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Vacant Historic Buildings

Just as a building requires proper management when it is occupied, it is equally important to continue its proper management during any period of vacancy.

It is essential to ensure that where a building is likely to be vacated and left unoccupied for a lengthy period of time that regular inspections and routine maintenance are continued.

Protective Works

Protective works, such as ensuring roofs and windows are effectively covered (allowing for reasonable ventilation), will properly secure the building and is essential. In addition, it is also essential to avoid water ingress and flooding by regularly unblocking gutters, gullies and drains.

Carrying out a survey to identify if there is rot present and to establish the structural condition of a building will also be essential. Eradication of rot, if found, should be undertaken early. The removal of the source of water (e.g. ensuring no water is leaking in) along with ventilation is the best way to ensure that rot stops growing.

All services should be isolated. Pipe work, cisterns and taps should be drained down. Gas and electrical services should be terminated outside the building to minimize the risk of fire.

Owners Responsibilities

Owners should notify insurers, the local authority and the police as standard practice when a property is to be left vacant.

Sufficient details should be recorded to allow the building to be taken into effective management during its period of vacancy.

Where there are valuable fixtures and fittings in a building, a proper record (security marking/ photographic record) should be made of architectural items of interest such as:

  • Traditional doors
  • Fireplaces
  • Chimney pieces
  • Balustrades
  • Panelling etc.
  • Decorative cornice detail/ceiling rose

Where there is concern that security measures will not be satisfactory to prevent loss of architectural fittings, you are advised to contact the Planning Authority as a matter of urgency for advice.

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Last modified on 27 March 2023

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