via Bangkok Post, 09 November 2023: Thailand grapples with the challenges of renovating historic sites, where a lack of building science application and heritage management can lead to rapid deterioration. The article advocates for modernizing conservation laws and practices to prevent unintentional damage during renovations.
Now the bad news: Sometimes these projects go wrong for technical reasons. An old building that has survived for 50, 100, or 200 years can deteriorate rapidly if renovations are not done correctly. The problem is not lack of money but neglect of the principles of building science — the physics, chemistry, architecture, engineering, human behaviour and technology that shape how a building works as a system.
When we change the structural design, materials or operational use of a building, we need to pay attention to this discipline. Otherwise, damage can result. With old buildings, it’s especially important to guard against moisture, which propagates destructive mould, mildew, rot and corrosion.
It’s easy to renovate vintage properties correctly, but we need to use building science to help modernise our heritage conservation laws, regulations, incentives and funding. That’s how it is done in Europe, the Americas, Japan and other places around the world where laws protect cultural heritage as an important public resource.