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The insurance industry has a broad database on costs of repairs and rehabilitation. On the other hand, what about “outlier” claims in which limited data is available or when other mitigating factors need to be addressed in the remediation? How are costs handled when a building is within a National Historic Landmark District?  There are more than 85,000 properties on the National Register of Historic Places, but fewer than 2,500 qualify for Landmark Status. This article focuses on one aspect of restoration – how to adequately address the restoration of historic windows on a public building after a significant fire loss.

In the spring of 2009, a small Midwestern community had just completed cosmetic repairs to its 1856 county courthouse when a devastating fire ravaged the building. The fire was rather unusual in nature in that it originated in the roof and attic, and while almost totally consuming the roof structure, it did very little direct damage to the main work areas and offices of the courthouse. The roof damage was so widespread; however, it prevented traditional methods of post fire protection of the interior.  After reviewing multiple, and expensive (greater than $500,000) options for temporary weather protection, it was decided to let the facility be subjected to the elements and pay the expense to remediate any damage to the interior as part of the overall restoration. This decision ultimately led to higher than expected costs as the ensuing spring was one the wettest in recent memory, which caused damage to timber structural members, and significant mold growth.

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