What is Conservation?


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Conservation is vital to protect our built heritage. It ensures that buildings are sustainable for generations to come. This is key to preserving our nation’s history, past cultures and communities and allows us to stay connected to the past.

Traditionally constructed buildings are different from modern ones in both the materials used, and methods of construction. By understanding the differences between traditional and modern buildings  this ensures that the correct and appropriate materials are used.

What is ‘Heritage’?

By definition, heritage is everything that has been passed down to us by previous generations, this includes, moveable goods, norms and values, history or built heritage.

While technically all buildings from the generation before us is our ‘heritage’, some of these buildings have been deemed significant to our nation’s past, and therefore need protection, these are called ‘Heritage Assets’.

What is a Heritage Asset and Listed Buildings?

Most, but not all of heritage assets are ‘Listed’, which means it is on the ‘buildings of special architectural or historic interest’ list by Historic England.

A building being listed recognises that the building is significant in a national context and brings with it regulations over alterations, extension and demolition of the building.

The interest and significance of the building may come from the architectural interest; in its design, craftmanship or being a national example of a building type or technique; or of historic interest; as it illustrates important aspects of the nation’s history or has associations with nationally important people.

There are around 400’000 listed buildings in England, and they are classified into three gradings:

Grade I – Building is of exceptional interest.

Grade II* – Building is particularly important, of more that special interest.

Grade II – Building is of special interest warranting every effort to preserve it.

What is Conservation and why is it important?

Conservation is therefore the process of maintaining, protecting and managing change to a heritage asset or listed building, in a way to sustain or reinforce its heritage value.

With the exception of like for like repairs, work to a Listed Building requires consent. Carrying out work on a Listed Building without consent is illegal.

In order to gain Listed Building Consent a Heritage Impact Assessment is required to assess the significance of the building and the harm which may be caused by any works. Historic England guidance requires a conservation accredited professional to produce the Heritage Impact Assessment.

Our conservation accredited surveyors have the requisite knowledge and expertise to produce these documents and to apply for consent for works proposed.

To learn more about our Conservation service, visit our service page, or contact our Head or Conservation, Melissa Osborne at