Often, integrating modern mechanical systems into an older building can involve a whole building upgrade. But that doesn’t mean you need to do it all at once. (Read more about mechanical systems integration.)
If pressing mechanical concerns or limited budgets are in the way, a logical phasing plan can allow you to address them without sacrificing quality, effectiveness or historic integrity. Rather than giving in to urgency and upgrading a single system as quickly or cheaply as possible—a move you could regret down the road—consider how you can upgrade your systems in a strategic way.
Carefully integrating electrical, plumbing, heating, wi-fi and other modern systems into your historic property may take more thought than simply hiding them behind a sheetrock wall, but preserving the building’s integrity pays off in the long run. It gives you a building that retains its historic character and value, and ultimately, can perform better for the long-term.
“You want to be very careful in your choices because you are going to live with this result for the next 25 years,” says Terry Sullivan, director of engineering at Schooley Caldwell Associates (Columbus, OH). “Your historic building is a wonderful resource that deserves more than a slap-dash fix.”