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[10 on Tuesday] How to Plan Your Restoration or Rehabilitation Project


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After you’ve researched your historic home’s history and determined whether you’re restoring or rehabilitating it, you can start planning your project. As we showed in the previous toolkit, you can take on as many or as few aspects of planning as your little home-owning heart desires. But no matter who helms the project, planning should include these integral steps.

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[10 on Tuesday] How to Plan Your Restoration or Rehabilitation Project

  1. Photo courtesy Kansas Sebastian, FlickrHow to Plan Your Restoration orRehabilitation Project
  2. What parts of the structure, materials, finishes, fixtures,mechanical, and other systems are in good condition? Whichneed to be restored, rehabilitated, repaired, or replaced? Aprofessional looking into existing conditions should be able todetermine the severity of any problems discovered.1. Investigate existing conditions.Photo courtesy JAHLUKA, Flickr
  3. An architectural program lists the functionalrequirements in a house -- how each room is tobe used, the relationships between rooms, thetypes of fixtures or equipment needed, the sizesof rooms, and more -- that make the houselivable for you and your family. It will help you todecide where to locate new uses, such as anexercise room and home office, which werenever part of the original design. A carefullydeveloped architectural program also insuresthe house will be functional after the restorationor rehabilitation is completed.2. Develop thearchitectural program.Photo courtesy mark.syp, Flickr
  4. This first phase consists of preliminary planand elevation drawings based on thearchitectural program and the inspection ofexisting conditions. Architects will oftenprovide two or three alternative conceptualdesigns for you to review, discussing thevirtues of each and their effect on thehistoric character of the house.3. Start with the conceptualdesign phase.Photo courtesy suvajack, Flickr
  5. Based on your response, the architect further develops one design or somecombination thereof. The architect will also determine the location for themechanical, electrical, and plumbing system; make sure that the designcomplies with local building code requirements; consider alternative methodsand materials of construction; and select materials and finishes.4. Continue with the designdevelopment phase.Photo courtesy Marcelle Guilbeau, Flickr
  6. If your house is subject to local design review or if you will be obtaining tax benefits forthe project, you’ll then submit the design development drawings and outline specificationsto the review board. If approved, they’ll issue you a "certificate of appropriateness" orsimilar document to submit along with the contract documents to obtain a building permit.If not approved, the review board should specify why the design doesn’t meet the localstandards or guidelines, and will often work with you and your architect to correct anyissues.5. Go before the review board (if needed).Photo courtesy taberandrew, Flickr
  7. Contract documents consist of working drawings(aka blueprints) and specifications. Thespecifications are particularly important in arestoration project, as many of the proceduresand materials are not commonly used in newconstruction. The contract documents are thenused to obtain bids from contractors. They alsobecome part of the contract between thehomeowner and the contractor, detailing thework to be done for the price established.6. Create the contractdocuments.Photo courtesy crdotx, Flickr
  8. Required for most work other than minorrepairs, building permits are issued by themunicipal or county building permitdepartment or, in some jurisdictions, by thefire marshal. They ensure that the proposedwork meets the building code and that thehouse will be safe to occupy after completion.If you plan to phase the work over a numberof years, be sure to inform the department,since most building permits are good for only12 months from the date they’re issued. If youhire a general contractor, he or she willusually obtain the necessary permits.7. Obtain a building permit.Photo courtesy Timothy Valentine, Flickr
  9. Each project’s sequence will vary depending on the type of work involved, who isdoing the work, the time of year, and whether you plan to live in the house during itsrestoration or rehabilitation. One of the hardest parts of sequencing construction ismaking sure that subcontractors and craftspeople show up when needed. And if youdo plan to live in your house during construction, consider how the work will disruptyour daily activities and how your presence may alter (or lengthen) the sequence ofconstruction.8. Sequence the construction.Photo courtesy Heritage Vancouver, Flickr
  10. Whether you or a contractor are handling theinteriors, in all cases you’ll want to beappropriate to the style and era, as well as tothe home’s unique history. Items to considerinclude the proportions, surface materials andornamentations, focal points, colors, fixtures,and furniture for each room in the house.9. Complete the interior.Photo courtesy waltarrrrr, Flickr
  11. Maintain detailed records of your restoration or rehabilitation project as itprogresses. This not only documents changes for future owners, but comes inhandy for future maintenance and repair. Besides the architects drawings,hold onto all contracts with the architect, general contractor, subcontractors,and craftspeople; before-and-after photographs of the house, as well as in-progress shots; and invoices for labor, materials, and other information onconstruction costs.10. Record the work.Photo courtesy geraldbrazell, Flickr
  12. Ten on Tuesday features ten preservationtips each week. For more tips,