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Building Conservation

All buildings—of any age or quality—require routine maintenance to keep their value.

Older buildings may have experienced years of deferred maintenance, and could require historically-sensitive repair work, often called conservation, to preserve and restore their heritage value. The informed building owner will find that a historically-sensitive approach is often no more difficult or expensive than work that might compromise heritage character.

Treatments for historic buildings emphasize retaining and repairing the features of the building that give it its heritage character. These may include such features as exterior cladding materials, woodwork, windows and doors, rooflines and porches, but frequently exclude things like bathrooms and kitchens. Retaining the exterior appearance is probably most important, as dramatic changes to that will compromise the heritage character of the whole neighbourhood.

The Historic Resources Branch of Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism has developed a set of materials that will help you understand and preserve your building’s heritage character.

All of these publications are available at the branch’s website section for Heritage Site Owners.

  • The Heritage Buildings Maintenance Manual helps building owners develop a plan for preventive maintenance to keep heritage materials and building systems functioning well. Historic windows are an important factor in a building’s heritage character, and a few simple strategies will make them as weather-tight and efficient as new replacement windows, with the added benefit that most old windows will last nearly forever if well maintained.

  • Guidelines for the Repair and Replacement of Windows in Historic Buildings will help you decide whether your windows are reparable, and choose appropriate replacements should they have deteriorated beyond repair.

  • Repurposing or continuing to use historic buildings is a good ecological choice, and the Green Guide to Heritage Conservation addresses how best to upgrade your building’s energy efficiency.

  • Finally, a major publication developed by Parks Canada, the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Sites in Canada guides building owners in making maintenance and repair decisions that support the site’s heritage value.