ‘it is essential to the conservation of monuments that they be maintained on a regular basis’. Other international guidelines and codes for conservation all make similar points. BS 7913:1998 ‘The Principles of the Conservation of Historic Buildings’ (BSI, 1998) states that ‘systematic care based on good housekeeping is both cost effective and fundamental to good conservation’

The British Standards Institute describes maintenance as ‘ A combination of any actions carried out to retain an item in, or restore it to, an acceptable condition’ (BSI, 1964). For the maintenance of the majority of buildings, the distinction between repair, restoration and improvement will not be conceptually important (although it might be procedurally important). However, for historic buildings these definitions, and the action, which could follow, are of fundamental importance. The essential aim of maintenance when dealing with non-historic buildings is to retain a continuity of function (weathertightness, appearance, etc.). For historic buildings, in addition to the continuity of function, it is the fabric itself that is important because of its cultural significance - the building itself is an artefact.

‘As little as necessary, as much as possible’ is a commonly expressed maxim in regard to conserving historic buildings and is a concept which adds another dimension to debates about planned-preventive, planned and response maintenance. The Burra Charter (ICOMOS,1979) specifically defines maintenance as ‘the continuous protective care of the fabric, and is to be distinguished from repair’. Obviously repair works are inevitable from time to time. However in most cases repair will involve restoration or reconstruction and needs to be treated with caution. Repair works can of course be seen to contribute to the historical development of the fabric – authentic, if not original. Whatever action is proposed it must be borne in mind that the overall aim is to retain cultural significance.

The principles to be considered during repair and maintenance work to historic buildings are set out in some detail in English Heritage’s‘The Repair of Historic Buildings’ (Brereton, 1991), in the Society for the Protection of Ancient Building’s (SPAB) ‘The purpose of SPAB’ (SPAB, 1987) and more recently in BS 7913. These remain a practical guide to conservation principles in action and include:

  • Honesty
     
  • Exacting recording
     
  • Reversibility
     
  • The need for research
     
  • Repair above restoration
     
  • Fitting the new to the old (and not the other way round)
     
  • Authenticity
     

What is not explicitly contained in these documents is consideration of broader ‘first principles’ reinforcing the need to determine cultural significance and vulnerability.

Recent guidance (Feilden & Jokilheto, 1992 and Kerr Semple 1996) is developing these two themes, of cultural significance and vulnerability, in relation to the wider management of built cultural heritage. This guidance emphasises that two factors need to be understood and articulated:

· What it is about a place that makes it culturally significant?

· What threats are there to the factors which make it culturally significant?

We suggest that these ideas should become part of maintenance management planning.

The determination of significance will raise a number of questions about authenticity, originality etc., that in turn raise questions of relative value and prioritisation.

There is general agreement that maintenance is a key process in the care of historic buildings. Yet, despite a number of significant and distinctive responsibilities imposed on those managing them, there has been little published discussion regarding the differences in approach that should be taken toward their maintenance management. We would suggest that when you move from a position where property is a resource, which might help deliver corporate goals, to a situation where the goal is the care and retention of cultural significance, this must entail a rethink of approaches to be adopted.

THE SCOPE OF THE PRIMARY RESEARCH

Two types of organisation with portfolios containing a variety of historicbuildings were identified for the purposes of this research:

  • Those organisations where the care for historic buildings is a core business activity (termed ‘heritage focused organisations’)
     
  • Those where the care for historic buildings is not a core business activity (termed ‘non-heritage focused organisations’)

The majority of historic buildings are individually owned - these remain outside the scope of this research.

We asked how and why the respondents carried out certain tasks (and within what context). Our purpose was to:

  • Identify significant differences between the approaches adopted to maintenance management between these two groups.
     
  • Highlight problems in the maintenance management of historic buildings.
     
  • Work towards developing a research agenda.

The range of organisations sampled, although not a statistically valid sample across the range of different organisations responsible for managing historic buildings, was valid for the purposes of establishing a research agenda. The questionnaire specifically asked the respondents about the care of historic buildings within their estate. It was sent to 60 maintenance managers, 36 of these returned the questionnaire. The respondents covered the following organisational types:

  • Local authorities
     
  • Organisations with national standing in the field of heritage conservation who also manage significant portfolios of historic buildings.
     
  • Large government organisations with a stock of historic buildings - some with a degree of statutory responsibility.
     
