by Aspect County

Makes me want to scream…

Owning an old building is not something that should be taken lightly, it’s a choice when you make the decision to continue the betterment of a property that holds a historical significance, not just for your own enjoyment but to protect its integrity and history for the owners of the future.

Now that does not mean that the introduction of our modern day life styles should be curtailed or our personal betterment shouldn’t be put on hold just because we live in a piece of history. We need to have a little more sympathy and understanding when we decide to improve our historic stock of houses. I have had several incidents recently where I have had to deal with issues where there have been modifications to listed buildings with little or no thought at all to future maintenance or any forthcoming problems.

Hurley Grade II 1800
This box gutter formed when the loft space was converted around 1990 has full listed building consent and the lead formed box gutter is 14” below the existing level, also the outlet is 2” wide. Of course when it rains hard the gutter which in effect is like a boat with a small hole in it fills up and overflows into the house…

Now far be it from me to criticise the powers that make these decisions but there has to be some logic within the framework that makes what are fundamentally serious decisions in the welfare of these buildings. Quite often these decisions are made by people who have had little or no practical experience in the field and make judgements using Google. How many times do you see a lovely bespoke conservatory on the back of a house with no concept how any maintenance can be carried out on the window or woodwork above?

Chimney early 17th century Hampshire
This beautiful 17C chimney complete with Inglenook fireplace on the inside is an impressive historical feature s of this farm house. Planning was given to build an extension to the left, but any building work was not allowed to compromise the chimney, so the plan to build in a 3” wide box gutter (on the left by the window where the bricks are a different colour) The owners clean it out with a spoon on a stick!!! And of course it’s leaking… genius!!

Hampshire Grade II circa 1750*
This cross beam in a lovely old house had a support plate bolted to the bottom around 20 years ago.

The beam is losing its integrity and we need to fit better supports. Bolting angled plates into each of the four corners on the sides of the beams will do the trick!
The local conservation officer said we can’t gain access to the sides because we will damage the historic fabric of the original lath ceiling.

With the example above for the sake of the lath ceiling we are jeopardising the structural integrity of the ceiling and first floor with the possible catastrophic failure of the floor joint and massive damage to everything around it.

So if you Love Old Buildings,really love old buildings, do give a little thought and consideration for the future when doing works and for all you conservation officers remove those blinkers and please look at the bigger picture.

Until Next Time, Love Old buildings.