From the 22nd November 2013 it’s the start of Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings National Maintenance Week for 2013. Dayle discusses the importance of undertaking simple checks and maintenance to help stave of decay off our Listed Buildings.
More than 40 old houses across Suffolk are in the grips of decay – many after simple daily maintenance and minor repairs have been neglected, a property expert said today.
Dayle Bayliss, a leading construction consultant, said owners of historic, heritage or listed homes needed to pay attention to their daily upkeep because “protection would prevent the need for restoration”.
Speaking at the start of National Maintenance Week, an annual event championed by the charity Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, she said: “People who reside in one of the beautiful old homes dotted around Suffolk should tend to them as part of a rolling, long-term programme of minor repair.
“If they do not keep on top of this daily maintenance, their property is likely to join the 40 or so old homes in the area already crumbling and designated at risk.”
There are currently 107 buildings in Suffolk on the English Heritage At Risk Register, 40% of which are dwellings.
Dayle, whose business Dayle Bayliss Design and Construction Consultants specialises in heritage sites, architectural design, building surveying and project management, said: “An old house cannot be left for long periods without any maintenance. By the time major repairs get underway, much of the historic fabric will be beyond repair and may simply end up being stripped out and carted away in a skip.”
SPAB’s National Maintenance Week campaign for 2013 aims to encourage homeowners – and people who care for public buildings such as churches, village halls and local authority properties – to be aware of the very simple, economic and easily achievable steps they can take at the beginning of winter to stave off costly major faults and damage at a later date.
Dayle said: “This should include everything from regularly cleaning fireplaces to annually assessing your roof for tile and slate slippage. Make sure you keep on top of repairs to lead work, gutters and wet or dry rot and at least every five years, examine the brickwork of your walls for bulges and signs of movement.
“You should also manage plant growth because climbing plants, however attractive, can damage historic buildings.
“Finally keep an eye on damp and mould inside your house, look out for bug infestations such as woodworm and maintain your external woodwork and window frames.
“If these checks are carried out regularly many of the defects will be simple and cheap to sort out at the time and will prevent you from forking out for expensive and extensive repairs at a later date.”
Dayle said that as well as maintaining old houses, those who cared for public buildings needed to keep up to date with repairs – especially during the colder weather.
She said: “There are a great many properties on in Suffolk which have fallen into disrepair, not as the result of maintenance, but because, through lack of need, they have become redundant. These are incredible structures and they could be given a new lease of life if a use could be found for them.”
Among these are the Grade II listed Umbrello at Great Saxham, the Grade II listed Orangery at Glevering Hall, a lighthouse in Orford and various structures associated with defence including a Martello Tower in Alderton built in 1810.
Greg Luton, planning and conservation director for English Heritage in the East of England, said the organisation was on target nationally to save 25% of 1,137 sites on the register in 2010 by 2015. Some of this will be done through regeneration projects.
“The East of England’s heritage at risk ranges from a former atomic bomb store to a grand timber-framed barn and includes historic windmills and water mills, a castle keep, Martello towers located along the coast and historic chapels and country houses,” he said.
Dayle Bayliss Design and Construction Consultants specialise in architectural design, building surveying and project management. For more information on their services visit their website at: www.daylebayliss.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org