Structural Considerations for Old Buildings | REGULAR | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Structural Considerations for Old Buildings | REGULAR

SKU: WW200412

This 1 hour webinar will cover the integrated process needed to produce the best outsomes for old building structural interventions. 

Structural Considerations for Old Buildings

Webday Wednesday Series

Topic: Heritage Conservation

Length: 1 hour What's Included: video, quiz, certificate of completion

This webinar is avialable to stream!

Old buildings are different than new buildings.  This statement seems obvious and yet the most common engineering approaches apply new construction defaults to old building problems. At its best this new construction approach can result in missed opportunities, and at its worst can cause serious damage or even future structural failure of an old building. This presentation will show attendees how to look at the structure of an old building and help them ask critical questions of potential specialist sub-consultants.  

Getting the best outcomes for old building structural interventions requires a more integrated process than used for new construction. Technical resources are often difficult to find and challenging to apply in new contexts, and collaboration between conservation specialists, project managers, contractors and trades people is crucial. Conservation-based charters and standards work alongside codes to provide best practices for old buildings.  Public opinion often suggests that a conservation project will cost more and is only achievable for major public projects. But when international conservation policy is properly applied to the structure of the building, solutions will better preserve heritage value, decrease project costs, and be practical.

Best solutions for old buildings result from applying a combination of a medical-model approach to the engineering process with the aim to be minimally invasive, compatible, and reversible. This minimizes construction and ensures solutions are unlikely to cause future problems. The medical-model approach for old buildings includes looking at case history; investigation to determine a diagnosis; considerations when selecting appropriate treatments; and finally, continued monitoring. Understanding a building’s structure must also consider the building’s history: how was the building built and what changes have been made over time? This case history can then explain what is currently seen, even if an issue is likely a perceived problem or actual.  Visual inspection combined with diagnostic testing can create an understanding of root problems in a building, not just symptoms. Once the underlying problem of the structure is clearly defined, it is possible to look at potential long-lasting treatment options. Problems with a building typically have more than one potential solution and finding the best match for an old building is important. And sometimes an assumed problem turns out not to be a problem at all.

The content of this presentation will be delivered with graphic aids and multiple mini-examples of real projects dealing with specific problems. The focus will be on providing the ability to discuss issues with the design team, and to guide questions that help avoid old building pitfalls.  

Learning Outcomes
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:
  • Gain an overview of how the skill set for engineering old buildings differs from the skills used in new design.
  • Recognize the importance of compatibility in materials and systems for old building interventions.
  • Recognize when additional questions or information may be worth seeking when collaborating with structural engineers.
  • Discuss how better structural engineering can improve an old building project: structurally, economically, aesthetically, and environmentally. 
Subject Matter Expert
Dr. Tom Morrison, P.Eng., Ph.D., CAHP, APT-RP, ISCARSAH, ICOMOS

Pricing A-La-Carte 

This webinar is part of a series! See more like this here. 


  1. Cancellation/Refund: Your access begins as soon as payment is processed. Please note, a refund is only available if you cancel within 5 business days of your initial order, and you have not accessed any content. An amount equal to *10% of the registration cost will be retained as an administration fee. Should you cancel after 5 business days, your payment is non-refundable. There are no exceptions to the cancellation/refund policy. Webinars and courses are not transferable.  
  2. The RAIC reserves the right to cancel registrations for individuals who sign-up for the wrong category (member or non-member). Please select the correct membership category when registering to avoid interruption of service. Log into your member account to access member pricing. If you have any questions about which category to register for, please contact the RAIC education administrator at   
Access RAIC webinars in 3 easy steps: 
  1. REGISTER online through the RAIC Store 
  2. LOG IN to the RAIC Learning Management System 
  3. ACCESS courses on your personal Education Dashboard 
For more information watch the RAIC Learning Management System video. If you need assistance, please contact the RAIC education administrator at
List price: $75.00
Member Price: