Heritage First Ltd are heritage consultants based in the East Midlands who have a passion for our built heritage and love to find solutions for sustainable new uses and successful repairs. Working with individuals, groups and other professionals our skills are often utilised to discover creative new uses that involve local communities and identify opportunities to furthering the understanding of the historic environment. This work will usually start with investigations into the feasibility of a project and the identification of possible funding sources; if this research establishes a way forward further steps are implemented to progress the project to the next stage. Here more detailed analysis of the building is embarked upon with an in-depth viability study allowing for the recognition of sustainable new uses and will include market values, conservation deficits, project outcomes and costs.
Works to historic buildings other than minor repairs nearly always require listed building consent, planning permission and building regulation approval with the preparation of architectural drawings, specifications and reports. Often these reports can include heritage statements, statements of significance, statements of justification and design & access statements.
Without funding, projects cannot be progressed and identification of all revenue income needs to be determined at the early stages of the project with The Architectural Heritage Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund both providing options for the funding of viability appraisals. Many of the routes that are taken to cover project costs will require some element of match funding and funding strategies and plans will have to be put in place. Funding is mainly available to non-profit organisations which can include amongst others building preservation trusts, community interest companies, social enterprises, charities, trusts, parish councils and local authorities. Options for others, including businesses, are possible via partnerships with non-profit organisations and one example of this is the Heritage Lottery Funds Heritage Enterprise programme which can help to bridge the gap which prevents an historic asset being returned to a sustainable new use. In some cases, individuals, groups and Local Authorities who are the owners of heritage can gain access to funding with various programmes run by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the grant schemes from Historic England, Historic Scotland and Cadw. The completion of grant applications generally requires information obtained from other professionals including surveyors, engineers, valuers, planners and architects who we regularly work alongside. Sometimes more detailed information of the building is needed and often we have to prepare one or more of the reports mentioned above, a conservation management plan, repair schedules and architectural drawings for the application. Having successfully received funding the project will need to be managed and in many cases evaluation reports completed. To satisfy funding providers and to achieve their desired outcomes activities will have to coordinate with the local community, other groups and education providers.
Completing works on site will mean that specialist contractors will have to be employed and consideration given to the materials which are used and our experience will ensure that works are completed to yours and the grant provider's satisfaction. Ongoing maintenance of the building is an important consideration and one that should never be overlooked and a maintenance plan should always be put in place once the works are complete.
Whilst undertaking the historical research into the heritage asset new facts are frequently uncovered which can lead to archaeology investigations on site, on completion this can add to the interpretation that brings the project alive and educate others about heritage. Heritage assets are an important part of our history and work to these buildings can sometimes destroy their significance and on these occasions and where a historic record is required the building should be recorded. Building recording is undertaken on different levels and will depend on the individual requirements of the asset.
With over 30 years of experience in the field of building conservation and with professionally qualified staff Heritage First can help with every stage of your project. This can begin with helping you to form a suitable type of non-profit organisation and ensuring that your governance is correct. To finding a viable new use for your building and getting funding in place. Then running the project with full management and ensuring that outcomes are being met. On completion, we can undertake an evaluation of the project and prepare a maintenance plan to put in place.
If you are unsure of our involvement or need further advice on a current or proposed project then please contact us.
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