CJ consulting
CJ consulting

  Heritage management - when the future relies upon the past

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CJ consulting provides dedicated professional support for all on any built heritage matter.  Whether it be a scheduled ancient monument, listed building, conservation area, historic park/garden or undesignated building, CJ consulting has the necessary skills to help you with specialist knowledge, extensive multidisciplinary experience and conservation accreditation.


A full range of services are available for construction projects ranging from maintenance, repair and replacement, alteration or extension, through to new build within historic context.   Working nationally on any property type or period, there are workable solutions to suit any brief or budget, whether you’re an owner, tenant or developer.  


Flexible consultancy is also available to other architects, surveyors or agents and CJ consulting welcomes collaborative working.


Most traditional buildings contribute to our heritage, whether they be listed or not so it makes sense to look after them.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Economic: generating income during development as well as end use, supporting business and tourism with increased value when properly maintained
  • Social: educational and training opportunities to learn new skills and gain confidence, volunteering and bringing communities together with unique character reinforcing sense of place and belonging
  • History: provides a tangible link to our ancestors, illustrating the lives before us and allowing us to leave our mark for the future
  • Biodiversity: providing a home to all sort of protected species and plants
  • Sustainability: proven durability lasting centuries with good repair, vernacular architecture often responding to local climatic conditions
  • Health: thermal mass providing comfort from hot weather, shared appreciation and generally pleasing aesthetics aid well being
  • Knowledge: building practices, social and climatic events which may help us in the future

Managing or owning a designated building comes with greater responsibility however.  All manner of works are strictly controlled covering the interior, exterior, below ground as well as views to/from the setting.  Failure to obtain consent is a criminal offence which could result in a temporary stop notice, rectification work, costly fine or prison sentence.  Neglect may also prompt urgent works by the local authority with costs recovered by a land charge that could ultimately lead to compulsory purchase.  Unlike planning, there is no time limit in which to bring enforcement action either - it can last for decades.


Practical examples of how you could benefit from the added value of a Specialist Conservation Architect from CJ consulting (CJC) are listed below but if you have a particular issue, please do not hesitate to get in contact.  If you are struggling with your old building, please do arrange a free no obligation site visit.  

Need advice on how to properly care for your building ?

CJC can undertake a condition survey and report with prioritised repair schedules and estimated costs.  The survey can be a one off or reoccurring commitment say every 4-5 years.  Such work provides reassurance to building owners, informs construction work and planned maintenance.  CJC uses knowledge of best conservation practice together with experience of tried and tested solutions when recommending work.  CJC has gained a unique understanding of the decay mechanisms in Wales through long term inspection and monitoring.  Such guidance together with committed appropriate care, should maximise the durability of your valuable building and reduce lifecycle costs.

Banging your head with your planning/conservation officer or perhaps struggling with various heritage bodies ?

 CJC can support you by ‘talking’ the same language through knowledge of the relevant policies and issues involved.  By understanding the needs of the building and what you are trying to achieve, CJC can advise on the most appropriate solution and provide additional information required to demonstrate that your proposal has addressed the concerns raised.  Even if you already have an agent, CJC will work alongside to try and move things forward for you.  This support also extends to ongoing or completed work where you may be facing enforcement, stop notices or retrospective applications.

Heard of ‘sustainability’ and ‘retrofitting’ but wonder how this is applicable to historic buildings ?  

There is a bewildering array of products and methods aimed at reducing carbon and energy use.  Most offer a one fit all solution however that pays no regard to the long term effects that could devalue your property.  CJC will help you by going through the options available and highlight the likely impact and risk to historic fabric so that you can make informed decisions.  Proposals for a traditional building (whether listed or not) must be undertaken holistically and on each individual basis.  CJC offers impartial advice with practical solutions based upon current thinking and proven results. 

Being asked for a Heritage Statement ?

Heritage Statements became a statutory requirement for applications for Listed Building and Conservation Area consent in Wales on 1st September 2017.   You may also find them referred to as Conservation Statements, Heritage Impact Assessments, Justification but essentially they are a means of managing changes to heritage.   They should be prepared by a qualified and competent expert such as CJ consulting and generally comprise the following information:  

  • Statement of Significance

  • Objectives of what you are trying to achieve

  • Clearly defined proposals including a brief schedule of works and photographs 

  • Justification explaining the options considered, reasons for your preferred approach and any mitigation measures proposed to minimise impact

  • Heritage Impact Assessment based upon Cadw Conservation Principles.  This essentially identifies the potential benefits or harm of your proposal as well as impact on neighbouring designated buildings/sites

  • Access Statement describing how your proposals provide reasonable access with the least detrimental impact upon significance


You may need to provide other supporting information such as drawings, condition survey, structural report, ecological report, archaeological investigation etc.  A Statement of Significance is a description of the history and value of your heritage.  It helps define how and why your site/building is important and is a crucial first step in managing a historic asset.  Cadw Conservation Principles identifies four values which should to be considered:

  1. Evidential: physical clues which indicate how and when the site/building was made and changed over time.  Sources include visible fabric itself as well as concealed archaeology plus documentary sources such as maps, photographs, historical archives

  2. Historical: how the site/building illustrates a particular way of life, event or person

  3. Aesthetic: sensory effects including the setting and views to and from the site/building

  4. Communal: commemorative, symbolic or spiritual meaning the building/site has for people and the part played in cultural or public life

Got a logistically challenging project ?

