As discussed in my previous post, an owner of a listed building will sometimes have to deal with lots of challenges to fulfil your duty of care to a built heritage asset.
The best way to achieve this is through an appropriate maintenance strategy.
Your maintenance strategy should include a series of regular checks to be carried out in order to keep your building sound and in good condition. These may include ensuring there is not any missing, defective or slipped slates, rainwater goods are clear and running freely, the stonework is in good order and the ironwork and woodwork are all well maintained and in good decorative order.
Understanding your property.
Having a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of your property is essential to determine the best maintenance strategy, as the better you understand your property, the easier to anticipate potential problems.
Regular inspections are the most appropriate way to get familiar with your building and identify which areas are more vulnerable or are more likely to require attention helping to anticipate where and when problems might occur.
The best time to carry out your inspections is when it is raining, so you can see if there are any defects or failures within the roof or the rainwater goods system. It is also ideal to undertake a visual inspection after severe weather.
Subsequently, it is highly advisable that any inspections and maintenance work is recorded, annotating when you have done a maintenance check, recording any findings and taking some photographs to create a maintenance log book which will be crucial when preparing your maintenance plan.
Preparing your maintenance strategy.
Once you know which and where are the weak spots, which areas requiring special attention, etc., it is time to start preparing your maintenance plan.
A maintenance plan is a simple way and effective of drawing attention to any existing issues and to create reminders for when the inspections and checks have to be done. Preparing a maintenance plan check list is a very helpful way to get your maintenance plan under control.
A maintenance plan should take into account the construction of the building, if any changes or alterations have been made as well as its overall condition.
Furthermore, a maintenance plan should consider the building as a whole, including both internal and external fabric interior, services and surroundings. This could raise issues like surface water drainage or the proximity of trees.
The list below includes a series of recommended actions which may be included in your maintenance plan checklist:
- Visually inspect roofs, gutters and rainwater pipes (after every storm)
- Observe external walls for any signs of damp, trace the cause and make good the defect as required.
Twice a year (ideally in Autumn and Spring)
- Visually inspect roofs removing any leaves and other debris and replacing any loose, slipped, cracked or missing slates.
- Visually inspect rainwater goods removing any debris, leaves, etc. ensuring outlets are clear and repairing any leaks as necessary.
- Remove any overgrowth vegetation from the building.
- Wipe paintwork.
Once a year:
- Inspect roofs by professional roofer.
- Sweep chimney, if in regular use.
- Inspect/rod drains by professional plumber.
- Check of heating system and boiler by heating engineers, including cleaning ducts and sweeping flue if required.
- Inspect fire extinguishers by supplier.
- Repair and repaint south facing woodwork if necessary.
Every five years:
- Clean out roof/loft spaces.
- Undertake a condition survey of the building by a qualified professional.
- Prepare schedule of repairs in order of urgency for next five years by a qualified professional.
- Inspect and test electrical installation by electrician.
- Inspect all external ironwork and woodwork, repaint as necessary.
Just do what you think should be done rather than wait and see. A proactive approach will definitely help you save money and headaches later.
However, the best way to ensure success is always putting your property in the hands of an experienced professional.
Our professional team of Building Surveyors and Architects at GLM will be able to provide you with valuable professional advice and guidance to prepare a tailored maintenance strategy for your listed building. We are experienced in the repair and maintenance of historic buildings and delivering annual Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) works to a wide range of historic and listed buildings.
I hope that the information I have shared with you is of interest and has been helpful, but if you have any queries or questions about owning, buying and maintaining a listed building, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to help you.
Chartered Building Surveyor