Developing a housekeeping plan
These guidelines identify key tasks to implement as part of the day to day care of a heritage place, particularly for large or complex buildings and those open to the public.
Wear and tear
- protect old fabric, finishes and delicate surfaces from daily wear and tear with replaceable surfaces
- runners, mats or rugs (if cleaned regularly) can effectively protect floors
- compile a check-list of existing wear-and tear and vandalism.
- make sure rooms are properly ventilated
- report signs of dampness, cracking, stains and need for repainting
- monitor humidity levels, particularly if heating systems are in use to avoid damage to the building fabric and finishes such as timber and wallpaper
- climate-control systems such as screens and blinds may help keep a building in good condition
- be aware of the potential damage to old buildings caused by poorly designed air conditioning systems.
- regularly clean areas where dirt can enter the building
- use good matting outside the building to minimise tracked-in dirt
- keep doormats clean to maximise their effectiveness as a barrier to tracked-in dirt
- ensure cleaning of special materials such as carpeting, and finishes such as masonry or stained glass is carried out under the supervision of an expert in the field
- be careful with cleaning techniques and products as mistakes can cause irreparable damage
- only use neutral pH cleaners in historic buildings
- dispose of rubbish/waste promptly and in a way that avoids a fire hazard.
- waxing protects against abrasion and wetting
- use waxes that can be removed with water or turpentine
- consult an expert in the field prior to waxing as it is not recommended for some materials.
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- keep storage space for maintenance materials and work area separate from the historical building to minimise fire hazards, pollution and noise
- use the housekeeping schedule (Word - 6.1kb) to plan and record required housekeeping tasks.
More information on conservation
View other Council fact sheets:
- Importance of maintenance
- Glossary of building terms
- Compiling a logbook
- Preparing a conservation plan.
For more information contact Council's Heritage Unit.