Concrete Conservation

Recently, the Getty Conservation Institute published the Conservation Principles for Concrete of Cultural Significance (2020), which synthesizes current best practices in general repair of concrete and cultural conservation by providing a framework for architects, engineers, conservators, contractors, and stewards to make sound, informed decisions for conserving culturally significant concrete buildings and structures.

The publication is available in PDF format for free download.

And on 2 December 2020 (5am 3 Dec AEDT), the GCI will host a free 90 minute virtual event bringing together a multidisciplinary group of professionals to discuss the importance of conserving historic concrete, and the importance of using a sound conservation methodology to guide practice.

More information, and registration, here.

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Congratulations, Meher Bahl

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to congratulate Meher Bahl for being the Heritage Professional winner of the Australia ICOMOS President’s Award 2020.

The judges were impressed with Meher’s initiative, innovation and achievement in developing and managing the Building Technology Heritage Library Scanning Project. Her professionalism and dedication to the project as well as throughout her career is a great example for other young and emerging heritage professionals.

Meher was instrumental in delivering the project to scan and upload a substantial selection of significant historic building catalogues from Professor Miles Lewis’ library to the APT International online Building Technology Heritage Library. The final report on this project is available here.

In response to the announcement of her Award, Meher has said:

I am beyond honoured and ecstatic to be receiving the Australia ICOMOS President’s Award 2020 for the Heritage Professional category. As an international student and now a fresh graduate, I had never thought in my wildest dreams that the work I stumbled upon would shape my career for the rest of my life. During the tenure of my Bachelors in India, I was not someone who was extremely involved in heritage and conservation (even despite India’s rich cultural heritage, I know!). My interest in the field was sparked when I got the chance to merge digital with heritage for the Building Technology Heritage Library project. Professor Miles Lewis’s collection was an excellent one, in the sense that, even though I was digitising them, I got to enhance my knowledge of not just Australian architecture and techniques but also international standards and practice. This addition to the [APT] Building Technology Heritage Library has proved to be an invaluable resource for the conservation community. 
The recognition that comes with the award has encouraged me in many ways to continue my work within the field. It has been extremely wonderful to see the work of other young professionals who have been commended as a part of the award. I hope to work with such like-minded passionate people and continue to learn new things every day.”

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Webinar: Managing Historic Campus Facilities

Managing Your Historic Campus Facilities in Today’s Resource-Constrained Environment

  • Strategies for Historic Management
  • Sustainable Integration
  • HVAC in Historic Buildings

This, the first-ever collaborative webinar between APT International and The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), will be held 2.00-3.15pm (Eastern time) on 20 October 2020 [that’s 5.00-6.15am on 21 October 2020 AEDT]. And it’s free to register.

How are you addressing your campus’ historic facilities with so many competing needs for limited resources? This webinar will outline strategies for the management of historic properties on college and university campuses, with guidelines, standards, and best practices to address a wide range of concerns dealing with historic facilities.

Preservation of your historic facilities can also be an important part of your long-term plan for a sustainable future for your campus and the planet. Upkeep, renovation, and repurposing of existing structures are seen by many as an essential part of flattening the carbon curve. We will consider examples of successful efforts to integrate sustainability, preservation, and practical re-use of older facilities.

HVAC upgrades in historic buildings present numerous challenges that are only amplified when working in a campus setting. The process for HVAC projects in campus historic buildings will be discussed along with the newest challenge of upgrading systems to provide safer interior environments to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Whilst the timing is challenging for Australian attendees, this is an opportunity to hear from leaders in the field in North America.  Click here for more information, and to register for this free webinar.

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Heritage Technical Codes – lime mortars

The Heritage Council of Victoria has launched two new Heritage Technical Codes. These were developed in partnership with Heritage Victoria, on the topics of lime mortars for the repair of masonry (HTC1) and repointing with lime mortars (HTC2).

These Codes are the result of a pilot project to test a new approach whereby the BCA Performance Solution process is applied to support the use of building materials and techniques compatible with heritage fabric. The Performance Solution process allows for the use of alternative construction codes (including overseas codes), instead of the Australian Standards, so long as these satisfy BCA Performance Requirements. The project aimed to do this by developing specific heritage codes: the Heritage Technical Codes.

