Maintenance of Historic Buildings
Routine maintenance is one of the most important factors in protecting your historic building. You might think that your building will last a life time, deteriorating only slowly over time but this is not necessarily so. Without regular maintenance defects can occur that prove to be both costly and disruptive, and the historic features and fabric that give the building its special character can also be lost.
There are many good reasons why a regular and planned approach to maintenance is so important:
- Regular upkeep enhances a buildings appearance, which can add value and contribute to a sense of pride and place within a community;
- Regular maintenance and inspection allows for the early detection of serious problems, such as wet or dry rot, ensuring more of the original fabric is protected. This is a sustainable approach also, limiting the need for new and often costly materials to be employed and causing less waste;
- Maintenance and minor works can be budgeted for in advance, costing less than a series of larger, unexpected payments for more significant repairs;
- Money can be saved through repairs rather than replacement of features such windows and doors;
- Adopting a planned approach gives you more time to select the best trades-person and materials for the building.
Materials and Repairs
In planning repairs it is important to understand how your building was constructed and the materials and techniques which would have been used. Generally, repairs to your historic building should be undertaken on a like for like basis using matching materials and techniques to those originally used. This will ensure that repairs and materials are compatible in terms of performance and appearance. The use of modern materials on historic buildings is often inappropriate and causes more serious problems to the building fabric in the long term. This is particularly evident where modern hard cement renders and mortars have been applied to traditionally built stone and brick buildings and walls, where the hard cement traps moisture within the softer stone or brickwork and accelerates decay to both the external and internal elements of the building.
It is important before undertaking any repair that the underlying causes of a defect have been identified and addressed so that you are not simply just treating the symptom. If your property is listed you should contact Planning Services for further advise as whether Listed Building Consent will be required for any works or repairs.
The following checklist should help you in planning regular inspections of your property and help identify prevent more serious defects from occurring:
When undertaking an inspection of your property, personal safety should be your primary concern. The correct means of access and safety equipment should always be used. If you are in any doubt about the safety aspect of carrying out an inspection or works of repair it is advisable to employ an experienced and reputable professional trades-person. The Health and Safety Executive can offer further advice.
- Alterations and Repairs to Listed Buildings
- Applying for Listed Building Consent
- Planning Control with Conservation Areas
Further information on repairs and maintenance of historic buildings and appropriate materials and techniques can also be found on the following external websites: