Heritage buildings can be defined as any building possessing architectural, aesthetic, historic or cultural values which have also been declared a heritage building by the Planning Authority/Heritage conservation committee or any other Competent Authority in whose jurisdiction the building is situated.
The historic, as well as the cultural significance of heritage buildings, are overwhelming, although with changing weather conditions, external environment, man-made conditions and at times natural disasters lead to a periodic deterioration of such structures. Periodic inspections and remedial measures hence are paramount to proper maintenance of these buildings.
During the restoration process of Heritage buildings, there are many challenges faced leading to the process becomes complicated and overdrawn. Some of the most common challenges faced during the restoration process are as follows:
- Unintentionally doing irreparable damage during the restorative process:
Many a time, especially in cases where the structures are over centuries old, heritage buildings are unable to withstand any abuse that contemporary physical and chemical construction tools cause. In such cases, even if extreme care has been taken, there can be potentially disastrous damage to the structure.
- Temporary fixes instead of Permanent Solutions:
Often when there are superficial cracks in a heritage building, temporary patches are done with the aim of not disturbing the structure too much. However, these superficial cracks can indicate a much deeper problem with the foundation or structural damage etc, needing major repairs rather than simpler patches.
- Making inappropriate additions to heritage structures:
The main aim of a restorative process is to bring the structure as close to its past glory as possible, both in the aesthetic and functional sense. In this process, many a time, engineers find themselves needing to add to the building, supportive structures which were not previously present. If these additions are inaccurate with the period of the building, the heritage building stands to lose its historical value
- Meeting modern building codes without ruining the building:
Modern building codes have been developed to ensure the safety of the buildings. Most of the governing bodies, however, don’t realize that heritage buildings are very different compared to modern architecture. Overcoming this challenge requires educating the local governing bodies as well as using creative means to implement the safety measures while leaving the aesthetic value of the structure untouched.
- Restoration of heritage structures incorporated with modern architecture:
There has been a growing trend of incorporating heritage structures into the modern architecture to lend the structure a higher aesthetic value. During restorative processes of such hybrid structures, care has to be taken to the different needs of both the modern building as well as the heritage building joined to it. This poses a very new and unusual challenge to the restorative team, which has to be dealt with care and creativity.