This page provides practical information about how to maintain and preserve your heritage building, with articles and tips from a variety of heritage organizations from across British Columbia and Canada.


heritagebuildingmm-coverHeritage Do’s and Don’ts

Maintaining a heritage or character building can offer unique challenges and in some cases requires a little research to ensure you are doing the best thing to care for the structure.To guide you, here is an excerpt from the Province of Manitoba’s Heritage Building Maintenance Manual on recommended treatments for heritage buildings. It outlines do’s and don’ts when it comes to common decisions about your building’s care such as cleaning exterior wood, window replacement or repairing masonry. To download the entire manual, see our maintenance resources section below. The manual has everything from advice on hiring a contractor to troubleshooting a leaky roof.


Maintaining Heritage Exteriors


Maintaining Heritage Interiors


Maintaining Heritage Gardens


sgcanadahistoricplacesStandards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada is the first-ever pan-Canadian benchmark for heritage conservation practice in this country. It offers results-oriented guidance for sound decision-making when planning for, intervening on and using historic places. This document establishes a consistent, pan-Canadian set of conservation principles and guidelines that will be useful to anyone with an interest in conserving Canada’s historic places.


Heritage Conservation Process

Conservation activities can be seen as a sequence of actions – from understanding the historic place, to planning for its conservation and intervening through projects or maintenance.

Understanding a historic place is an essential first step to good conservation practice. This is normally achieved through research and investigation. It is important to know where the heritage value of the historic place lies, along with its condition, evolution over time, and past and current importance to its community.

Planning is the mechanism that links a comprehensive understanding of a historic place with interventions that respect its heritage value. Planning should consider all factors affecting the future of an historic place, including the needs of the owners and users, community interests, the potential for environmental impacts, available resources and external constraints.

Intervening on a historic place, that is, any action or process that results in a physical change to its character-defining elements, must respect and protect its heritage value.

Fernie Courthouse stairwell
Interior, Fernie Courthouse credit: Government of BC

These three phases can further be defined through a series of steps:

Step 1:  Understanding

  • Refer to Heritage Value and Character-defining Elements
  • Investigate and Document Condition and Changes

Step 2:  Planning

  • Maintain or Select an Appropriate and Sustainable Use
  • Identify Project Requirements
  • Determine the Primary Treatment
  • Review the Standards
  • Follow the Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

Step 3:  Intervening

  • Undertake the Project Work
  • Carry out Regular Maintenance