Track 6: INTEGRATING OLD AND NEW – BUILDINGS, DISTRICTS, and LANDSCAPES / Volet 6: Intégrer l’ancien et le nouveau – Immeubles, quartiers et paysages

CHAnCE: Calculating History, Adaptability, and Condition Easily - A decision-making tool for preservation planning

Friday, October 13
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

How are preservation plans developed for sites that include historic and non-historic buildings? When it’s not possible to save every building, how are decisions made about which buildings to reuse and which ones to replace with new construction? Our recent Rusk State Hospital research project provided an opportunity to consider these questions. The decision-making tool that we developed aims to assist with preliminary preservation planning.

The CHAnCE (Calculating History, Adaptability & Condition Easily) is a tool for making quick decisions with projects involving a collection of historic and non-historic buildings. It is designed for the preliminary analysis of building conditions in lieu of a comprehensive feasibility study, especially when site information is insufficient.

The tool ranks the buildings based on their historical significance and condition. After the rating, each building is assigned a potentially adaptable program. Higher ranked buildings will be allocated programs first, and the remaining programs will go to the lower ranked buildings.

After assigning programs, the tool evaluates each building by using Feasibility Index (FI = “replacing cost”/”reusing cost”), which is calculated from the Treatment Cost, Demolition Cost, and Construction Cost. If the FI exceeds 1.0, reuse is more feasible in terms of cost (if less than 1.0, vice versa). Some buildings with greater historic significance may be recommended “for replacement” by the tool if either the building condition is poor, or the assigned program is not fully adaptable. In these cases, further evaluation is required to gather more accurate input data for the CHAnCE tool. The more detailed data you have, the more accurate result.

Cost estimates for calculating FI can be obtained from cost estimation experts, but the study also suggests a quick-and-dirty way to make cost estimates more quickly and efficiently. Using Current Replacement Value (CRV), which is now used to calculate Facility Condition Index (FCI) in the facility maintenance industry, we can approximate the Treatment Cost based on the overall condition of the building. CRV may be approximated from the plan and elevation drawings of the building if the data is unavailable.

The main purpose of CHAnCE is to give a quick answer for preliminary preservation planning. The tool is useful especially when the team does not have sufficient information to make a prudent and feasible decision. The study shows an example of how to use the tool on an actual site. The “test drive” was conducted on the Rusk State Hospital at Rusk, Texas, which has served as a state mental hospital since 1920s. The hospital was formerly a nineteenth century state penitentiary. The site is comprised of approximately forty buildings, varying in size, historic significance and integrity, condition, and year of construction.

Learning Objectives:

JinWon Lee

Graduate Research Assistant/ Graduate Student
The University of Texas at Austin

Jinwon Lee is pursuing architectural journalist/critique to share the essential values of our built environment with the general public. As a graduated master’s student at the University of Texas at Austin in the Historic Preservation program, Lee was working to document two buildings at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for the Historic American Building Survey (HABS). He also devoted his talent and effort to the Rusk State Hospital project to convey information about the project site, including historical significance and integrity, and building conditions through his graphic skills. Lee studied architecture at the Seoul National University.


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Stephen Robinson, MA, CAHP

Senior Heritage Planner
City of Guelph

Stephen Robinson holds an MA in Art & Architectural History (Concordia University), a Certificate in Heritage Planning (University of Waterloo) and is a CAHP professional member with many years of experience as a heritage planner and consultant in the public and private realms. Stephen has been the Senior Heritage Planner at the City of Guelph since 2009 providing research, policy and technical advice relating to the conservation of cultural heritage resources in the development application process. Stephen maintains the City of Guelph’s Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties, manages the heritage review and heritage permit application processes and is the staff liaison to Heritage Guelph the City’s municipal heritage committee. Before settling in Guelph, Stephen was the Cultural Heritage Coordinator at the City of Vaughan and a co-author of the City of Brantford’s Heritage Inventory.


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CHAnCE: Calculating History, Adaptability, and Condition Easily - A decision-making tool for preservation planning

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