Heritage Works for Housing: Implementation

Project Milestone: Entering into contract

The implementation period will be defined by the type of contract. Historic buildings can be complex, and as such contract negotiations can become protracted whilst the relevant parties seek to minimise and mitigate risk. Early consideration of the contract during the design development stage can help to reduce programme impacts and an Employer’s Agent can be valuable in navigating the process.

Key elements of the contract specific to historic buildings may include the scope of work, including any specific requirements related to the preservation of historic features or materials. It may also include insurance and liability requirements for all parties involved in the project, including any specific requirements related to historic preservation.

My advice for anyone would be to really put as much energy into contractor selection as you put into the technical due diligence. Having the right contractual partner who has the skills and supply chain to be able to do that specialist work is what will ultimately get you the quality outcome that you're looking for.

Helen Spencer Great Places Housing Association

The construction phase

Prior to commencing works, the relevant building control consents should be sought, and which should include any design development as a result of contractual negotiations.

Important considerations in the construction phase that are specific to historic buildings include:

  • Discharging the relevant planning and listed building consent conditions.
  • Unforeseen discoveries being made.
  • As design develops to construction level detail there may be changes required to the approved drawings, e.g. due to buildability challenges.

Whilst the challenges for any building project can be difficult to predict, there are a number of considerations at this stage that can help to facilitate a simpler process:

  • Procure tradespeople with specialised skills in historic preservation.
  • Establish a strategy for how unforeseen discoveries will be addressed as and when they arise, this may be included as part of the building contract. The strategy may also include allowing for appropriate contingencies and which specialists should be consulted.
  • Ensure that works are carried out in accordance with relevant building codes and regulations.
  • Using planning and listed building consent conditions to streamline the construction process by providing a forum to agree details that were unknown at application stage. Otherwise, planning permission and listed building consents may be required for small additional works.
  • Consider the supply chain to source the material needed for construction.
  • Monitor progress to ensure that the work is being carried out to a high standard, which will involve regular site visits, inspections and quality control checks.
  • Effective communication between all members of the project team.

Project Milestone: Practical completion

Practical completion will likely include an inspection and snagging, handover, final payment, and a defects liability period, before the issue of a completion certificate.

Heritage Works for Housing: Process

Previous: Early Works

Current: Implementation

Next: Occupation and Management

Heritage Works for Housing

Historic England aims to support developers in their journey to reusing historic buildings. This guidance highlights how historic buildings can be reused, repurposed and refurbished to provide residential development. It outlines the process from buying an historic building to long-term occupation and management; and the key challenges and approaches to overcome.

These pages provide case studies of successful reuse of historic buildings into new homes, creating sustainable and dynamic places to live. Historic buildings are a tangible opportunity to address ongoing industry challenges, including the housing requirement whilst minimising carbon impacts.

Managing Change
The Interface of New and Old
Case Study Resources

Historic England engaged Deloitte LLP to assist with the preparation of this Publication / Guidance which uses information provided by Historic England as well as research undertaken by Deloitte to provide guidance on the process for use of historic buildings for residential purposes. Any views, conclusions, insights, and/or recommendations within this Publication / Guidance are Historic England's alone.