Regular inspection and maintenance will help keep a building in satisfactory condition, thus preventing or reducing the need for repair and deferring the need for major and expensive work.
Whilst maintenance can be very straightforward, it should be carried out properly to prevent causing damage to the building.
Organising maintenance can be very simple, especially if you use a checklist of inspection and maintenance tasks.
Stopping moisture from entering a building is the first priority. This means that roof coverings, gutters, downpipes and drains must be kept in good order. Moisture can result in rotting timber which can eventually cause structural failure. It can also affect plaster and decorative finishes and create poor conditions inside the building for occupants. Broken and overflowing drains, if allowed to persist, can also undermine the foundations of a building with potentially very serious consequences.
Climate change means that regular maintenance is even more important as very heavy rainfall means that gutters and drains may struggle to cope, and ensuring they are kept clear may prevent overflows and flooding.
If a problem is discovered, it is essential to understand the cause of the problem before deciding what repair will be necessary. This highlights the importance of a proper inspection and survey.
It is generally best practice to repair rather than renew parts of a building, in order to retain as much historic building fabric as possible. Repairs should normally be carried out on a like-for-like basis using traditional craft techniques and materials that are compatible with the original building fabric. To help you to make the most sensitive and appropriate decisions, see Understanding Your Property.
It is important to employ people with the appropriate skills and expertise to carry out the work. Looking at their previous work and talking to previous customers may help.
If you are employing a professional advisor, architect or surveyor, it is important that they have expertise and experience of working with historic buildings. See Conservation Accreditation for more details.