Guidelines for Working on Heritage Listed Buildings

Here at AJ Scutchings and Son, we’ve been working on a wide range of buildings, structures, and sites for the past 35 years. In that time, we’ve worked on a number of heritage listed sites. Unsurprisingly, the guidelines for doing so are a little different from those on a more standard structure.

We thought it would be interesting to share some of those guidelines with you here, in our latest blog post. Throughout the piece, we will use building, structure, and site largely interchangeably – that’s not to say we think they’re the same thing, but all of our points will be overarching enough for such a generalisation to be justified.

What is a heritage listed building?

An image of Wetsminster Abbey, and example of a heritage listed building

Firstly, let’s clarify exactly what we mean when we say a building is “heritage listed”. Buildings, monuments, and other structures are listed on the National Heritage List if they meet certain requirements. These requirements are usually related to history or architecture and are met if the site is deemed to hold a place of great importance in the country’s heritage.

Effectively, if a building is judged to be of national importance to the United Kingdom’s history or architecture.

Working on the sites

Understandably, when it comes to working on the buildings, structures, or sites, things can get a little tricky. As they’re so protected and, rightly, policed, it is necessary to ensure that anyone carrying out work is fully-qualified and justified in their actions.

Work may only be carried out on a heritage listed building if it requires repairing or maintenance. Maintaining the original appearance is extremely important, with care and future-proofing being the only permitted motives for work.

Maintenance, repair, and restoration

An image of Rome's Trevi Fountain, the subject of recent restoration work

The primary objective for maintenance work is to keep any deterioration over time to a minimum. Often not the most exciting or individually taxing work, maintenance is a necessity when working with heritage listed buildings and includes regular surveyance and future-proofing.

Repair, however, takes things a step further. It is essential that the materials used in any repair work should be appropriate as a match for that in need of repair. All repairs should also aim to maximize the lifespan of the building in question.

Restoration is also occasionally required, and this process is a far more drastic version of repairing. This is where it gets really difficult, as those in charge need to ensure that any changes made to the building’s appearance retain its heritage and culture.

AJ Scutchings and Son

Generally, we’re not the decision-makers in these cases. We will be approached by someone and given instructions regarding the type of work that needs doing.

If you or someone you know may require any maintenance, repair, or restoration work for a heritage listed building, then please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 07778 188 952 or fill out one of our online contact forms. We look forward to hearing from you.