Here are a few basic guidelines which we have found helpful when considering
exterior building restoration:
Do I Start?
Determining priorities for work to be done on a building can be a complex balancing act.
The first priority must always be safety. Is anything going to fall off, collapse, or
shift? The second priority usually relates to keeping the weather out. Is it leaking and
causing damage to the structure or to the interior finishes? Thirdly is appearance. Does
it look unsightly or is there room for aesthetic improvement? Are you trying to draw
attention to the building by improving its "street appeal"? Underlying all of
these priorities is the project budget. How much can you afford to spend or how much can
you afford to loose by deferring maintenance?
How much does it
Every building is unique. Factors such as location, accessibly, weather, and the materials
used affect project costs. We do not work with "unit rates" as is common in the
new construction industry. Instead, we examine each building, review all available project
documents, specifications and drawings and prepare individual quotations. Usually, there
is no charge for the estimate. If you require a survey or more comprehensive building
analysis, our consulting services are available at a very reasonable cost.
|How do I find the right
Ask other property owners, managers or design professionals with experience in
the field about their contractors. Use pre-qualification documents to determine which
contractors have the necessary skills and financial stability to complete your project.
Check their credentials and their previous and current project references. Seek
competitive quotations from similarly qualified contractors and base your decision on
their submissions. Price is not always the most important factor! Use standard forms of
contract to protect your rights and ensure that all the bases are covered.
What about extras
or overruns as the project proceeds?
Unforeseen conditions on existing buildings can be costly. To help avoid excessive cost
overruns, be prepared at the beginning. If access is difficult or expensive, have a
building survey completed using a crane, man-lift, or swingstage. A detailed report and
photographs will warn you of visible problems found higher up. Obtain unit rates in your
bid document for typical extras such as brick replacement, repointing, and concrete
patching. Carry a contingency amount in your budget. For new construction the typical cost
overrun is 10%. In restoration 15 - 20% is advisable. Keep track of all changes to the
contract and approve extra costs in writing. Use the relevant sections in your contract to
determine reasonable costs.
Which is better -
patching or replacing?
The absolute answer is always, "It depends." Patching or synthetic repairs are
less costly than replacement, however, they have a shorter life expectancy and will have
to be replaced again. Issues such as differential movement, freeze/thaw cycles, historical
value, wear and tear, weathering factors, and liability are important considerations of
almost equal value.
Why not just paint
Painting hides many imperfections
and dramatically improves a buildings appearance, however, it also creates a
maintenance requirement. Brick and stone should never be painted. These materials are best
left exposed to "breathe" naturally. Paints and other coatings create a barrier
which traps moisture. During cycles of freeze/thaw this water expands and contracts
causing spalling, peeling and delamination. Conversely, wood and metal building elements
require protection from the weather to prevent corrosion, splitting and rot. Surface
preparation is vital to proper adhesion and a high quality finish.