Sustainable Heritage Conservation workshops relaunched

The APT Australasia Chapter is partnering with the City of Sydney, Australia ICOMOS, National Trust (NSW), Australian Institute of Architects, and the Building Limes Forum to deliver a series of information sessions and workshops in Sydney entitled, ‘Sustainable Heritage Conservation, Technical Pathways – Materials and Techniques – Planning Management and Conservation’.

This program of events was launched at Millers Point in March 2014, but postponed when the NSW Government announced a proposal to sell 300 homes in Millers Point and displace 400 public housing residents, causing a high level of anxiety in the area that was to be a focus for the workshops.

APT Australasia Chapter member and workshop presenter, Gary Waller, with workshop participants at Always Wood joinery workshop in Sutherland, April 2014

APT Australasia Chapter member and workshop presenter, Gary Waller, with workshop participants at Always Wood joinery workshop in Sutherland, April 2014

The revised series of information sessions and workshops, which will now have a broader focus than Millers Point, was re-launched at the Millers Point Fair on 14 September. It will now include information sessions covering headline issues and introducing the individual workshop topics. At least two of the workshops will be held outside the City of Sydney.

Topics to be presented in the program include:

Planning and Heritage in Context – managing change to heritage places

History and Archaeology – meaning and management

Designing changes to heritage places sustainably

Keeping the water out – roofing and plumbing maintenance and management

Understanding and working with lime

Dealing with damp

Repointing mortar joints

Working with wood and joinery sustainably

Plastering and plaster conservation

Exterior applied finishes – technology and application

Interior decoration and finishes – research and conservation

The next information sessions will be hosted by the City of Sydney late in 2014 to be followed by full day and half day workshops in early 2015.

APT Australasia Chapter members (or other professionals) wishing to contribute or attend should email the APT Australasia Chapter Convenor.

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Infrastructure conservation in George Town, Penang

MacLaren North and Donald Ellsmore travelled to Penang in June to present a three-day workshop on planning for the conservation of infrastructure in the George Town World Heritage site. This workshop built on the two-day workshop on the same subject presented there in December 2013.

GTWHIdrains1    GTWHIdrains5

George Town, like some other colonial cities in S E Asia, was built with open drains to carry surface water including monsoon rains. The structures are generally well constructed with semi-circular inverts lined with terra cotta, engineering brick kerbs and granite steps. Today these drains are heavily compromised with unauthorised connections and supercharged with commercial and domestic waste. The challenge therefore is to upgrade the system whilst conserving the distinctive elements of outstanding universal value for which the site is recognised with World Heritage inscription.

Workshop participants on site at Prangin Canal June 2014

Workshop participants on site at Prangin Canal June 2014

The workshop brought together municipal planners, engineers, administrators and local heritage specialists to work on solutions for the management of the drainage and related infrastructure in the context of the World Heritage Site management. During the workshop guidelines for upgrading the Prangin Canal were developed.

Well-conserved drain with terra cotta invert, bullnose brick coping  and granite bridges and steps.

Well-conserved drain with terra cotta invert, bullnose brick coping
and granite bridges and steps.

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LA5 Longford Academy report

LA5-Woolmers1840sCoachHouse

A brief report on the 5th Longford Academy held 5-9 May 2014 in northern Tasmania is available for download here.

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2014 Sustainable Heritage Conservation workshops POSTPONED

UPDATE 29 April 2014:

Unfortunately, the programme of sustainable heritage conservation workshops described below have been postponed until a future set of dates to be confirmed.  This situation has arisen from a range of factors outside of our control.  We will be in contact with anybody who has already registered, and will advise as soon as these workshops have been rescheduled.

Sydney will be the venue for a series of 1 day sustainable heritage conservation workshops on a variety of topics.  These have been organised by the APT Australasia Chapter in conjunction with the City of Sydney, and will be presented by a number of APT Australasia Chapter members, and other heritage professionals.

Are you thinking of restoring or renovating a heritage-listed building or a building in a heritage conservation area? Do you live in an old house and you’re not sure of what changes you can make?  These detailed workshops are aimed to help owners achieve a high standard of sustainable conservation.

The programme is outlined below, with links to more details about each workshop (hosted on the City of Sydney website).

