It is often the smallest items of works that can end up causing the greatest problems. They don’t get the attention they deserve, they are dismissed as trivial and it is easy cut corners for the sake of convenience. This can make previous repairs one of the biggest headaches when it comes to resolving building defects.
Traditional buildings may be listed by Historic Environment Scotland as being of particular interest. This can mean that permission is required before work is carried out. Most historic villages and towns have a conservation area, which means that even if your building is not listed, there are still restrictions on what can be done without permission.
Whats the harm?
Well, the planning controls are there for a reason and I often get calls from people who are looking to sell their property and suddenly find that their paperwork is not in order. They need to apply for retrospective approval. If you have replaced your window without permission, you could have a serious problem, the planning authority could refuse to grant permission and insist you replace the windows with something more appropriate.
Then there is the matter of specifying the right materials for the job and having a qualified trades person carry out the work. One of my common refrains is that ordinary builders do not have the traditional skills necessary to carry out works on old or historic properties. They can do a great deal of damage, using the wrong materials and techniques, but unfortunately nobody will realise until several years later, when the problems make themselves visible.
Many problems can be avoided by arranging a regular 5year Health Check by an accredited conservation professional. They will be able to give advice on maintenance and repair items, spotting potential issues early, when they are more easily and cost effectively dealt with.
More detailed information about maintenance issues is available in our members area, click here.
MAAC studio are accredited conservation architects and principal designers working with traditional buildings throughout the North of Scotland.