Präventive Konservierung

TECHNICAL COMMISSION 10 - Preventive Conservation


Technical commission “Preventative Conservation” covers the following disciplines:

  • Climate and climate stability
  • Radiation and light protection
  • Harmful substances
  • Pests
  • Material studies related restoration issues
  • Maintenance and keeping in repair / housekeeping
  • Emergency planning
  • Transportation and lending
  • Non-destructive status analysis methods and characterization of art and culture heritage assets
  • Risk analysis
  • HVACR systems / air conditioning
  • Climate measurements / analyses
  • Target values
  • Terms and Definitions

These topics target primarily the following objects and target groups:

  • Architectural stained glass
  • Sacral buildings
  • Historic buildings
  • Museums and collections
  • Libraries and archives
  • Endangered environments
  • Mobile art and cultural works
  • Outdoor sculptures 


Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Rest. Ralf Kilian
Fraunhofer Institut Bauphysik
Mail →

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Garrecht
MPA Stuttgart
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Dr. phil. Kristina Holl
Fraunhofer Institut Bauphysik
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Number of Members: 35

The technical commission is integrated into the expert discourse on preventative conservation, which bundles a wide range of indirect measures that effectively prevent damages to historic colouring of component surfaces and furnishings. The focus of the topics addressed by the experts is in particular on technical and structural matters. The technical commission strives to engage in holistic and interdisciplinary discussions with the aim of cultural heritage preservation. Besides recording and assessing the complex interactions on surfaces and on the overall constructive object or building structure, its objective is to develop climate, light and room air improvements taking into account the uses and building operations with the objective of sustaining the existing monuments and their historic furnishings in the long term.

Specifically, preventative conservation comprises indirect environmental conditions improvement measures with the aim of averting damages to artwork, buildings and their furnishings. The primary goal of preventative conservation is the diligent analysis and assessment of the status quo as a perquisite for the development of preservation measures to protect the existing and to minimize the structural, room and object specific risks.

The technical commission and its working groups are dedicated to the search for effective concepts that are economically feasible in the long term and successfully counteract the damaging factors.

Technical commission “Preventative Conservation” strives to integrate all circles familiar and entrusted with the preservation of cultural heritage into the constructive dialog in commission as well as working group activities in an interdisciplinary manner.

Technical commission members deploy their competencies when compiling WTA codes of practice and status reports. By way of knowledge transfer and the communication of the expertise accrued within the technical commission, the objective is to integrate all work results and insights into the national, European and international associations and institutions tasked with the preservation of cultural heritage in compliance with the Statutes of WTA International to protect and conserve cultural heritage assets. To proliferate the acquired knowledge, it plans to work in close cooperation with the national ICOMOS groups, the German Vereinigung der Landesdenkmalpfleger VDL and Verband der Restauratoren VDR as well as the national (DIN), European (CEN) and international standardization commissions. The technical commission also intends to provide ideational and content support to research associations working in the context of the commission’s purpose.

If necessary, current topics are handled expeditiously by the existing working groups. The technical commission strives to reach out to all interested groups of experts to bundle the professional expertise in the discipline of preventative conservation and to consolidate scientific and practical insights.

Commission members have already developed the code of practice  6-12 "Climate and Climate Stability in Historic Structures I: Introduction" which, in July 2011, was still published by technical commission 6 "Building Physics."

Working Groups

The following working groups are already active under the heading "Climate and Climate Stability in Historic Structures":

Working group 10.2: Terms and Definitions

Head of the working group: Dr. Thorsten Brockmann

In the practice of assessing room climate related impact on historic colouring and original furnishings, different terms are frequently used for the same physical scenario. This is the result of a wide range of different disciplines coming together (monument preservation, restorators and natural science experts, various expert planners, architects, users, owners, contractors, manufacturers of building and equipment technology products, building control system installers, etc.) each with their own set of terms and definitions. However, to be able to discuss problems caused by climatic conditions using uniform language and terms while also being able to develop and assesses monument adequate solution proposals, it would be helpful to use terms that mean the same to everyone involved. Otherwise, communication problems and information deficits arise, which frequently give rise to potential errors. They result in delays or even prevent the implementation of targeted plans and/or actions, in particular in conjunction with assessments and action plan developments for historic building room air conditioning.

Consequently, it is the goal of the working group to collect, standardize or adjust the heat, water and steam transportation terms used in practical applications.

The working group meeting results are to be published in a status report. If applicable, the report can be used to generate pertinent Codes of Practice.

Working group 10.3: Target Values for Room and Micro Climate

Head of the working group: Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Rest. Ralf Kilian

The knowledge that certain room climate conditions damage works of art and culture as well as existing historic structures in the long term prompts the definition of climate goals. In this context, the absolute room climate value range must be taken into account along with the short term and seasonal fluctuations. 

Conflicts frequently exist between climate requirements arising from the conservation of collections, the existing structure and its use. For instance, visitor and staff comfort demands collide with conservatory objectives.

Moreover, there are often significant disparities between the local micro climates within a building or even a single room.

The recommendations made by museums and monument curators differ when it comes to climate goals. Maintaining a “museum climate” in a historic building may, e.g., lead to damages to the existing building structure.

The aim is to review and reassess these different approaches.

The goal is to define climate goals for the preservation of works of art and culture taking into account historic building structures and their special challenges. Various categories of art, materials and material combinations are to be evaluated in the process. Initially, the respective status report will examine and explain the chemical, biological and physical backgrounds of damaging processes caused by climatic conditions and/or their interactions. 

