Preserving historic buildings can be meticulous and rewarding projects that merge the best of the past and present. The intricate processes required to conserve Grade I & II-listed buildings for future generations involve various steps and services, each crucial to conserving architectural treasures from the past. This blog will explore a comprehensive list of services essential for successful historic building conservation. It includes building surveys, design services, specifying repairs and alterations, obtaining listed building consent, tendering, and overseeing onsite works.

Building Survey

The initial phase of any historically valuable building project begins with a thorough building survey from suitably qualified and experienced personnel. This process involves a detailed examination of the property’s structure to understand its current condition, identify areas that require attention, and gather historical data that will inform any conservation strategy.

A Historic Building Survey is essential to undertake as part of the planning process to preserve a record of the layout, chronology and surroundings of any historic building before conservation or alteration. The work typically involves writing a detailed survey report, including drawings and a photographic record. Advanced techniques like 3D laser scanning and thermal imaging may be employed to understand the building’s fabric better.

Understanding a building’s historical context is also essential to any survey. This may involve researching its architectural style, construction methods, and social significance. Archival research and consultations with local historians can provide invaluable insights into the building’s past, guiding the conservation process to ensure that any interventions are sympathetic to the original design and materials.

Historic England, as a body responsible for historically significant buildings, advocates a detailed survey as an integral part of their CoBRA (Conservation-Based Research and Analysis) methods.

Provide Design Services

Preserving original historical features and incorporating modern, contemporary needs is a delicate balance that requires sympathetic design and architecture. It is a process that requires creativity, sensitivity, and a deep understanding of historical architecture. Properties provide tangible links to the past, offering insights into historical events, styles, and craftsmanship. Conservation ensures that these valuable assets remain intact for future generations, maintaining an area’s character and aesthetic appeal.

Your historic building project may also involve rehabilitation elements. In this case, the building may need to be adapted for new uses and updated with modern features while retaining its historic character. Both approaches require detailed design plans that respect, importantly, the original architectural intentions.

Specifying the Repair and Design of Any Alterations

Following design work, specifying repairs and alterations required to conserve a historic building should be possible. This process, undertaken with care and diligence, will provide a list of works for every aspect of the property conservation work, including precise descriptions of materials, construction methods, and finishes. These specifications ensure that the work carried out by contractors meets the high standards required for historic buildings.

Specifying modern engineering techniques and materials may be appropriate, particularly as our understanding of building conservation and expectations over environmental standards have changed considerably in recent years. In these cases, a designer or architect must specify repair and alteration tasks in such a way that the building’s original style, functionality and performance. All new construction should be highly sympathetic to the old.

Obtain Listed Building Consent

buildings identified as historically significant through the grading process. Successfully navigating the rules for Graded Buildings is essential to avoid time-consuming and potentially expensive legal complications. In the worst scenario, failure to comply with regulations can mean re-doing or undoing conservation work to return a property to its original condition.

The application for listed building consent for conservation must be comprehensive and detailed. It typically includes architectural drawings, a heritage statement, and a justification for the proposed works. The heritage statement explains the significance of the building, the impact of the proposed works, and how these works will preserve or enhance the building’s character.

Successfully navigating the listed building consent process typically involves close liaison with heritage officers and local planning authorities. Regular communication ensures that concerns are addressed promptly and the application meets all necessary criteria.


Once the design work is complete, works specified, and permission is gained, tendering is the process of selecting contractors to carry out the conservation work. It is crucial to choose competent contractors and tradespeople. Tasks not delivered to the highest standards by professionals with the necessary skills and experience may lead to delays and additional expenses.

Tender competition documents must be thorough and precise to find the best contractors for your conservation project. They should include detailed work specifications, drawings, schedules, and contract terms. Such documents provide potential contractors with all the information they need to prepare accurate bids and help you with decision-making.

Chosen contractors should have experience with historic buildings and a proven track record of similar projects to your requirements. You should certainly ask for client references and details of previous projects in your tender document questions to aid a fair and transparent selection process.

You should evaluate all contractor bids for quality and sustainability, not just cost. The goal is to select a contractor who offers the best value for money, balancing cost with the ability to deliver the project to the required standards.

Oversee Onsite Works

The final phase of the conservation process involves the oversight of on-site works by a suitably qualified building conservation specialist. It is vital to ensure that the works are as planned and that the integrity of the historic building is preserved throughout. Adequate supervision is essential to keep the project on schedule and within budget. This includes regular site visits, progress meetings, and close communication with the contractors. Any issues or deviations from the plan are addressed promptly to avoid delays or additional costs.

Maintaining high standards of workmanship is crucial. This involves regular inspections of the work as it progresses, ensuring that materials and methods adhere to the specifications. Any substandard work is corrected immediately to prevent compromising the building’s integrity.

Once the work is complete, final inspections are conducted to ensure that everything has been carried out to the required standards. This includes checking that all repairs and alterations align with the specifications and that the building’s historic character has been preserved or enhanced.

The final step is formally handing over the completed project to the client. This involves a detailed review of all work carried out, providing the client with comprehensive documentation, and ensuring they are satisfied with the results. The handover should also include advice on future conservation to ensure the building remains in excellent condition for years to come.

Fresson & Tee’s Historic Building Conservation Offering

Fresson & Tee prides itself on providing consultancy services to historic building conservation projects. By choosing us, you can have confidence in all conservation project phases, from initial survey to overseeing completion and handover. Working with our experts reduces the chances of costly mistakes from beginning to end. Working with Fresson & Tee’s team of experienced construction professionals will make you feel supported at every step of the way.

As an architectural design company specialising in conservation, we pride ourselves on our commitment to excellence in every aspect of building repair, alteration and protection. We have a proven track record that valuable structures from our past continue to inspire and serve their communities into the future.