Maintenance and Care for Heritage Building Renovation
Do you reside in a listed building or plan on purchasing one in the future? Well, in this case, there are a few things you should know in regards to keeping this kind of building in order. The best way to deal with the long term care of historic buildings is to concentrate on frequent preventative maintenance. Maintenance and repair are required to tackle the inevitable decay and deterioration of building fabric that happens because of climatic conditions, wear and tear by building users, neglect or other threats. So, with this in mind, here are some of the things to consider when you are planning maintenance or repairs on your historic property.
Know your property
The best way for you to understand your home, the simpler it is to anticipate any weak spots or potential issues. frequent inspections are the ideal way to get to know your building and help to identify which areas are most likely to need regular maintenance. While the chances are it is not fun, it is best to carry out your inspections while it’s raining, so you can easily see whether any gutters, roofing and rainwater goods are failing.
It is also worthy to carry out ‘occasional inspections’ after extreme weather. For this sort of inspection, it is important to concentrate on the parts of a building where water could get in easily, or where walls may still be unexpectedly damp.
To help you carry out inspections, it’s certainly worth having a maintenance plan or checklist. This provides a starting point for inspecting a building in a logical order and should cover roofs, drainage goods, exterior walls and interior areas.
All inspections and maintenance work needs have to be recorded. This will help you build up a clear perspective over time. An example being, you could consider investing in a logbook for your home: make notes for when you have done a maintenance check recording what you find and take photographs. You can record what repairs needed doing when they were done, and who by, particularly if you used a professional. All this information will be useful not only to you, but also to any professionals who carry out work on your property, and to any future owners should you move on, you’ll certainly thank yourself later on!
A maintenance plan
A maintenance plan is a simple, structured way of drawing attention to issues and a good discipline in reminding you when to inspect your property. This could sound complicated, but it is a common-sense practice. For many listed buildings the Maintenance Checklist referred to above, along with your own records, will form the basis of a maintenance plan.
A maintenance plan should:
Take into account how your home is built, what alterations have been made, and what is its overall condition? You should identify weak points and anticipate where problems might happen. Think of the building as a whole, rather than in individual sections, including its interior structure and electrical, plumbing system and surroundings. This could raise issues like surface water drainage or the proximity of trees. Take into account your home’s positioning and exposure to the elements.
When you need to hire a professional to help you carry out maintenance, make sure they are qualified to work on a historic building.
Sure, it may seem like an intimidating challenge to find a suitably qualified professional company that specializes in the restoration of classic buildings – but there are plenty out there and there are many online sources of advice. The best way is often through word of mouth. Using a suitable qualified professional will ensure that they are working to accepted standards.
Get the permission you need
You’ll need consent for work which will impact the building’s special historical or architectural significance. On the whole, ‘like-for-like’ replacement or repair will not need Listed Building Consent if it does not affect special interest. Moreover, if you are carrying out further repair work as opposed to regular maintenance you may need Listed Building Consent. In some cases, you will also require planning permission.
Where can I get further information regarding this?
Take a look at the Historic England website. There’s information on taking care of a listed building, from maintenance to getting permission to add an extension or making alterations.
Why is maintenance important?
There are many good reasons for maintaining historic buildings:
Preserving the heritage
Frequent maintenance keeps up a building’s appearance and extends its lifespan. It also stops the loss of original fabric, because less material is lost in regular, minimal and small-scale work than in extensive restoration projects.
Preventing large repair bills
Extending the period between repair projects by carrying out maintenance places less of a burden on scarce resources. Preserving resources: it is far better to keep our existing buildings in use and in a good state of repair. This will decrease the need for new materials, which will, in turn, reduce processing, transport, waste as well as energy use.
If you want to be able to share your heritage with future generations you need to make sure that you look after your historic buildings.
Good professional practice
Planned annual maintenance inspections have to be carried out in a careful and organised manner. Ideally, you should aim to complete a full visual inspection of your building at least once a year.
Begin by preparing a checklist identifying all the elements of the building that need to be inspected. Key things to consider are:
- The inspection does not have to be carried out in a single day but might be done a section at a time.
- It is useful to carry out the external inspections during, or immediately after, heavy rainfall, as this will highlight whether rainwater goods are functioning properly or not.
- Lots of people find it easiest to inspect each face of the building, in turn, starting by looking up at the roof and working downwards. Binoculars are a useful tool.
- However, if parts of the building are inaccessible, it is worth considering whether you need to seek professional help.
- If your inspection identifies issues of concern you should seek further advice from an architect or building surveyor.
Consider the weather
It is always worth checking delicate areas after heavy rain or snowfall too. Storm damage to roof coverings and metal flashings may provide a route for water penetration into the building, which needs to be addressed as quickly as soon as possible.
With decades of experience behind us, you can see why so many people choose James Dunn Roofing Ltd as their roofing contractors in Oxford. Our team of technicians and craftsmen all have extensive experience and skills. This means we can tackle any sort of roofing related project, from warehouse roofs to a simple extension project. If your building is a heritage property, then we can carry out sympathetic and professional renovations to restore your building to its former glory.
Here at James Dunn Roofing, we understand that it doesn’t matter how well a building is constructed, wear and tear will occur with time and exposure. A heritage building renovation requires a great deal of care and experience to preserve the original architecture and character of the property. James Dunn Roofing Ltd has over 35 years of experience in the restoration of classic buildings. Based in Oxford and servicing Oxfordshire, we have what it takes to renovate buildings with a long history. To find out more please get in touch with us today.