A cornerstone of L+M’s practice is the preservation and restoration of historic buildings. Whether they’re designated landmarks or simply structures of quality, these buildings, well used over time, often require attention to perform in today’s hi-tech world. Our goal, besides preserving and restoring them as representatives of our past, is to assure that they continue to serve today and function as integral parts of New York’s identity and future.
We recommend a feasibility study as the essential first step for a historic preservation and restoration project. It outlines the project’s scope, requirements, challenges and cost and lets the client make an informed go/no-go decision. Because of our experience with all type and ages of buildings, L+M studies can be more comprehensive than most. We know what to look for in aging buildings and, when a condition is found, what the implications are. And our cost effective estimate lets you plan ahead.
Historic Structure Reports
The first step is a Historic Structure Report which takes a thorough look at the building’s history and present condition beginning with its construction and then any modifications made over the years. We look at the condition of its materials and systems and make an evaluation of its current state, what it will take to preserve and restore it, a schedule for the actual work.
Building Envelope and Interiors - Review and Repair
We begin with a careful look and examination of all aspects of the space or building being restored to understand all aspects of the challenge and the possible unknowns. We do testing, analysis and evaluations of the building materials and issue a historic structure report that outlines the condition of the building, what needs repair, a schedule for doing the work and the cost. We then begin the work, proceeding carefully to make sure that there’s no harm to the building fabric. Once done, the building is a seamless whole, true to its history as well as today’s needs.
Testing, Analysis and Evaluations
As part of the preservation process we undertake a series of actions to make sure as much of the original building remains as possible. That requires first conserving the wood, metals and masonry. We undertake a microscopic analysis of the paint to get to its original color and whether it was matte or gloss and other aspects of its original use. We employ a variety of nondestructive testing procedures including thermal imaging to understand the properties of materials without harming them.
Window and Door Replacements
We reproduce and install window and door replacements – either entirely or where there are individual spots of damage and corrosion. Whatever the solution, we make sure that it replaces in kind the material and ornament that was originally there.
Roof, Balcony and Terrace Restoration and Repairs
In cases of damage to outdoor spaces and the roof, we restore and repair the particular structure so that it is once again a seamless whole and, where appropriate, available once again for use.
Structural Review, Repair and Upgrade
Structural systems have evolved over the years and we have made an examination of those used over the last two centuries so that we understand both current systems and those no longer in use. That means when we review the condition of a building’s structure, we can recognize systems of any era and know their strengths and weakness.
Our review is thorough, beginning with a visual inspection comes first, followed by a sound analysis, and then probes and bores into the building envelope. If there is damage, structural compromise or failure of any kind, we want to know the extent and the cause of it.
We then come up with a phased program of repairs or upgrades to restore the structure’s integrity. So that repairs last the life of the building, we recommend and design a thorough maintenance program.
Mechanical and Plumbing Review, Repair and Upgrades
Because of wear and tear over time, mechanical and plumbing systems will need to be replaced or upgraded. New technology regularly appears that offers significant cost savings; and unexpected challenges arise including the need for resiliency. L+M helps building owners and managers meet all of these demands whether it’s a boiler replacement, a new chiller, or repair of the HVAC or plumbing system. When code requirements and modern usage call for systems to be introduced into historic spaces, we conceal them as much as possible so that the interior maintains its design integrity.
Electrical Review, Repair and Upgrades
We can assist in numerous ways to assure that historic buildings are energy efficient. They range from energy audits, to updated security and fire safety systems, to overall upgrades and introduction of cogeneration systems. We can also review lighting programs and augment your current electrical system to meet growing demands for power.
Saving lives is our first concern in designing fire alarm systems. We synchronize all of the elements – from the alarms themselves to door closures – to assure that when a fire happens, people are safe and the fire’s contained.
We design thorough systems that secure every part of the space for those who use it. Each system is discrete while still offering a visible, reassuring presence.
Building Condition Reports
An overall building assessment consists of a top-to-bottom review of every aspect of your historic building’s physical condition. We note what repairs and upgrades are needed, and then, keeping in mind your goals for the building, create a realistic schedule, prioritizing those conditions that need attention right away priorities and degree of difficulty, for repairs.
We regularly perform the NYC mandated thorough examinations of our clients’ building façades in accordance with the Façade Inspection & Safety Program. The necessary reports are then submitted to the Department of Buildings. If repairs are required, we make them in a timely manner in accordance with city regulations.