  • Ecclesiastical bodies.
  • Building Preservation Trusts.
     
  • Museums.
     
  • Health authorities.
     
  • Large urban residential estates.
     
  • Universities.

The principal focus of activity of the respondent’s organisations varied considerably. 17% of the organisations were focused specifically on caring for historic buildings, 62% were property-based organisations with a significant proportion of historic buildings within its portfolio. The remainder were not property based but retained a significant responsibility for historic buildings. 66% were public sector organisations, 34% were private sector. In terms of location 38% were city based, 33% were regionally based, 16% county based, 13% were national.

The respondents collectively cared for 1431 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, 5028 non-listed buildings contained within Conservation Areas and 10,016 listed buildings. The ratio of different grades differed from the national pattern;

Grade I 7% (nationally 2%)

Grade II* 13% (nationally 4%)

Grade II 80% (nationally 94%)

 
 

RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT AND METHODOLOGY

In developing the research methodology the authors drew upon the substantial body of experience at UWE into maintenance management across a variety of sectors (See for example Holmes & Spedding, 1992, Marshall & Worthing, 1998 and Spedding, 1987). In 1995 the authors carried out a consultancy project which looked at the effectiveness and efficiency of the maintenance management organisation within English Heritage. Additionally one of the authors has extensive experience of the management of historic buildings, latterly as Surveyor to the Fabric of Historic Royal Palaces.

The focus of the research was developed from this previous work via interviews with selected maintenance managers of historic buildings. From this a draft questionnaire was formulated and piloted. After comments were received back a number of redrafts of the questionnaire were undertaken. The final version of the questionnaire contained 45 questions which covered an extensive range of issues, however this paper examines the following key areas:

  • The aims and objectives of the organisation related to conservation principles and policy.
     
  • The use of external consultants.
     
  • Condition surveys, prioritisation and costs.

 

INTERPRETATION OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE

AIMS & OBJECTIVES OF THE ORGANISATIONS

An important management requirement for any organisation is that its primary aims are clearly and explicitly formulated and disseminated. Maintenance management policies (and attendant procedures) should both reflect and support the delivery of these overall aims. The fundamental factor concerning estates containing historic buildings, which should affect the approach adopted toward maintenance management, is that the fabric has cultural significance and is important in itself - not just because of the function it performs. We could assume that for heritage focused organisations, conservation principles (as outlined in the context section) are incorporated with the overall aims and objectives of the organisation and cascade down the organisation. However, with respect to organisations whose core aims and objectives are not heritage focused, we were interested in how conservation principles were both incorporated and disseminated.

We asked if the respondent’s organisation had explicit conservation principles guiding the maintenance management process for historic buildings in their care:

TABLE I

Of the heritage focused organisations

50% had explicit conservation principles
50% had no explicit conservation principles

Of the non-heritage focused organisations

15% had explicit conservation principles
85% had no explicit conservation principles

Commentary

  • It was interesting to discover that so few of the heritage focused organisations had an explicit expression of conservation principles. The overall results confirm the impression that few of these organisations formalise policies. However given the business culture within which most of the organisations are operating and more significantly the statutory obligations imposed upon them, the lack of a mission statement or an explicit statement of conservation principles is surprising.
  • Although we had an expectation that the non-heritage focused organisations would be less likely to have an explicit expression of conservation principles, the question arises how do these organisations signal when particular approaches should be used for historic buildings in their care?
  • These results have implications for the measurement of performance, is it possible for performance to be measured against something which is implicit? What are the priorities of the organisation?

Without an explicit statement of conservation principles we can suggest that there is a danger that the fundamental ideas of significance and vulnerability could be overlooked.

 
The respondents were asked to describe whether their organisations had an explicit means by which they developed and disseminated the organisation's conservation principles:

TABLE II

Of the heritage focused organisations

67%had no explicit means for development and dissemination
33%had an explicit means for development and dissemination

Of the non-heritage focused organisations

76% had no explicit means for development and dissemination
24% had an explicit means for development and dissemination

