Backgrounds Of Repair And Conservation

To understand why following a repair approach in a conservational context can endanger values, it is necessary to understand why and how the main aims of repair and conservation diverge radically. Repair methods are usually developed to preserve a structural function for a limited lifetime, lately also influenced by sustainability aspects. Surveys focus on physical and mechanical properties and the criteria for the choice of a repair approach are, beside the structural performance, the service life, economical issues, and the possibilities of maintenance (ENV 1504-09 1997).

Conservation, however, is much more than fulfilling technical and financial requirements. Besides considering structural performance and safety, the preservation of the authenticity of and values attached to the site, building and material must be considered. The value and authenticity of the cultural heritage is understood in 'artistic, historic, social, and scientific dimensions' and the conservation principles 'respect... the existing fabric and the cultural heritage should be preserved for 'present and future generations (ICOMOS 1999).

Yet, due to the youth of the field of concrete conservation, concrete repair experts are entrusted with concrete conservation projects. Although these experts have considerable knowledge of the technical aspects, they are not trained in specific conservation aspects, as the complexity and variety of monumental values and authenticity or the properties of historic concrete. Because conservation experts often do not have sufficient knowledge on the material, an evaluation of the suitability of such a process is difficult.

Figure 1. Site plan of Fort Bezuiden Spaarndam.

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