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Planning requirements for restoring your period home

By Published On: March 22nd, 2022
Planning for protected buildings

Planning requirements for protected buildings

If you are planning to carry out any works to a protected structure or a property situated in a Designated Architectural Conservation Area, you will need full planning permission for any proposed works you wish to carry out. 

This includes any cleaning or restoration works to the façade of the building. 

Section 5 can be applied if works are deemed necessary maintenance and will hasten the deterioration of the building. 

Otherwise, any improvement works to your listed property, including the cleaning of the façade, will require full planning permission. Prior to cleaning works to the façade of the Gresham Hotel we engaged the services of David Averill, Conservation Architect at Sheahan and Barry to manage the planning process for the client. 

The Gresham Hotel cleaned by PMAC

Here we employed a non abrasive, Façade Gommage cleaning system. This method gently rubs and erases layers of dirt from stone or brick using a fine abrasive powder Read More

Conservation Aims of Local Authority

Local Conservation Officers are committed to safeguarding historic buildings from demolition or unsuitable alteration, as well as minimizing the effects of natural deterioration. Deterioration is often caused by lack of proper maintenance such as inappropriate cleaning and restoration. The cleaning of a building’s façade can be a vital aspect to it’s preservation. Cleaning can greatly improve the appearance of the streetscape and encourage further improvements in the location.

Minimum intervention is best conservation practice

Natural soiling can greatly add to the character of a historic building and cleaning may not be advised. Over cleaning can take away from the building’s character and natural patina. Minimum intervention should always be adhered to when conserving historic stone and brick work. However, soiling and incorrect maintenance can be a potential source of façade decay and lead to structural damage. 

Cleaning Methodology and samples must be submitted at planning

When applying for planning permission to clean a protected structure you must submit a full scope of works, outlining the conservation methodology for the proposed cleaning specification. The cleaning of historic buildings must abide by minimum intervention and ensure best conservation practices at all times. 

Samples must be carried out on site as part of the planning application and satisfy the Conservation Officer before planning is granted.

Façade Restoration works require planning permission

When carrying out any restoration works, including re-pointing and repairs to a protected structure, full planning permission is required. As part of the application process, thorough investigations need to be carried out in order to identify the original pointing style. Mortar must be analyzed to determine it’s composition and replicated. 

Prior to 1963 a lot of Historical buildings were sadly demolished and also re-pointed and repaired in a completely different style to the original.  The introduction of cementitious mortar has led to the deterioration of our built heritage. Incorrect maintenance works also conceal the original craftsmanship and architectural features of the building. Remnants of original pointing are often found hidden under signage or window sills. Once identified as original, all restoration works must be carried out in exactly the same style using the same materials. 

Façade Restoration PMAC, repointed in Irish wigging

Façade Restoration PMAC, repointed in Irish wigging

We have come across this on many projects, the client was happy to re-point their façade in the more common, and considerably less expensive, flush and brush style. However, upon investigation, Irish wigging was revealed and so planning was only granted for this method.

Check to see whether your property is protected

Before considering undertaking any works to a property you should always check your local authority’s website to see if it is listed as a protected structure.

https://www.dublincity.ie/sites/default/files/2020-08/dublin-city-development-plan-2016-2022-volume-4.pdf

Engage with a Conservation Architect

If listed, we propose seeking the advice of a Conservation Architect as planning will most likely be needed to carry out any works.

Dublin Civic Trust and the Irish Georgian Society run very good courses delivered by experts in their field. These cover topics such as roofing, plasterwork, cleaning, pointing and repairs. These will give you a better understanding of the methods and processes required to preserve your period property and also help smoothen the planning application process.  

Check your contractor’s credentials

When appointing a Contractor to carry out work on your listed property, ensure they are a Certified Heritage Contractor. It is also a good idea to ensure they have ISO, Safety Cert and always request to see previous works and training records.

Traditional building methods will last for over 100 years so price should not be the determining factor when awarding a Contractor.

Best Conservation Practice is always advised

If planning is not required on a period property it is still best practice to replicate materials and methods originally used. This will prolong the life of the building and help retain it’s historical and architectural importance. 

Our built heritage plays an important role in our identity and culture. It is a finite source. It is our duty, as property owners and contractors, to preserve it and ensure we can pass it on to the next generation. 

Read More on Brick and Stone Restoration

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