Commentary

  • Those that responded positively to this particular question were asked if they would include the form by which the conservation principles were disseminated. This varied from single A4 documents to complex manuals and guides for both the general and the particular. A number of organisations included information about their corporate conservation principles within Annual Reports. Some of these were returned with the questionnaire, it was unclear how this information was distributed within the organisation.
  • When dealing with historic buildings there is an increased onus to disseminate conservation principles and policies to both staff and public. All need to know what can and cannot be done to the historic fabric, contents and the like in the course of their activities.
  • These responses imply that although there is little official development or dissemination of conservation principles within a significant proportion of the organisations, where there is discussion or development this appears to occur on an informal basis. Clear procedural mechanisms for the development and dissemination of conservation principles would not appear to be a management priority for the majority of the respondents' organisations.
  • The lack of explicit channels for the development and dissemination of the organisation's conservation principles could create inefficiencies in relation to the use of external consultants. Also where there are implicit principles, there are potential conflicts with the external consultant's own conservation principles.

 
The respondents were asked to describe the role that they played in disseminating and implementing conservation principles relating to the built fabric:

TABLE III

In the heritage focused organisations

83% of maintenance managers had some responsibility for dissemination or implementation
17% of maintenance managers had no responsibility for dissemination or implementation

In the non-heritage focused organisations

48% of maintenance managers had some responsibility for dissemination
52% of maintenance managers had no responsibility for dissemination
65% of maintenance managers had some responsibility for implementation
35% of maintenance managers had no responsibility for implementation

Commentary

  • It was surprising that in any organisation with historic buildings that maintenance managers were neither disseminating nor implementing conservation principles. This is particularly true in the heritage focused organisations. If it is not the maintenance manager who is disseminating and implementing conservation principles, it reinforces the question about how organisations ensure that this is undertaken?

The respondents were asked to indicate what was currently incorporated into the organisation's conservation principles:

TABLE IV

In the heritage focused organisations,

83% “thorough and exacting recording of all details of the building'
83%“maximum respect for the fabric of the building as found”
100%“minimal intervention in the fabric of the building”
83%“reversibility of any repairs”
83%“regular maintenance is preferable to repair”

In the non-heritage focused organisations,

31% “thorough and exacting recording of all details of the building”
58%“maximum respect for the fabric of the building as found”
55%“minimal intervention in the fabric of the building”
27%“reversibility of any repairs”
48%“regular maintenance is preferable to repair”

Commentary

  • It was surprising that these benchmarks were not included by all the heritage focused organisations. It was the same organisations which were consistent in their non-inclusion of the particular principles.
     
  • Whilst we might have expected a difference between the heritage and non-heritage focused organisations, we were surprised at the significantly lower take up of principles amongst the non-heritage focused organisations. This has potentially serious implications for the treatment of the historic buildings concerned.
     
  • We note the number of maintenance managers who identified that thorough and exacting recording was not incorporated. If the role of maintenance in conservation is to retain cultural significance, as this paper and more recent development of principles assert, then thorough and exacting recording is a fundamental prerequisite for effective maintenance management.

Summary

  • Whilst the heritage focused organisations had a more co-ordinated approach to conservation principles there were significant gaps amongst the non-heritage focused organisations.
  • Conservation principles, aims and policies are rarely explicitly developed or published within the majority of organisations. This potentially could lead to:
  • Poor conservation, leading to damage to historic buildings which could otherwise be prevented.
  • Problems in judging performance.
  • Failure to take the opportunity to think from first principles, in particular a thorough consideration of cultural significance embodied in the fabric, and how policy and procedures can protect and sustain this.

 

SPECIALISED EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS

Employing specialised and expert advice is a considerable management responsibility in many estates. Given the significance and potential vulnerability of the historic fabric, achieving an appropriate balance of familiarity and expertise should be a particular concern for maintenance managers of historic buildings. The degree of concern may reflect the conservation sensitivity of the particular specialised service in question. For historic buildings it could be considered irresponsible for the maintenance organisation to pass control of particular aspects of its care entirely to others.

94% of the respondents made use of external consultants

The respondents were asked to identify all the reasons for using external consultants:

TABLE V

In the heritage focused organisations

66% excessive workload for in-house staff
34% the provision of a specialist view
17% to provide an independent view

In the non-heritage focused organisations

80%excessive workload for in-house staff
72%the provision of a specialist view
35%to provide an independent view
10%to make use of the consultant's PI cover

The respondents were asked to describe how their organisation ensured that external consultants were informed of any conservation principles and policies:

TABLE VI

In the heritage focused organisations

17%provided no response
66%indicated that this was undertaken via guidelines, manuals or design briefs.
17%indicated that this was carried out by a mixture of pre-tender discussion, contract documents or by management agreements.

