Project Management

Lesson to be learned from renovation of historical landmark - Updated

From the Benefits with Risk Blog
Risks are all over your project, from the birth of the idea to completion. Maximize benefits with true risk management of your project. In this blog, I bring ideas, some basic level of knowledge on key project subjects. I try to have everything identical in English and French.

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Has of writing this we don't know much about the source of the terrible fire, that ravage Notre-Dame of Paris.

Notre-Dame was started in 1163 the construction lasted about 200 years, many generations participated in the construction. It is a part of humanity heritage, part of many stories that we all know such as "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". A terrible loss for human history, part of Unesco World Heritage Center. Notre-Dame

My first impression is that the construction/renovation happening on the building might be at the source of the blaze. Many old structures need to undergo a major renovation. That is not without risk.


All around the world-historical structure need to go through a renovation cycle from time to time. In the process of those project do we put enough security? Who should be responsible for ensuring that enough resources are considered for fire risk? We have to be reminded that many of those historical structures consist of an important quantity of wood. Wood should I remind you is highly flammable, especially old dry wood.


Hopefully in the case of Notre-Dame the external structure, the part in stone, will be saved. That is the initial evaluation. Rebuilding will be a daunting project, likely over 10 years of work.


Everybody that is involved in a similar project should double check the risk mitigation that is planned in the project. I can think of two projects that would go into a similar rework the city hall here in Montréal and the Parliament in Ottawa are just starting this kind of work. The Voltigeurs de Québec Armory structure was in this kind of renovation, you guessed it a fire also destroyed the wooden structure in 2008.


In any case, I'm not blaming anyone, a project is the work of many people.

We should learn from those terrible events. How many of other historical landmarks can we lose before learning?


Were there similar events in your region? What were the lessons learned?


A study made by Didier Rykner in France reveals that 50% of church fire is during renovation work, so associated with construction work. Should there be more lessons learned from that?



Some resources I found concerning fire risk in renovation

If you don't know about Notre-Dame

And the fire

Posted on: April 15, 2019 10:00 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Thanks Vincent. Yes it is terrible too see the destruction of a centuries old Cathedral in Paris. We can never take enough care of these ancient structures and it is unfortunate that during a reconstruction it was destroyed. You are right the risk assessment is vital. I sincerely hope the Notre Dame de Paris will be fully restored in time.

Ronan, If such a terrible incident could force a true lesson learned and change in the organization of such a renovation project. For Notre-Dame, it will not be the first renovation each build with current technologies.

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