The project was prompted by long-expressed concerns by the Heritage Council’s Technical Advisory Committee that the Building Code of Australia’s (BCA) Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions (including the Australian Standards) are generally not well suited for heritage places, and in many instances their application will damage heritage fabric. The absence of relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for historical buildings has created problems for their management and maintenance, with Australian Standards frequently quoted to justify the removal or destruction of heritage fabric, or the use of replacement materials that will cause long-term damage.

The first two Codes have been produced as part of a pilot to enable the Heritage Council and Heritage Victoria to better understand the challenges and opportunities of developing such Codes, and also to allow for stakeholder feedback.

The Codes can be found on Heritage Victoria’s website:

More information about the pilot project and where to provide feedback is available on Heritage Council’s website:

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APT Building Technology Heritage Library – project completion

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to report that the project to scan material from Professor Miles Lewis‘ library for the APT International online Building Technology Heritage Library has now been completed.

The final project report covering both phases of the project is downloadable here.

In summary, a total of 362 documents have been scanned and uploaded.  These originate from between 1753 to 1973.  The size of individual documents varies from 1 to 1290 pages, with a total of nearly 75,000 pages scanned.

The origin of this material can be categorised as:
104  Australian
164  British
16  French
71  Usonian
7   other

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to have been able to facilitate the addition of this material from Professor Miles Lewis’ library to the Building Technology Heritage Library, and thank Meher Bahl for her incredible efforts on this project.

We note that this year will mark the tenth anniversary of the BTHL.  Mike Jackson, who has driven this incredible project throughout that time, is currently working on a summary publication to mark that anniversary.

APT International posts items of interest from the BTHL on social media (@aptpreservation) each week at:


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Additions to APT Building Technology Heritage Library

APT Australasia Chapter is delighted to report that the first phase of scanning material from Professor Miles Lewis‘ library for the APT International online Building Technology Heritage Library has been completed.

The project report is downloadable here.

In summary, 206 documents have been scanned and uploaded, their size varying from 1 to 1073 pages, and the total is estimated at 35,133 pages. The material varies in date from 1755 to 1973. The origin of this material can be categorised as:
57  Australian
83  British
11  French
51  Usonian
4   other

Discussions continue with regard to opportunities for scanning further material from Professor Miles Lewis’ library for inclusion in the Building Technology Heritage Library.

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APT Europe Chapter launch

APT Australasia Chapter Convenor, Donald Ellsmore, will attend the launch of the APT European Chapter in Milan, Italy on 16 September 2019.  The launch of the new Chapter will be attended by representatives of APT International, APT Latin America Chapter, ICOMOS and others.

The APT European Chapter will be hosted in Milan by Assorestauro, an industry group representing manufacturers of materials, equipment and technology, suppliers of services and specialised companies in the sector of restoration and conservation of heritage in Italy and abroad. The APT European chapter will cover a vast geographical area and be the third chapter outside North America, after Australasia and Latin America.

The launch of the APT European chapter will be held during a restoration week including a restoration trade fair in Ferrara and inspections of projects in several other locations. The event has received sponsorship from participating organisations and the Italian Trade Agency.

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Registrations open for Longford Academy 10

Practical Building Conservation is a 1, 2, 6 or 9 day program in the conservation of traditional buildings, structures and fabric, held at the World Heritage inscribed Woolmers & Brickendon Estates in Longford, Tasmania. It offers a unique mix of theory, demonstrations and involvement in practical conservation works, benefiting both the participants and the sites.

Participants can attend the 6 day program, which includes structured face‐to‐face workshops on Days 3 and 6 on the subjects of Lime Mortars & Plastering, and Roofing, and extend the program to 9 days, by staying on with the expert facilitators, furthering their physical contribution to the site conservation works.  Alternatively, attend one or both of the specialist one day structured workshops.

  • Investigate significant building fabric, structures and sites.
  • Learn how to obtain long term sustainable conservation outcomes in real life situations.
  • Share knowledge and experience with conservation practitioners.
  • Understand environmental impacts, deterioration and how to deal with complex challenges.
  • Participate in hands‐on activities with experienced practitioners.
  • Relax and learn in an outstanding cultural landscape.

Download the Longford Academy ‘Practical Building Conservation’ Autumn Program for more information.

Download the registration form in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format or in Word  format, complete it, and email it to the organiser.

Enquiries by email to Greg Owen.

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Australian contributions to the Building Technology Heritage Library

The start of 2019 marked the beginning of a project to add new Australian, European and American documents to the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) supported by the APT Australasia Chapter. These documents come from the collection of Professor Miles Lewis, retired professor of architectural history from the University of Melbourne, and well-known to many of our members here in Australia.

Lewis’s passion for vernacular and urban architecture finds tangible form in his personal library of more than 2,500 documents, which includes many early European documents on building technology and construction. He is also an avid collector of architectural trade catalogues, a principal component of the BTHL. Architectural concrete and prefabricated buildings are but two topics that will be enriched by his contribution.

Professor Miles Lewis and scanning technician Meher Bahl at his office in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Miles Lewis and APT Australasia Chapter Convenor Dr Donald Ellsmore were successful in getting a grant from the Vera Moore Foundation to permit the digitisation project, which will be completed by mid-2019. Additional technical support for the digitisation was provided by the University Digitisation Centre at the University of Melbourne.

In the course of this project, the BTHL went beyond the 10,000 item mark, as described in this article from Traditional Building.

Below are samples of documents from Lewis’s collection now incorporated in the BTHL.

Advertisement for Wrought-Iron Hinges, c. 1810. Jas. Thornton & Son, Birmingham, England.

This early nineteenth-century advertisement for wrought-iron hinges is from a company in Birmingham, in the heartland of the English iron and steel industries.

Ceilings for Every Room in the Home,
1919. Wunderlich Ltd., Sydney, Australia.

The Wunderlich Company was a major building-products manufacturer in Australia. This is one of three catalogues of metal ceilings scanned during the current project.

Agco SupaLuvres in Extruded Aluminum with P.V.C. Weatherseals, 1950s. A. F. Agnew & Co. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, Australia.

This is one of the newest catalogues from the Lewis Collection, featuring jalousie, or louvred, windows.

APT is extremely grateful to Professor Miles Lewis for his contribution to the Building Technology Heritage Library.

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Longford Academy – Planning a strong future in new hands

This year the Longford Academy will celebrate its tenth year.  And this brings exciting changes for the future of these hands-on building conservation courses at the World Heritage Sites of Woolmers and Brickendon Estates in Longford, Tasmania.

Donald Ellsmore, Convenor of the APT Australasia Chapter, has been the driving force in initiating and coordinating the Longford Academy for a decade, but he now wants to focus on other passions in his life and gently lessen his commitments to LA. So others involved with the Longford Academy, and equally passionate about what can be achieved in the field, met before the Master Classes last August for a 2 day planning exercise to review the past and plan for the future.

Arising from that session is the formation of the Longford Academy Board with Greg Owen as Chair and Coordinator of the 2019 courses, and Donald Ellsmore, David Young, Elisha Long, Brian Maxwell, Anthony Mitchell, Marty Passingham, Gary Waller and Ray Wiltshire working together as a Board.

The APT Australasia Chapter has agreed to continue to support the Longford Academy, but the Longford Academy Board will now be responsible for organising and running these hands-on building conservation courses.

Probably the most exciting thing to come out of the future planning is David Young’s proposal to commence, at Longford in 2020, a Summer School in Building Conservation similar to those he formerly ran at the University of Canberra. Everyone in building conservation in Australia has either been to or aspired to attend that course, and now it will be available again, in an updated format, in World Heritage-listed surroundings.  The next edition will be offered from 9-15 February 2020. Watch out for more information about this.

The Autumn ‘Practical Building Conservation’ course will run again in May 2019, and flyers will be out about that soon, with the Spring ‘Specialist Masterclasses’ now planned for the first week in September 2019.

APT Australasia Chapter has created this page containing more detail on the courses now on offer at Longford Academy, and how to choose which is best for you.

Keep an eye out for future flyers and newsletters, but if you have any questions in the meantime contact Greg Owen on (03) 5728 6694 or by email.

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