In the non-heritage focused organisations

35%provided no response
44%indicated that this was undertaken via guidelines, manuals or design briefs.
6%indicated that this was carried out by briefings on appointment.
6%indicated that they were vetted by committee.
9%indicated that this was carried out by a mixture of pre-tender discussion, contract documents or by management agreements.

The respondents were asked to describe the extent to which they were involved in the appointment of external consultants and to what degree they were involved in monitoring the external consultant's work:

TABLE VII

In the heritage focused organisations

66%were responsible for the appointment of external consultants.
83%were responsible for monitoring the work of external consultants.

In the non-heritage focused organisations

86% were responsible for the appointment of external consultants.
75% were responsible for monitoring the work of external consultants.

Commentary

  • The widespread use of external consultants was not a particular suprise. Questions can be raised about how they were managed. Of particular concern must be the disparity between the proportion of those who use external consultants (94%) and those who monitor their work (83% & 75%).
     
  • Given the vulnerability of the fabric, we can suggest that both clear communication lines and an articulation of conservation principles are essential components for effective management of consultants. Clearly with a high percentage of respondents making no response, this remains an important outstanding issue.
     
  • The respondents were asked to indicate which maintenance management activities were usually carried out in-house or by external consultants (NB where the percentages do not add up to 100%, a number of the respondents failed to respond to the question):

    TABLE VIII

    In the heritage focused organisations

    In-houseExternallyMixture of both
    Contract admin. & site monitoring80%020%
    Statutory applications100%00
    Dilapidation reports33%33%33%
    Project management80%020%
    Condition surveys60% 20%20%
    Building surveys50%17%33%
    Rent review33%33%33%
    Planning supervisor50% 50%0%
    Architectural/design services17%33%50%
    Valuations20%60%20%
    Fire insurance valuations25% 50%25%
    Land surveying25% 50%25%
    Litigation33% 33%33%
    Archaeological services20%40%40%
    Recording services17%83%0
    Quantity surveying20%60%20%

    In the non-heritage focused organisations

    In-houseExternallyMixture of both
    Contract admin. & site monitoring 58%13% 13%
    Statutory applications48%24% 17%
    Dilapidation reports52%24% 17%
    Project management45%24% 21%
    Condition surveys 48%24% 21%
    Building surveys45%28% 21%
    Rent review 41%41% 3%
    Planning supervisor34%48% 10%
    Dilapidations reports52%24% 7%
    Architectural/design services34%38%17%
    Valuations38%48%7%
    Fire insurance valuations41%38%3%
    Land surveying34%52%0
    Litigation24%59%3%
    Archaeological services17%66%3%
    Recording services 17%62% 10%
    Quantity surveying17%38%59%

    Commentary

    • In-house staff undertook the majority of the regular core maintenance activities. This should ensure that these activities are carried out in the light of a degree of familiarity with the fabric itself, the goals of both the maintenance department and the wider organisation. However this cannot be assumed in the light of the very low priorities identified, by some, to the development and dissemination of conservation principles.

    Summary

    • The overwhelming majority of organisations make use of external consultants. There are significant gaps and disparities in their management.
       
    • Clear communication procedures appear to be relatively poor in some organisations.
       
    • External consultants were used for specialised and conservation sensitive service. Given what might appear to be a poor level of commitment in some of the organisations to explicit and clear communication, conflicting value judgements become more likely.

    CONDITION SURVEYS

    It is clear that condition surveys play a major role in the maintenance management process, irrespective of building type. Indeed this function is so important that for churches, undertaking them is enshrined in legislation. Condition surveys are also a significant resource burden. Yet it is clear from the experience, research and consultancy of the authors, that a frequent problem with such surveys is a failure to establish a clear and coherent rationale and methodology for undertaking them. Potentially this results in scarce resources being wasted;

    • In the time spent collecting and recording of inappropriate information
       
    • In the misdirection of financial resources in carrying-out of unnecessary or untimely maintenance work to the fabric.

    For the built cultural heritage there is an additional danger: that decisions made on ill thought out and ill-informed information can result in the loss of culturally significant fabric.

    The respondents were asked to indicate whether they undertook condition surveys of their historic buildings:

    TABLE IX

    100% of the heritage focused organisations carried out condition surveys
    76% of the non-heritage focused organisations carried out condition surveys.

