Obtaining Historic Timber Repair Viewpoints: Understanding the Contractor and Conservator Collaboration in Malaysian Building Conservation
Conservation is the work to restore a heritage building, which differs from upgrading, renovating or new extension. Conservation is an action to save historical evidence embodied in a historic building. Awareness of conserving historic buildings in Malaysia is considered recent compared to Western countries. On-site conservation in Malaysia, the conservators always work with professionals from various backgrounds, especially the contractors, who usually appoint a few more sub-contractors who are more specialists in building materials. Carpenters and craftsmen are among the sub-contractors involved in historic timber repairs. The Heritage Department of Malaysia authorises the conservators in Malaysia based on their deep understanding and experience in repair works of historic buildings and monuments. The conservator’s role is to cooperate with the contractor in the repairs by providing details work instructions as a guide to the contractor at the site. Typical contractors are experts in building construction and repairs but not in preserving the buildings’ values and historical evidence embodied. The destructive mistakes during the repair work are a significant loss of authenticity. Therefore, conservators need to understand the contractors’ viewpoint, especially that first timer in repairing heritage buildings. This paper presents the contractor’s and conservator’s viewpoint differences in conservation work through interviews and observation surveys from previous and ongoing conservation projects in Malaysia. Understanding both parties’ viewpoints is one of the success factors in repairing the heritage building timber elements. It is crucial to provide an effective workflow for the contractor and reduce repair work mistakes and overlooks to avoid significant value loss.
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