The online resource for the historic environment

5.08 Maintenance plans

To assist your understanding of this Unit see BS 7913: 2013:
Section 5: "Using significance as a framework for managing the historic environment ."
Section 6: "Significance as part of operational care and other interventions."
Section 7: "Maintenance."
Section 8: "Heritage and project management."
Annex B: "Conservation manuals, logbooks and four/five-yearly inspections."

William Morris, within the1877 SPAB Manifesto, urged: “Staving off decay by daily care.”

“ The intention on conserving and restoring monuments is to safeguard them no less as works of art than as historical evidence.” [to maintain authenticity and record].
Venice Charter Article 3.

“It is essential to the conservation of monuments that they be maintained on a permanent basis.”
Venice Charter. Article 4

“Maintenance is fundamental to conservation and should be undertaken where fabric is of cultural significance and its maintenance is necessary to retain that cultural significance.”
Article 16 Burra Charter 1999

“Maintenance means the continuous protective care of the fabric and setting of a place, and is to be distinguished from repair. Repair involves restoration or reconstruction.”
Article 1.5 Burra Charter 1999

See also Articles 9 – 13 of the Venice Charter and Articles 1.7, 18 and 19 of The Burra Charter.
See also Historic Scotland TAN 8. The Historic Scotland Guide to International Charters.

Define what is meant be anastylosis. Identify a well known internationally recognised ancient monument outside the UK where consideration of the process of anastylosis is and has been the subject of international argument.

You may wish to refer to Angkor guide. Think also about the Elgin Marbles.

Article 1.6 of The Burra Charter 1999 defines preservation as:

“… maintaining the fabric of a place in its existing state and retarding deterioration.”

By reference to The Burra Charter define adaptation.

You should refer to Article 1.9.

By reference to BS 7913: 2013 define the difference between, maintenance and repair. Is BS 7913 the only definition source for these differences when working on conservation projects?

The principle of maintenance in preserving and protecting the historic environment is clearly established by convention and consensus. Well-planned and expertly achieved maintenance will protect an asset against decay, wear and tear and deterioration. The process of maintenance strategy and planning might be identified as asset maintenance management.

Asset maintenance management might be used as a ‘generic’ term when dealing with conservation statements, plans and management plans, and may be used to defined a process of intervention methods necessary to preserve authenticity and maintain and protect significance.

“Asset maintenance management attempts to maximise the use of an asset by keeping them in good order.”
Menzies, Dr. G. F. (2000)

Maintenance is defined as follows by BS 3811: 1993

“The combination of all technical and associated administrative actions intended to retain an [asset] in or bring it to a state in which it can perform its required function.” )/span> Which, to be applicable to a conservation asset, might also read [in order to protect significance and be able to pass the asset on, in its full authenticity, to future generations].

Maintenance policy is also defined by BS 3811: 1984 as

“The organisation of maintenance within an agreed policy.”

BS 8210: 1996 defines maintenance policy as

“A strategy within which decisions on maintenance are taken.”

Maintenance is defined by Townsend, T as:

“…the means by which an asset-focused business manages the deterioration of its asset.”
Maintenance and Asset Management, Vol 13 No. 1 1998

The lesson to be observed from all this should be that planning for maintenance and intervention must form part of an integrated strategy taking into account many factors to ensure that the significance of an asset is not compromised by intervention designed to counteract decay or preserve an asset.

“Maintenance is recognised as by far the best way to look after historic buildings. Yet in practice little maintenance is done. Many owners wait for things to go wrong. The value of systematic maintenance is not widely appreciated. This…calls for a change in approach from passive to pro-active encouragement of maintenance.”
Maintain our Heritage (2004) Putting it off: How Lack of Maintenance Fails our Heritage

A maintenance plan is:

“Deciding in advance the jobs, materials, tools, machinery, labour, time required and timing of maintenance actions.”
BS 3811: 1984

Defined by BS 8210 as:

“…actions organised and carried out with forethought, control and use of records, to a predetermined plan based on the results of previous condition surveys.” To which, when working on conservation projects, might be added a clear assessment of what is significant about an historic asset, what is vulnerable and how authenticity must be protected to preserve significance.

Maintenance might be sub divided into both planned and unplanned requirements. Unplanned speaks for itself and is simply a response to problems that had not previously been identified or could not have been foreseen – vandal damage for instance. Planned maintenance however may be further sub divided as follows:

Preventative maintenance
Corrective maintenance

"Maintenance is subject to a strategic plan. Planned preventative maintenance is the process of using a strategic plan to replace [or repair/stabilise] things before they have failed.”
Menzies, Dr. G. F (2000)

Preventative maintenance may be further split into:

    • Schedule based
    • Condition based

(after Menzies)

The rubric or headline being to ensure that, as far as possible, maintenance is carried out to a planned and analytical structure, taking into account an asset’s needs and its vulnerabilities, within a cost plan nexus that considers funding availability, urgency and convenience. Fundamental to the process in regard to a SME is the need to underpin any strategy with a clear understanding of significance, vulnerability and perpetuation of authenticity; with minimum damage to fabric and with reversibility considered as part of the process.