    The respondents were asked to identify all the purposes for which they undertake condition surveys:

    TABLE X

    In heritage focused organisations

    Establishing current condition 100%
    Planning maintenance & repair programmes 100%
    Forecast future repair needs 100%
    Setting priorities 83%
    Provisional information for funding 83%
    Collect evidence of previous repairs 50%

    In non-heritage focused organisations

    Establishing current condition 66%
    Planning maintenance & repair programmes 62%
    Forecast future repair needs 59%
    Setting priorities 52%
    Provisional information for funding 45%
    Collect evidence of previous repairs 17%

    Commentary

    • Whilst there was broad agreement amongst the heritage focused organisations as to the various purposes of condition survey, there appears to be a considerable diversity of purposes amongst the non-heritage focused organisations. Of particular surprise were the figures relating to establishing current condition, planning maintenance and repair programmes and setting priorities. Without understanding current condition how is it possible to plan maintenance and repair? How can the performance of the maintenance organisation be judged?

    The respondents were asked to indicate the frequency of the inspection cycles for their historic buildings:

    TABLE XI

    Of the heritage focused organisations

    83% inspected each of their historic buildings every five years.
    17%inspected each of their historic buildings annually.

    Of the non-heritage focused organisations

    32% inspected each of their historic buildings every five years.
    6% inspected each of their historic buildings every four years.
    6% inspected each of their historic buildings annually.

    The remainder inspected their historic buildings at a variety of intervals.

    Commentary

    • When asked why they inspected at the interval they had indicated there were a variety of responses: 'best match of resources to need' '..yearly inspections of problem areas to add information to 5 year maintenance plan' 'client departments will not fund shorter interval' 'statutory requirement which was adopted from the Churches quinquenial'. Given the identification of a number of purposes for undertaking condition surveys, it is difficult to discern the logic for the selection of a five year inspection interval other than the issue of cost. There was little evidence of any consideration or adjustment of survey intervals to effectively match the purpose set. From our experience with maintenance management in housing, it is clear that those with a focused rationale for condition surveys, i.e. annual and long term budget planning, have an appropriate annual inspection cycle i.e. there is a clear link between the purpose of the survey and the cycle. For both heritage and non-heritage focused organizations it is not immediately obvious how their chosen cycle of inspection is linked to their stated purpose.
    • A quinquenial survey remains the benchmark for frequency of inspection cycle for historic buildings. Whilst a five year inspection cycle might be appropriate for some buildings or particular elements of them, in a number of circumstances it is not. The vagueness about why 5-yearly cycle of inspection is appropriate for historic buildings is encapsulated in BS7913 (16)".. twice in a decade rhythm is a natural one to adopt; it has precedent, and is recommended on that basis".
    • Monumentenwacht ('the historic building watchdog') a Dutch organisation, has for the last 25 years developed systematic maintenance and regular inspections of historic buildings by subscription. They feel that the optimum cycle is yearly (The authors are involved in a bid to establish a similar organisation in the UK).

    The respondents were asked whether the condition surveys provided them with a prompt for re-inspection or intervention of particular elements:

    TABLE XII

    66%

    of the respondents in heritage focused organisations said that it did.

    41%

    of the respondents in non-heritage focused organisations said that it did..

     

    The respondents were asked whether their condition survey provided a clear prioritisation for repairs or maintenance:

    TABLE XIII

    83% of the respondents in heritage focused organisations said that it did.
    79% of the respondents in non-heritage focused organisations said that it did.

     

    The respondents were asked whether the organisation produced an assessment of the relative significance of different elements and materials of the historic fabric contained within their stock:

    TABLE XIV

    Of the heritage focused organisations

    17% produced a hierarchy of relative value of different materials and elements of the historic fabric and this was made explicit within their condition survey.
    17% produced an identification of the materials and elements, but it did not produce a hierarchy of their relative significance.
    34% did not produce an assessment of relative value of different materials or elements

    Of the non-heritage focused organisations

    0% produced a hierarchy of relative value of different materials and elements of the historic fabric and this was made explicit within their condition survey.
    20% produced an identification of the materials and elements, but it did not produce a hierarchy of their relative significance.
    62% did not produce an assessment of relative value of different materials or elements

     

