Post 191 – by Gautam Shah
Repairs to a building mean, to mend, to restore, to revitalize, restore after damage, injury or decay, reinstatement of loss. Repairs are corrective actions compared, to maintenance, which are preventive in nature.
Buildings with adequate or timely maintenance require lesser repairs in extent and frequency. Efficient maintenance is not possible in un-repaired or poorly repaired buildings. Minor or localized repairs are not noticeable, but major and extensive repairs renovate a building. Similarly frequently or extensively repaired buildings get completely altered.
Repairs to building are carried out with different tenancy-ownership rights and their intentions. Self owned and used buildings are maintained or ignored depending on the financial facilitation. However, building leased-rented out have clear realization of its economic return and so are likely to be well maintained and spatially extended. Buildings with some heritage or style value may be well cared through conservation, if there is associated economic value or societal prestige.
Repairs, in most cases are based on compulsions and convenience. Repairs are series of ad-hoc and non related compromises between the immediate physical needs of the building and the availability of finance. Repairs are often carried out as a sequel to the maintenance work. Buildings present a decayed look, when repairs and maintenance are infrequent or inadequate.
Building as a system is an assembly with varying levels of integrity. In building many components are replaceable, while others, though replaceable, may disturb the equilibrium of the shell and have catastrophic consequences. Repairs are made to replace parts of sub-components. Buildings designed as ‘open end systems’ are easier to repair, compared to ‘closed ended systems’ or very ‘tightly’ designed entities. For repairs it is necessary to procure parts and components from open market or original system suppliers. In the first instance, the parts have to be very basic and universal to persist for several generations, whereas in the second case the original supplier, invariably a proprietary entity, has no commercial interest to meet a demand as long as a building last.
Repairs which usually occur very much later in life of a building are done with equivalent materials and techniques. The modern materials not only function, but age differently.
In case of historical buildings, the repairs are required more for correction of deterioration caused by forces of nature, rather over-use of the premises. Repairs in historical buildings are done as a strategy of conservation, carefully preserving and continuing the original character.
Buildings are repaired, if only there is place validity of its purpose and a time relevance of its life. The repairs depend on the location, purpose and quality of the shell or structure. Buildings where quality of space determines the efficiency of work activities, and which in turn scales the economic returns, are well repaired. But as soon as the work-activities become dysfunctional or economic returns taper off, a decision has to be taken whether to demolish the building and replace it with new one, or to maintain it through substantial repairs. Sentimental values associated with buildings also determine the scale of repairs.