“Historic buildings are invariably diverse structures, essentially composites of materials illustrating an accretion of skills over time. The organic nature of such buildings needs to be understood so that repairs do not erase important clues relating to phasing and development.”
Crafts in the English Countryside (2004)

Maintenance plans must synthesise a whole raft of information analysed to determine intervention policy and strategy: not least of which should be a requirement to understand and clarify significance and identify vulnerabilities that might be threatening significance and historical record. It is also vitally important to be clear that, in some instances, no intervention is sometimes the best conservation option.

“… give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed;
Give us the courage to change what should be changed;
Give us the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.”
Reinhold Niebuhr 1892-1971

Before maintenance or repair can be planned areas of vulnerability need to be identified and assessed as to their threat level. See BS 7913: 2013 Annex B.
BS 7913: 2013 recommends that periodic inspections should be undertaken on a regular four/five-yearly basis. Other periods of time between inspections may also be appropriate.

By reference to BS 7913: 2013 Annex B, identify the four levels of priority referred to in the BS.

Identify where periods of review might appropriately be less than five years and also more than five years.

“Planned maintenance and repair programmes, based on regular, detailed inspections and condition reports, are essential for all heritage assets.”
ODPM, DCMS and English Heritage (2003) Managing local authority heritage assets

But why four/five yearly intervals: The choice of a four/five-year cycle of reviews of condition was originally determined by church surveyors and related directly to the need to re-paint at regular five year intervals [the "Quinquennial Review"]and has been adopted by the industry generally as an appropriate period of review.

It will be necessary for the maintenance plan to have an element of flexibility; this in order to be able to respond to unforeseen but opportunistic events that might allow maintenance to be undertaken out of sequence taking advantage of say, works being implemented and offering the opportunity of completing other work at the same time – for example, works to investigate a potential infestation of dry rot in a building with hidden voids behind timber panelling. During which improvements in service installation might usefully be carried out at the same time as the investigative work to determine extent of infestation. Such opportunities should be taken in order to minimally affect existing fabric by duplication of interventive measures necessary to facilitate a response to problems identified.

Identify a similar situation where work might be carried out fortuitously but outside a pre-planned strategy.

Maintenance strategy should retain flexibility in order to take advantage of situations as defined above, it should also be regularly reviewed in order to make use of the experiences gained through implementation of the plan and the carrying out of works. Such experience will inform future plans or even influence current strategy. Recording of decision processes will assist in informing future generations of the decision routes adopted during choice.

“Thus the process aims to provide for a learning cycle for those involved, so that conservation can be continually improved by experience.”
A Future for Our Past loc cit.

In their report Putting it off, Maintain our Heritage conclude that maintenance:

  • keeps up appearance
  • reduces or eliminates cost and disruption
  • is sustainable
  • retains historic fabric
  • provides business activity

It also suggests that maintenance should be systematic rather than reactive and that current VAT regulation and structure does not encourage a systematic maintenance culture in respect of the historic environment.

By reference to VAT regulations define why the latter statement might be correct.

In England some governmental assistance may be offered to work to listed places of worship. This scheme, operated under the aegis of DCMS and funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, allows places of worship in regular use (minimum of six times per year) to claim VAT back where such VAT is incurred by expenditure on works of maintenance and repair.

By reference to the above sources determine what systems and procedures are adopted for VAT reclaims.

You may also wish to refer to HMRC VAT guidance Buildings and Construction.

Suffice to say that the processes of VAT, in so far as they relate to Heritage buildings, is both complex and specific to individual projects. It is advisable to seek good and sound advice about the impact of VAT on any Heritage project involving intervention work. The issues surrounding VAT are complex and convoluted and require specialist knowledge. VAT is specific to projects and interpretation of VAT Regulations will be bespoke to each project, therefore, good advice prior to commencing any project is essential. See also Reading List suggested in section 5.14.

An essential part of the process of maintenance and repair is the need to assess and record all intervention work. The preparation and maintenance of a log book recording all interventive work is essential if proper assessment and recording is to be achieve; this in order not only to make and maintain records but also to refer to in the future in order to gain an understanding of what was affected, why it was necessary and the reasons and motivation behind decisions to intervene.

See also Ashley, M (1998) Programming Church Repairs