    The respondents were asked to list all the ways in which they gave priority to particular materials or elements:

    TABLE XV

    Of the heritage focused organisations

    17%By broad agreement between a number of departments in advance
    33%By agreement between members of the maintenance team
    33%Individually by in-house surveyors
    0%By external consultants
    50%By reference to its conservation policy

    Of the non-heritage focused organisations

    20% By broad agreement between a number of departments in advance
    28% By agreement between members of the maintenance team
    37% Individually by in-house surveyors
    20% By external consultants
    23% By reference to its conservation policy

     

    Commentary

    • In carrying out repair or maintenance work there is a risk that some degree of consequential damage or destruction of the fabric will occur. The condition survey ought to provide the maintenance manager with information to enable decisions about prioritising both intervention and resources. In accordance with the principle of minimal intervention, the maintenance management for historic buildings should focus on a carefully informed conservative approach to repair and thus to a large extent on regular and systematic inspections and monitoring before any intervention is undertaken. Similarly the elevation of planned maintenance over responsive maintenance is generally promoted as being essential for the effective use of resources and the satisfactory on-going budgeting for maintenance. However the prior determination of works programmes and the aggregation of work into larger planned projects can be somewhat at odds with the principle of minimal intervention and could be positively harmful to historic fabric.
    • Although most of the respondents said that prioritisation occurs, it appears that this remains largely ad hoc. We would suggest that undertaking a clear, unambiguous consideration of the relative cultural significance and vulnerability of elements ought to be highlighted in an organisation's conservation principles. It follows therefore that cultural significance and vulnerability should inform the purpose and processes associated with condition surveys.

     

    Planned-preventive/ planned/response maintenance

    We asked respondents to indicate what proportion of their maintenance was carried out as planned-preventative, planned or response maintenance. It was clear from the replies that were received back that although there were distinctive trends within both groups of organisations there were a number of issues that required further research development. In particular the organisation's distinction between what we term "housekeeping maintenance" and "repair and replacement maintenance". As previously suggested, there is a dual purpose to repair strategies for historic buildings: retaining cultural significance as well as functional performance. For the fabric of historic buildings, generally, protection of its cultural significance should be the prioritiy. However in many circumstances judgements will be affected by the relative importance of the functional performance of the elements. These issues are currently the subject of further research.

     

    Costs

    There are a number of issues which can impact on both the overall perception of value-for-money and the direct costs involved in maintenance management for historic buildings:

    • the costs of intensive recording and extensive research.
       
    • the additional health and safety implications.
       
    • the potential contractual delays encountered following opening-up.
       
    • the additional statutory permissions required.
       
    • the nature of services and materials.
       
    • the heavier weighting on sound experience and understanding as opposed to just price in selecting consultants and contractors etc.

    All of these can add considerably to the costs of maintenance for historic buildings. A figure of costs five-times those in non-historic portfolios is commonly quoted. We were interested to gauge the respondent's knowledge of the additional costs for maintaining historic buildings. They were asked to indicate from statistical evidence whether maintenance and repair to historic buildings was more expensive than historic buildings:

    TABLE XVI

    In the heritage focused organisations

    17% No more expensive
    34% 2-3 times more expensive

    In the non-heritage focused organisations

    7% No more expensive
    52% 2-3 times more expensive
    10% 4 times more expensive
    3% 5 times more expensive

    Commentary

    • Given that perhaps the heritage focused organisations have less opportunity to compare maintenance costs between historic and non-historic buildings it was still a surprise that few of these organisations were able to provide statistical evidence for comparative costs.
    • The cost differences may be determined by the nature of the property owned: historic buildings are not a uniform entity. Where costs are higher these may not relate to the additional cost of special materials and specialised labour, but to factors such as, for example, the installation of complex fire precautions or hi-tech testing.

     

    Summary

    • A lack of clarity in regard to the purposes and methodology of the condition survey can lead to ineffective and inefficient conservation. This potential problem is more apparent in organisations where conservation is not one of their primary aims.

    CONCLUSION

    The purpose of this paper was to begin to develop a research agenda in the area of maintenance management of historic buildings. The research identified two types of organisation; the heritage focused and the non-heritage focused. As a result of the research we have raised a number of questions over how maintenance management of the built cultural heritage is conceived and executed. Although these concerns apply to both types of organisations, more questions were raised by the approaches adopted by the non-heritage focused organisations. Given that the non-heritage focused organisations manage a significant amount of the built cultural heritage we would suggest that further work focussing on organisational type (eg. local authorities, universities, private sector etc.) would be of value.

