The historic restoration work section in the latest edition of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) is one of its more unusual sections. That’s because it simply cannot be as in-depth or technical as the previous sections due to the fact that historic restoration work is unique – and it can also be very subjective.
The overarching requirement in any historic restoration project certified by QCP is that it matches the existing work. It must conform to existing compliance criteria such as gaps, alignment, and finish quality.
About Historic Restoration
According to the U.S. Secretary of Interior, “Restoration is said as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period.”
When woodworking firms undertake historic restoration projects it’s important to reference national entities such as the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, who can provide valuable information and legal compliance requirements on woodwork fabrication, finishing, and installation.
Historic Restoration Requirements
Some of the historic restoration requirements include:
- Retaining and preserving the historic character of a property. Removing distinctive materials or altering the features and spaces that characterize a property must be avoided.
- Each property is a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development must not be made.
- Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right must be retained and preserved.
- Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a historic property must be preserved.
- Deteriorated historic features should be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires that something is replaced, the new feature must match the old in design, color, texture, and materials as far as possible.
- Any chemical or physical treatments must be made using the gentlest means possible and must not damage the property.
- New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction must not destroy historic materials and the spatial relationships that characterize the property. Any new work must be differentiated from the old and be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale, and proportion. This is to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.
- New additions must be made in such a way that if they are removed in the future, the form and integrity of the historic property is not affected.
QCP-Certified Historic Restoration Work
Any woodworking firm undertaking historic restoration work that needs to be certified by QCP must hold a specific QCP license. For this type of work you will need QCP License 12 – Historic Restoration Work.
An Example of QCP-Certified Historic Restoration Work
The Nakamura Federal Courthouse in Seattle, WA, was built in 1939 and underwent a complete renovation in 2008, including its five courtrooms’ historic woodwork and benches. As part of this work, the fronts of the existing judges’ benches were salvaged and reused. Other woodwork then needed to be compatible and match existing. This included using the same species of veneer, in this case black walnut, the cut of veneer, and finish. There was also detailing to consider, although this falls more into the aesthetics and design rather than coming under the Architectural Woodwork Standards.
You’ll find all the information and guidance you need about historic restoration in section 12 of the Architectural Woodwork Standards. This section covers historic restoration in detail, as well as compliance requirements.
Contact us to find out more about how to join the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Program and strengthen your reputation for quality and integrity.