09:48AM | 08/28/05
Member Since: 08/27/05
2 lifetime posts
I live in small town of 5-6 thousand people. A few of the buildings around the town square are vacant. I think that one of them would be great homes for my wife and I. But where do I start? Any suggestions? Books? websites?




10:45AM | 08/31/05
Member Since: 06/23/04
161 lifetime posts
There has been a good deal of town square remodeling in the past 20 years. There are books on the subject but they usually focus on interior decor ideas rather than the mechanics of upgrading or repair.

Most of this type of remodeling involves three elements. First is restoring or protecting those elements of the building that make it unique or provide character that is worth saving. This may involve demolition of past "improvements" that have covered up original features. Second is upgrading the building to modern code and life safety requirements. Many old buildings did not pay much attention to fire egress, fire resistant construction, ventilation, or mechanical and electrical requirements that are are today considered as minimum standards. Also in this catagory are structural repairs and upgrades to meet building codes. Lastly is making the building more livable with modern conveniences such as air conditioning, telephone, computer, and efficient heating and air conditioning systems.

Special considerations and building codes are usually in place for town square types of buildings. Towns often have a specific building code that only applies to the "down town" area. Requirements for construction, parking, design, signs, lighting, colors, fire protection, and other elements may unique to the downtown area. Check with your local building official for references of others who may have developed similar buildings. In this case an architect may be a great deal of help.

Hope that this helps.

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