    This preliminary evaluation of our research programme has enabled us to draw some initial conclusions in regard to the maintenance management of the built cultural heritage;

    • Conservation principles, aims and policies are rarely explicitly developed or disseminated within the majority of organisations.
       
    • The overwhelming majority of organisations make use of external consultants. There are gaps and disparities in their management.
       
    • There would appear to be a lack of clarity in regard to the purpose, timing and methodology of condition surveys.
       
    • There is a need for additional cost information.

     

    The research also reinforces our suggestion that the cultural significance and vulnerability of the built cultural heritage needs to be explicitly identified before a coherent maintenance management plan and process can be devised and implemented. The determination of significance will raise a number of questions about authenticity, originality etc., that in turn raises questions of relative value: the idea of relative value combined with an assessment of vulnerability, will provide a framework for prioritisation and therefore aid in the development of an effective methodology for maintenance management.

     

    Bibliographic references

    Brereton, C (1991) The Repair of Historic Buildings English Heritage, London.

    British Standards Institute (1998) A Guide to the Principles of the Conservation of Historic BuildingsBS7913:1998, BSI, London.

    British Standards Institute (1964) Glossary of General Terms used in Maintenance Organisations BS3811:1964, BSI, London.

    Feilden, B, Jokilheto, J (1993) Management Guidelines for World Cultural Heritage Sites ICCROM Rome.

    Holmes,R. Spedding, A, (1992) Co-ordinated databases and budgeting for effective property management Report to SERC GR/F 2610.

    ICOMOS (Australia) (1979) The Burra Charter ICOMOS (Australia).

    ICOMOS (1961) The Venice Charter ICOMOS, London.

    Kerr Semple, J.(1996) Conservation Plans for Places of European Significance, NTNSW Sydney.

    Marshall, D Worthing,D (1998). Housing Condition Surveys Housing Corporation, London.

    Morris, W (1877) The SPAB Manifesto SPAB, London.

    The SPAB (1987) The purpose of SPAB, SPAB, London (1923 revised 1987).

    Spedding, A (1987)Mangagement of Maintenance-the need for and uses of data Building Maintenance, Economics and Management, Spon, London.

    Profiles

    Nigel Dann has a crafts background and latterly worked professionally as a Building Surveyor. Currently he is a lecturer and researcher in the Faculty of the Built Environment at University of the West of England, Bristol. He is a member of the Conservation Management Group.

    Nigel Dann BSc. (Hons), MIOC
    Lecturer and Researcher
    School of Land and Property Management
    Faculty of the Built Environment
    University of the West of England, Bristol
    Frenchay Campus
    Coldharbour Lane
    Bristol BS16 1QY
    Tel 0117-965-6261 Fax 0117-976-3895 E-mail- Nigel.Dann@uwe.ac.uk

    Derek Worthing has a professional background in Building Surveying and is currently Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He is a member of the Conservation Management Group, a research team within the Faculty, and award leader for the MA in 'Conserving of Buildings and their Environments'.

    Derek Worthing BSc.,M.Phil, ARICS
    Principal Lecturer
    School of Land and Property Management
    Faculty of the Built Environment
    University of the West of England, Bristol
    Frenchay Campus
    Coldharbour Lane
    Bristol BS16 1QY
    Tel 0117-965-6261 Fax 0117-976-3895 E-mail- Derek..Worthing@uwe.ac.uk

    Stephen Bond is the Managing Partner of TFT Cultural Heritage. Prior to this he was Director of the Tower Environs Scheme and Surveyor to the Fabric of Historic Royal Palaces. An Archaeologist by education and a Building Surveyor by profession, he is Course Director for the RICS post-graduate diploma in Building Conservation at the College of Estate Management and a trustee of COTAC. He is Visiting Fellow at the University of the West of England, Bristol and holds an honarary doctorate from De Montfort University

    Stephen Bond MA HonDArt ARICS GradDipl ConsAA
    TFT Cultural Heritage
    211 Piccadilly
    LONDON W1V 9LD
    Tel.0171 917 9590 Fax.0171 917 9591

     

    From Structural Survey

    Vol 17 No 3 1999