Historic preservation practice has always required a blend of “art” and “science.” Both are necessary to thoroughly understand a historic property and make informed preservation treatments. Many of QEA’s projects involve existing or historic buildings, but our preservation design method relies on the latest technologies and is anything but prescriptive. Complex projects require diligent planning and thoughtful design, and technology is increasingly an important part of the equation.  
Over the past five years, a veritable explosion of new technology has introduced software and a range of computer hardware that was previously cost prohibitive. Learning how to apply new technologies and tools to historic preservation is paramount to QEA’s practice. Preservation technology includes not only the methods and materials used to repair and conserve historic properties, but the survey, research, diagnostic, and analytical tools that inform our understanding of conditions and how materials and systems are behaving. These tools can reveal patterns and predict performance. Laser scanning can document existing conditions, but also evaluates out-of-plane wall movement. Newer technology also holds promise. For the current work on the Michigan State Capitol, QEA and our construction partner experimented with a drone to capture photos and video of areas that were inaccessible by lift (see photo above). The camera view was controlled and adjusted from the ground with a tablet computer to focus on areas of interest. 
As the practice of preservation evolves in the digital age, QEA is continually seeking innovative ways to gather, synthesize, document, and present information for historic preservation projects. This approach brings value to our clients as we work to provide the highest quality design services, meet challenging schedules, and deliver projects cost-effectively and on budget.