Surveying historical properties in the UK involves a thorough examination of the building’s structure, its materials, and its historical significance. There are some considerations surveyors typically take when evaluating historical properties. In the UK, one of the more basic criteria is classing a building constructed before 1930 as historic. Other considerations include the following.
Desk based research
The surveyor will spend a lot of time collating historical information about the building. Researching through historical records, local maps and any documentation regarding the property’s construction and any alterations it may have been through. Surveyors may look at the materials used, identifying timbers, stone, brick or other materials to assess the condition and suitability for preservation.
Surveyors will conduct a detailed visual inspection of both the interior and exterior of the property. As with other structural reports, they will note signs of any structural issues and deterioration, but also mention features related to historical properties, such as period specific materials and construction methods. The surveyor needs to determine whether the structure complies with current building regulations whilst bearing in mind the history of the property.
The surveyor will consider conservation principles – is there a connection with the property to anything significant from history, be it a person (historical figure), the site itself or the type of stone/timber/brick it was built from? They will assess any proposed alterations, if any repairs taken out adhere to conservation guidelines and if they require Listed Building Consent to preserve the historical integrity of the property.
This is something that is very difficult to quantify as many heritage sites are unique and would generate interest. Rarity adds value.
Historic properties can be burdened with huge repair and maintenance costs. It should be noted that modern materials and techniques can cause irreparable damage when used on historic buildings so costs would rise using more specialised tradespeople. Estimates of potential repairs/renovations can be provided by the surveyor.
Many historical properties are protected by law and labelled as scheduled monuments, graded or listed buildings. This helps to protect our heritage and prevent these buildings being demolished or developed in an unsympathetic manner. These are often protected due to their architectural or historical interest, not just their age.
Following a thorough inspection and after gathering all other research together, a detailed report reflecting the historical significance of the property will be provided, along with any repair or maintenance estimates. If you would like more information about surveys for historical properties, please get in touch.