Happy New Year!

Over the festive break you may have managed to spend a period of extended time in a heritage property. If so, you may have become more in tune with its idiosyncrasies – rooms, or even specific parts of rooms, that are warm or cold at certain times of the day; condensation on the glass in the morning; the sound of the wind at the eaves when it blows from the North, and so on. You may have started to enjoy how the property changed over the day, and perhaps prompted you to reach for a jumper, only to throw it off again when the log fire had been lit for an hour or so!

‘The Old Farm’ on Givens Grove Estate, from Country Life 03.12.17

If you have more recently moved into an older property perhaps the ‘learning curve’ of the thermal performance of the house is a challenge. Maybe it’s a little damp in places which means it is hard to keep the building warm at all. The draught that comes through the house takes any heat outside as quickly as it is generated inside.

Winter tends to focus our attention more closely on our immediate surroundings as we constantly adjust to find comfort during the dark, cold and sometimes damp months. In fact, according to a study published in the United States, on average we spend 90% of our life in buildings, and almost 69% of our time in our homes[1]. The condition of our buildings, their influence on our internal air quality, and the way in which we use buildings has an immediate impact upon our health.

Allied to this, heritage properties – in other words, those without a cavity external wall construction, most often built before 1919 in the UK – have not necessarily kept apace with our changing lifestyles and expectations over the last century or so.

Over the coming months we will touch on these influences upon our health, with particular attention to living with heritage buildings.

If you are considering the repair, renovation or redevelopment of a heritage or listed property there is nothing more important than planning and preparation. Winter time is a great period for getting preparations in place – and in fact depending on your scheme – a series of ‘winters’ may be necessary before leaping further ahead!

If you are considering work to a heritage property always seek specialist advice – a conservation architect could assist you to establish a list of priorities for your ideas with respect to your particular property. Always consider no two properties are the same – if nothing more than subtle geographic locations which can influence the wear and tear on a building – and no two Client briefs are the same.

A full list of architects with conservation training, local to your area, can be found here on the RIBA Conservation Register, or at The Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation – the AABC Register – here.

A great way to immerse yourself in some relevant research is to spend a day at The Listed Property Show. The next event is held in London on February 9th and 10th. Click here to book tickets. In our next blog we will go into more detail about how to plan your visit to this event.


As the youngest of our nation’s heritage properties clocks up 100 years during 2019 Heritage Revival will look afresh at how we learn to live with them, not despite them.

During 2019 blog posts are scheduled for release on Fridays every fortnight. Do follow us so you don’t miss an update.

[1]  The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants, by Neil E. Klepeis and others, and published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2001.

Headline image: ‘Winter House’ by Nutsa Avaliani via https://dribbble.com/shots/2324211-Winter-House