17 May History and archaeology – meaning and management APT Australasia Chapter Dr Mac North
24 May Exterior applied finishes – technology and application APT Australasia Chapter Donald Ellsmore, APT convenor
31 May Keeping the water out – roofing and plumbing APT Australasia Chapter Anne Warr
7 June Dealing with damp APT Australasia Chapter David Young
14 June Repointing mortar joints APT Australasia Chapter David Young
21 June Understanding and working with lime Building Limes Forum Australia Jacqui Goddard
28 June Planning and heritage in context – managing change to heritage places Australia ICOMOS Mary Knaggs, A ICOMOS traditional trades working group
5 July Interior decoration and finishes – research and conservation APT Australasia Chapter Donald Ellsmore, APT convenor
TBA Plastering and plaster conservation APT Australasia Chapter in conjunction with Westox Barrie Cooper, Westox
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Towards an Australian Heritage Quality Framework

The APT Australasia Chapter recently collaborated with the Australia ICOMOS Traditional Trades Training Working Group to prepare a paper which was submitted to the Heritage Branch of the Australian Department of the Environment for consideration in conjunction with preparation of the 2014 Australian Heritage Strategy.

This paper proposes a quality framework for sustainable heritage conservation. The quality framework would have two key objectives:

  • to assure the quality and sustainability of works to heritage places and improve heritage outcomes
  • to drive the training and development of human resources to sustain cultural heritage values over time

While the proper conservation and sustainable use of built and cultural heritage is an
enduring ambition shared by communities around Australia, it is apparent that a decline
in the standard of works to heritage places has resulted in the diminishment of cultural
heritage values at some places, and a serious threat to the sustainability of those cultural
heritage resources to the communities they serve. The evidence of the decline can be
observed in several ways:

  • the substitution of non-sustainable materials and works practices for sustainable, traditional materials and practices
  • a precipitous decline in traditional skills and a lack of training of specialist tradespeople to meet current and future conservation needs
  • an emphasis on pre-works compliance requirements without adequate attention to monitoring and assurance of the quality of outcomes
  • an over-emphasis on the economic values of heritage places, particularly in relation to the tourism value of heritage resources, without a corresponding awareness of the long-term viability and sustainability of high levels of exploitation of those resources

This proposal explains the issues and benefits to be derived from a quality framework to improve heritage management efficiency and to assure the delivery of better outcomes.

Planning and heritage management systems (including works approvals processes) in the states, territories and nation place emphasis on pre-approval processes. Less emphasis is placed on the monitoring of outcomes or enforcement of consent conditions. There is usually a disconnect between pre-consent planning processes, which are sometimes costly and time consuming, and post-consent delivery, which can expose heritage-listed places to pragmatic decision making and adverse impacts on heritage values. Whereas, these two critically dependent parts of a heritage management system should be seamless and complementary; however, they are not. The current disconnect between them diminishes the potential to achieve sustainable and consistently sound conservation outcomes.

A well-constructed quality framework would address this flaw. It would provide improved security for the conservation of heritage places. It would enable all to enjoy the benefits of more sustainable outcomes, including better performance and improved environmental returns, as well as improved community health and wellbeing and a higher quality of heritage works.

The idea of a Heritage Quality Framework is not new. Work has already been undertaken in Victoria for the Heritage Council with the involvement of heritage technical specialists. The Minimum Standards of Maintenance and Repair under Section 9A of the NSW Heritage Act, 1977 can be considered to be a quality measure, which has been embedded in legislation. Many Heritage Sites have Management Plans with Key Performance Indicators or Objectives, which are used in monitoring and reporting. In most jurisdictions consent conditions are tailored for individual places, whereas they could be more readily provided in standards within a quality framework.

In summary, improved outcomes could be achieved by the application of a quality framework to all activities in relation to the care of heritage places. Accordingly, the Australia ICOMOS Executive Committee (through the AI Traditional Trades Training Working Group) and the APT Australasia Chapter are jointly coordinating an endeavor to bring about the introduction of a National Quality Framework for sustainable
conservation of heritage places.

Please send any comments on this paper by email to the Convenor.

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Register now for LA5

LongfordAcademyThe fifth Longford Academy (LA5) will be presented by the APT Australasia Chapter at the World Heritage listed Brickendon and Woolmers Estates in Tasmania on 5-9 May 2014.  This year, the central theme will be:

QUALITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Investigation and repair of significant building fabric

Registrations have been flowing in, and places are limited.  Download the registration form and follow the instructions on the form to confirm your participation in LA5.

Email the Convenor if you have any questions.

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LA5 to be held 5-9 May 2014

The fifth Longford Academy (LA5) will be presented by the APT Australasia Chapter at the World Heritage listed Brickendon and Woolmers Estates in Tasmania on 5-9 May 2014. Expressions of interest in attendance at LA5 are now sought by email to the Convenor.

The Longford Academy follows a model of collaborative learning through hands-on engagement with heritage fabric. Advanced conservation technologies are demonstrated and practiced with fellow practitioners. More information will be posted shortly.

Participants pay an attendance fee to defray costs. Accommodation is available on site by arrangement with Brickendon  and Woolmers.

You can read reports from previous editions of the Longford Academy on this site:

LA4 – 2013

LA3 – 2012

LA2 – 2011

LA1 – 2010

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