The objective is to contribute to the sustainable use and permanent preservation of art and cultural heritage.

The first step will be the publication of a status report documenting the acquired knowledge on climate-driven processes that cause damage to works of art and culture.
In step two, this report will be used to derive a code of practice on climate goals aiming at the preservation of artwork and cultural heritage sites.

Working group 10.4: Measuring and Climate Monitoring

Head of the working group: Dipl.-Ing. Simone Reeb MBA

Monitoring is rarely planned and implemented ahead of planned measures that have building climate effects. The available measuring periods are often too short and the measuring concept plans are not targeted.

In many cases, climate monitoring does not take place until visible damage to the envelope or furnishings has occurred. Not only does this result in additional costs; in unfavourable scenarios it can lead to the irrevocable loss of historic existing substance.

The working group addresses the necessary questions, methods, approaches, technologies as well as the measuring information and assesses the generated measuring data. The purpose of the collected results is to provide the target group with a tool that makes it possible to commission and realize targeted climate monitoring.

The result of the working group meetings will be published as a status report. If applicable, this report can be used to generate pertinent Codes of Practice.

Working group 10.5: Building Technology Concepts and Systems

Head of the working group: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Garrecht

Problem description:

  • In practical applications, numerous building technical concepts and system technology solutions are available for room air conditioning, which principally appear to be suitable for the stabilization of the room climate in historic rooms. However, in the absence of a differentiating assessment of the unique room conditions, building structures, content, envelope and the respective uses, they may cause significant problems or even the loss of historic assets. Hence, the term building technology concepts does not only comprise the system technology solutions, but all building components (e.g. windows, doors and chimneys) as well as organizational measures (window ventilation concept, visitor routing, etc.) that affect the room climate. However, the correct assessment of the building physical and room climate conditions is absolutely necessary for the development of monument adequate and problem-oriented solutions.
  • Tools that make it possible to assess everything from the status quo of room climate conditions to the effects of planned measures, which range from simple engineering models to complex simulation computations, have a proven track record in regular construction applications; however, given the high complexity of problems in historic rooms, they do not always reflect the actual room scenario.
  • Hence, besides the typical planning tasks, the generation of basic information via monitoring is just as important a prerequisite as the choice of suitable system technology components, which in turn may range from the most basic solutions to complex climate control systems.
  • It should be possible for owners/users to comprehend the basic technical concept, the functions of the system technology components and the measuring and control concept behind the former to ensure sustainable operations that are both, needs and monument adequate. However, planners, contractors and users/operators find it difficult to implement closed integral solutions given the diversity of the available technical solutions and the differences between the control strategies used.

The objective of the working group is to establish fundamentals for the finding of monument adequate measures for the optimization of room air conditions in historic rooms.

Based on the above, the group is to come up with recommendations as a basis for the development of suitable solutions for typical problems related to room climate optimization, evaluation of their effectiveness and their implementation in future practical construction applications. The focus is on finding compatible building technical solutions, paying special attention not only to sophisticated technical system approaches, but also technical measures that can be easily implemented. The decision-making process must not only take into account user/operator, but also monument preservation demands as well as the different mechanisms of building technology solutions. The suitable control decisions play a central role in both, system technology and organizational measures, which have to be developed in combination with the planning of construction and system technology measures.

All of these issues and challenges will be covered by a status report that takes into account in the economic and ecological aspects. The interdependencies and the derived insights described in this report are expected to become part of new topic-related codes of practice.

Working group 10.10: Preventive Conservation of Architectural Stained Glas

Head of the working group: Dipl.-Ing. Oliver Hahn

The working group has already completed its work and submitted the draft of the code of practice to the editorship.

The code of practice will take into account the increasingly important role of preventative conservation, research and development insights as well as the developing state-of-the-art in the discipline of preservation of architectural stained glass. Mistakes are often made in practice when assessing the existing structures, damages, during the performance of conservation and restoration work as well as the implementation of preventative measures that have a negative impact on the sustainability of cultural heritage. New insights paired with new training profiles, such as the vocation of academically certified stained glass restorer, increasingly lead to a more scientific handling of stained glass work and its environmental conditions. The code of practice reflects the state-of-the-art as it relates to examination methods and prevention options. Its purpose is to learn from mistakes and share the experiences with other experts. Work performed in prior restoration campaigns is often the reason why yet another restoration is required.

The effects of the environment, use and restoration on stained glass are highly complex and multi-layered. This means that the number, type and combination of the various influential factors is different for every object and thus always requires a custom approach. These demands can only be met if experts representing different disciplines, such as restorers, art historians, natural scientists and engineers participate in the analyses and cooperate in the development of an object-specific solution. The code of practice also aims to emphasize that the preservation of architectural stained glass is not a standard planning task. Hence, the verification of the success and the continuous provision of care and maintenance are of great importance once preventative conservation measures have been implemented.

The working group has already finished its work and the yellow print was published in 2018.

Planned Working Groups

Plans for the formation of working group 10.6, which will address the sub-topic “Operation and Use” within the scope of header topic “Climate and Climate Stability in Historic Buildings” already exist.


Members of the department have already prepared the recommendation 6-12 "Climate and Climate Stability in Historical Buildings I: Introduction", which was published in July 2011 in technical Commission 6 "Building Physics".

Furthermore, the following recommendations have been published so far:

10-2     Edition: 05.2019/D Preventive conservation of architectural stained glass
10-3     Edition: 03.2022/D Climate and climate stability in historic buildings II: Climate target values



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