Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

King, Allison (2019). An Evaluation of the Impacts of Replacement Reserve Studies on the Stewardship of Historic Houses of Worship (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


Reserve studies are a facilities maintenance planning tool created by the common interest development industry in the United States that could be a useful tool for heritage site managers to financially plan for maintenance and repairs. Unexpected building related costs can be a threat to the financial stability of religious organizations and other types of nonprofits housed in historic buildings because these organizations require lead time to raise funds. Reserve studies could be a useful tool for site managers to financially prepare plan for repairs and generate realistic reserves to cover future expenditures. Reserve study reports include a physical assessment of an organization’s facilities and a funding plan to provide income to a reserve fund to offset maintenance and repair expenditures for a minimum of twenty years. This thesis explores the potential for reserve studies to help religious organizations and other nonprofits housed in historic buildings accurately estimate and provide for facilities maintenance to become more financially sustainable organizations. Evidence for this thesis was sourced from interviews with five stewards of religious buildings of differing ages that are at various stages of implementing recommendations made by reserve studies. Comparing the experience of stewards of recently constructed buildings to historic buildings explores the effect of building age on the use of reserve studies.


Reserve Study, Preventive Conservation, Heritage Site Management, Financial Planning, Facilities Maintenance



Date Posted: 03 June 2019