RGB’s longevity and experience in preserving historic buildings has helped bring new life to some of the region’s most well-known landmarks, which continue to thrive today.
- Code Compliance
- Adaptive Re-Use & Rehabilitation
- Restoration & Preservation
- Structure Reports & Existing Condition Analysis
- Tax Acts & Historic Reviews
- Local & State Historic Commissions
- Federal National Park Service
Building codes are often cited as a reason that historic buildings remain empty or in
disrepair. It is commonly perceived that the requirements of the building code make renovation and re-use of these building economically impossible. Codes were originally written in a way that would encourage demolition of older buildings to make way for safer, modern buildings. These codes required that older buildings be made to meet current code requirements when substantial work was done to the building. In many cases, this was deemed economically infeasible and buildings were replaced instead. Today, the substandard building stock which created this concern is long-gone, but the codes are only beginning to become more accommodating to the older buildings which remain. The idea that historic buildings cannot be reused because of code issues has become so widespread that it almost seems self-evident, and such claims may be accepted all too easily when reuse is, in fact, feasible. In recognition of this situation, RGB uses a new generation of building codes that has been created which focus less on strict requirements for materials, methods, and configuration of construction and more on evaluating whether the building as it exists meets safety goal, and which are tailored to older buildings.
Adaptive reuse is an effective strategy for optimizing the operational and commercial performance of built assets. The adaptive reuse and rehabilitation of well-designed, well-built structures can offer significant sustainability and financial benefits. This work also allows RGB to show respect for the continuity of history in our working and living environments.
These projects, whether they are conversions of historic city infrastructure, or breathing new life into outdated multifamily buildings, pose unique design challenges – and present unique design solutions – that we embrace as a test to our skill and craftsmanship.
Rehabilitation is defined as the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values. Rehabilitation codes are performance codes that lack prescriptive requirements and rely on scoring systems or the discretion of code officials to evaluate whether a building fulfills the desired safety goals. Our experts understand the performance-based alternative to its prescriptive provisions and applies these alternatives to the most challenging rehabilitation projects.
Restoration is defined as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. RGB understands the limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code-required work to make properties functional within a restoration project.
RGB applies the measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of an historic property. Our work, includes preliminary measures to protect and stabilize the property, generally focusing upon the maintenance and repair of historic materials and features rather than opting to the extensive replacement and new construction. We work to make properties functional as appropriate within a preservation project.
A historic structure report (HSR) provides documentary, graphic, and physical information about a property’s history and existing condition. With these reports, RGB guides management or owner goals for the use or re-use of historic properties. The reports also provide a thoughtfully considered argument for selecting the most appropriate approach to treatment, prior to the commencement of work, and outlines a scope of recommended work. The HSR serves as an important guide for all changes made to a historic property during a project-repair, rehabilitation, or restoration-and can also provide information for maintenance procedures.
Existing Condition Analysis
RGB provides Existing Conditions Reports and Analysis as part of a preservation and rehabilitation plan by identifying and evaluating the existing condition of a historic building. These reports document the history of construction and past alterations of specific character-defining features that make up the site or structure.
Tax Act Parts I & II
The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program encourages private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. When properties must be substantially rehabilitated, RGB understands the review process by The State Historic Preservation Offices and the National Park Service and helps our clients to ensure that their goals comply with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
A historic report is a survey and evaluation used to determine the significance of a historic building, site, or object. RGB prepares evaluations based on specific historic criteria. These historic reports are necessary to determine the significance of a historic resource, and how a proposed project will affect its significance. RGB’s qualified historical consultant will prepare historic reports when a project has the potential to affect a historic resource which is (1) either listed, or eligible for listing, on the National Register of Historic Places, or (2) designated or eligible for designation as a City Landmark.
Local Historic Commissions
RGB is very familiar with The Providence Historic District Commission (PHDC) regulation developments within the designated Local Historic Districts and the City’s zoning ordinances established by the PHDC that affect proposed exterior work to any property located within the local historic districts.
State Historic Commissions
RGB brings over 20 years of historic preservation experience. Frederick R. Love, AIA has been involved for over twenty years in the field of historic preservation, working on such diverse projects as Franklin Court in Philadelphia for the National Park Service, The Rhode Island Supreme Court Building for the Public Building Authority, Manchester Street Power Plant for Bechtel Corporation, and Providence City Hall. These projects have been performed under the review and authority of agencies such as the National Park Service, the Rhode Island Historical and Heritage Preservation Commission and local Historic District Commissions. Fred has served as the Chairman of the Pawtucket Historic District Commission for over twenty years. Formerly a long-term employee of RGB, Mr. Love began work as an independent consultant in 2001 and currently partners with RGB to provide knowledgeable, historic perspective on relevant projects.
Federal National Park Service
The National Park Service is one of the United States’ leading agencies for history and culture preserving important historic sites within national park boundaries, ensuring that history is saved. Our team assesses and itemizes impacts with recognition of physical and historical considerations as well as current code and regulatory requirements that may limit the possibilities.