WOBO Governor David Gibson is pleased to share a link to the article “Practical Challenges in Mitigating the Aftermath of Fire in Historic Buildings” by Simon Kincaid, Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University.
Fire is an unfortunate constant in the historic built environment which can cause rapid and potentially widespread damage to a building. Where buildings are of heritage importance there is normally a desire to reconstruct following a serious fire. In order to facilitate the possibility of this, what happens in the immediate post-fire period, as well as in the months that follow, can be critical. This article examines the challenges that are presented post-fire, when it may be necessary to respond to an urgent requirement to stabilise the building and protect it from further damage, before considering mitigation of subsequent issues including contamination and salvage. It goes on to consider a number of allied concerns that may also be of relevance soon after a fire, and are important in moving towards reconstruction. It is concluded that given the likely complex nature of the post-fire state it is important to plan for the possibility of such an eventuality and the necessity of providing an adequate organisational response regarding stabilisation, protection and mitigation. Additionally, the importance of having an adequate level of insurance cover is highlighted, since many of the processes discussed are costly, even before the main costs of reconstructing are incurred.