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Procedure for Organizing a Window Preservation Project

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:19 pm
by johnleeke
(update: 3/7/13)

The following procedure has been approved by the Window Preservation Standards Collaborative as part of the national Window Preservation Standards.

This is a suggested procedure for organizing a window preservation project.

1. Assemble the Window Team early in the planning phase, which must include significant input from a window preservation specialist with extensive hands-on experience, and may also include a representative for the building owner, a project manager, an architect, etc. "Extensive experience" is defined as having personally worked on at least 200 windows over a period of 20 or more years and still currently working on windows. The window specialist must be compensated for the knowledge brought to the planning process.

2. Identify the Window Resource and Assess the Situation. Identification includes determining what kind of windows are they and their contribution to the style, history, function and use of the building. Assessing the situation might include determining the form of building ownership, available funds, skill and knowledge available, when the work can be done, needs of the owner, needs of the occupants, etc.

3. Survey and Assess Conditions by documenting the types of windows and their condition, which might include details of their architectural character, historical significance, measurements and locations.

4. Set General Guidance for how and why the work will be done. For example, will the windows be stabilize at low cost to hold their condition for future more costly work; or will there be a high-cost complete refurbishment; or, something in between such as ongoing maintenance? Is preserving historic fabric important, or will ordinary repairs with the loss of some historic fabric be adequate? Are improvements in energy performance necessary? Can durability be improved to reduce future maintenance costs? Answers to questions like these set the stage for effective planning.

5. Determine an Approach for the work. Approaches can be significantly different for a few windows, dozens of windows or hundreds of windows. Approaches can vary widely, here are some possibilities:

- Select and contract directly with a window preservation tradesperson or contractor
- Hire a skilled and knowledgeable window preservation tradesperson to be part of the maintenance staff that cares for the building
- Do all window work in one big project, with a large contractor that can handle hundreds of windows at a time
- Do window work a few or several at a time in a few phases, over a few years or spread out over a decade or two
- Hire a window preservation tradesperson or smaller shop to do annual window maintenance, with a few upgrades each year on highest priority windows
- "Out source" your institutional window maintenance and repair needs to a local shop with an annual contract so they can be on call to respond to immediate needs, and to implement an ongoing maintenance and upgrade program

These are just examples, there are other effective approaches.

6. Determine Treatments and Scope to include appropriate treatments for each condition. This is deciding the specifics of what needs to be done to the windows. Then assemble the treatments into a scope of work that makes sense for the situation.

When it is unclear what needs to be done, testing of methods and treatment development may be needed.

When it is unclear who will implement the work, training may be needed. Training is available from several independent professionals, organizations and schools. Topics for training include assessing conditions, writing specifications, planning projects, developing skills for window maintenance and repair methods, costing the work, and much more. Local and state historic preservation offices and preservation organizations often keep lists of tradespeople, contractors and training resources.

7. Implement work samples and method demonstrations. Work samples are one of the most direct ways to help assure quality of work. One or a few windows are done as a preliminary demonstration of the capability of the workers. The experienced window specialist, owner or architect can examine the work samples as they are done, and the completed work to judge the character and quality of the work and decide if it is suitable for the rest of the work. If it is not suitable then measures can be taken, such as selecting other treatments and methods that the workers can use to produce quality work, training the workers to improve the quality of their work or finding other workers.

8. Implement and supervise the window work.

9. Develop recommendations for ongoing maintenance of the windows.

Re: Procedure for Organizing a Window Preservation Project

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:21 pm
by johnleeke
In your work, do you notice any differences between organizing smaller and larger projects? (Let's say a small project is 1 to 100 windows and a large project is over 100 windows.)

Priorities for window maintenance

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:53 pm
by johnleeke
Priorities for window maintenance work with typical treatment examples:

==> Life Safety and Occupant Health First: fix windows that can't open for emergency escape, fix panes about to fall out and cut someone below, fix sash that could fall down and crush fingers, fix sash & frames about to fall out of wall, etc.
==> Comfort & Energy Saving: interior air panels or exterior storms
==> Weather Envelope: replace missing panes or sash, fix split sill letting water into wall, seal exterior joints of casings and siding, etc.
==> Ventilation: at least one operating window in each room, etc.
==> Spot Maintenance: paint at lower sash joints and jamb-sill joints, missing & loose putty, etc.
==> Spot Wood Repairs: fix rotting and loose lower sash joints, jamb-sill joints, fill sill weather checks, etc.

Usually I'll organize this by doing any needed life safety work on all windows, then, when on a limited budget, spend half the remaining budget on energy saving and half on weather envelope. If the budget is not limited, I'll do all of the items above and then start with complete refurbishing of sash. If the budget is expansive I'll do the life safety stuff and then start in with whole window refurbishing on the worst condition windows first.

Re: Procedure for Organizing a Window Preservation Project

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:16 pm
by johnleeke
If a lot of the windows are the same size, take the sash from one or more in a little used back room and board up those windows. Then use those sash as temporary sash to fill the openings as you work around the rest of the building. This leaves the occupants with most of the windows working--good for winter and summer.