The top ten considerations of conservation and construction projects

When looking at conservation building and construction on sensitive buildings or in conservation areas, there are extra considerations to be made, and more powerful legislation to abide by. It is important that before embarking on the project, you are fully aware of what is required and who will need to be involved. There are a number of pointers to consider which will raise questions, but the overriding principle of any conservation project is: to enhance and preserve.  

1 Assess
Carefully assess what is there and what you wish to add in the way of improvements or enhancements. Extra scrutiny is always applied on conservation projects, so it is important to ask about specific stipulations to avoid issues later.

2. Planning
Planning is a more complex issue so having them made and checked in advance is essential.

3. Working together 
In most conservation projects, a conservation officer will be assigned.  This is an extra layer of inspection and your plans need to be passed by the officer to stand any chance of approval. Working with them from the outset is the best action. Check if this is a requirement of your building.

4. Pre application
Involve the local authority and Parish council from an early date.  Ultimately, it will be down to them on whether planning permission will be granted.  Pre application engagement is vital, so involving all interested parties and your designer/building contractor is essential.

5. Local legislation
Follow legislation.  This may seem logical but certain rules apply in certain areas.  For example an Article 4 direction may apply, insisting that all doors are painted a particular colour.  This may affect the choices you are making for exterior fitment or window choices. Again, asking the questions early in the project may save time and money later. More information on Article 4 Direction can be found at

6. Preserve
Help preserve what is there.  There may be certain aspects of your conservation building and construction project that are unique or rare and researching these with a view to incorporating them into your design will assist in your planning application and enhance the end result.

7. The area
Research the area.  Getting a feel for the area and its history will help you in deciding how to incorporate local features into your design.  

8. The Building
Research the building.  Again, research on the actual property that you wish to conserve can only assist in the design and planning phase, increasing your chances of getting permission granted.

9. The real needs
Consider the needs of the property.  Old buildings in general have different requirements from new builds, and applying modern techniques, though technically acceptable in some circumstances, may cause major issues later.  It is therefore important to check what the building needs before making any final decisions on building products and techniques.

10. The best advice
Employ the best.  Buying the best advice and commissioning experienced planners and conservationists from the outset will undoubtedly answer many of your questions and guide you through any regulatory needs with the minimum of problems.  In conservation, skill and experience is everything.

These are considerations, pointers and questions regarding the conservation building and construction of a sensitive project which should give food for thought. Essentially,  asking questions of the relevant authorities and involving all interested parties as soon as practically possible is the key to ensuring that your conservation project is completed successfully. JDW Building and Conservation are here to advise you in any way on a range of conservation projects, we are always happy to chat about your project, so give us a call at any time