Cataloging Built Heritage: Methods of Recording Unit Masonry for the Future of Historic Preservation
building information modeling
Communication Technology and New Media
Historic Preservation and Conservation
There is a discrepancy between standardized and infield practices for documenting historic structures—from the surveyor’s intention of interpretation to how the project team chooses to adapt alongside a constantly evolving technology-dependent environment. A successful restoration project relies on comprehensive documentation and active communication among the entire project team including conservator, architect, engineer, contractor, (AEC), and client. If there is instability in creating a common language and method of disseminating information across these parties, the project suffers. The published literature on documentation techniques does not fully represent the work of practitioners on projects, specifically for unit masonry restoration. Recording a historic site is not static over time and should incorporate annotations of change. The standards in recording are not always suitable for the restoration contract and the project team is pressed to create their own standard of documentation. These proactive teams are turning to the advances in technology and digital collaboration (through tablets, mobile devices, databases, and scanners) to track the progress of each individual masonry unit from dismantlement to reinstallation, archive ongoing changes to conditions and site logistics, and reduce lag times in communication and review between project members. Should the restoration field choose to act now, they can have a voice in this technological transformation for recording historic sites. The ability to communicate within a unified platform for documenting and monitoring a restoration project from conditions survey through to cleaning and repairs and finally to project closeout will enrich the dialogue between the construction and conservation industries and ultimately save more cultural heritage sites.