The infrastructure required to work on old buildings is often more significant that the work itself with churches and castles in particular having their own unique set of challenges.    Physical restrictions from ancient fabric, site location and surrounding modern development can be problematic.  Protected species and ecological habitats often impose constraints whilst commercial pressures force many to work on occupied sites.  CJC can develop specific construction methodologies for working in such difficult circumstances with mitigating measures such as construction sequence, designated areas and temporary protection.  CJC also has specific experience of helicopter delivery, specialist scaffolding and cherry picker access.  CJC design solutions will be practical not only for initial ease of construction but for future maintenance with due regard for health and safety.



Want to alter or extend your listed building and not sure how to go about getting the necessary consents ?  

As part of an application for listed building consent, you will need to provide evidence to demonstrate that your proposals are the least intrusive option for both immediate needs and the longer term.  CJC will help you understand the significance of your site (how and why it is special) to develop sensitive solutions based upon an assessment of their impact.  A transparent record of decision making is an essential part of complying with the legislation and policies protecting your building.  A good design which adds value based upon logical reasoning and justification is therefore far more likely to gain support. 


Developing a building/site which requires some sensitivity ?

CJC expertise and considered approach is applicable to almost all development which has to respond to surrounding context.  Working in a conservation area, within the curtilage of a listed building or historic setting requires particular empathy and awareness but there are many non designated buildings that deserve special care and attention too.  CJC knows how to create positive impact through appropriate scale, form and materials whether it is a traditional or modern design.  Any CAD monkey can churn out drawings but creating a sense of place requires delicacy and skill.  If you've been refused consent why not get a bespoke design from CJC who has a passion for our built surroundings which can transform the opinion of those determining statutory applications. 


Interested in your building history ? 

CJC can undertake research to reveal your building’s past and how it evolved to changing circumstances.  This process involves an understanding of social history through notably people, events or movements.  Your unique building fabric also contains physical clues which CJC can decipher using local knowledge of historical materials and construction techniques.  Taking time to delve into your sites past is worthwhile even if you are dealing with modern buildings and green field sites.  Looking at old maps, plans and generally being aware of surrounding historical land uses and archaeology can be revealing enough to pre-empt costly delays during construction.  Past human activity can affect the design of your building with foundations, floors and services in particularly often affected and so historical information really should be part of you pre-construction information.

Worried about the extensive work your builder says you need to have done ? 

You should always seek multiple advice from suitably experienced contractors with relevant references.  CJC doesn’t sell any products or construction work however and will provide you with an unbiased professional opinion on the actual defect, appropriate works and how to comply with statutory requirements.  CJC can also help you acquire the necessary skilled craftsmen for the work or guide your chosen contractor in the right direction.  If you need a second opinion following advice from your designer, CJC can help here too. 

Forced to make alterations through building regulations ?  

CJC can advise on caveat areas in this legislation which may be relaxed where compliance unacceptably alters character or appearance and for technical reasons, whether the building is listed or not.  Commonplace difficulties arise from services, structure, sound, access, fire, control of moisture and thermal efficiency.  CJC avoids the rigid application of approved document solutions by looking at the underlying purpose of the regulation and applying this in a  manner more appropriate for your building.   CJC can provide justification to building control to enable them to issue that completion certificate.

Purchased a vacant old building with the intention to put back into use ?

CJC can support your venture on all aspects following recognised conservation principles which will help you gain funding and statutory consents.  Although this process can take years, CJC can provide long term commitment.  CJC can undertake investigations into immediate need as well as help you gain public participation or support through media and open days.  CJC can help you address health and safety issues, implement emergency repairs and protect ecology through early dialogue and phased statutory consents.  CJC can advise on appropriate measures to protect against weather, fire, intrusion, vandalism, theft, control of invasive vegetation and unwanted animal entry.  Temporary protection also requires careful design to avoid damage from wind uplift, water diversion or damage from future removal whilst providing important ventilation and humidity control.

Planning to project manage the construction phase ?

Your building is likely to be the largest investment you’ll ever make so consider carefully whether you have the necessary skills and experience to care for it at such a crucial time.  Before any construction work takes place, CJC can prepare documentation which clearly defines the work in terms of its scope and specification including health and safety information and contractual arrangements.  CJC can help you select suitable builders, obtain quotations or undertake a formal tender procedure.  CJC can provide advice on building contracts and administer them on your behalf to minimise the risk of disputes and defects.  CJC can undertake site visits to monitor site safety and progress against programme, inspect workmanship and materials and check compliance with statutory obligations.  Changes during construction are common place and CJC can keep track of costs and agree variations, specify alternatives, co-ordinate input from others and renegotiate statutory consents.  Such professional support will help successfully deliver your project quality on time and to budget.

Planning restoration or replacement ?

The motivation behind speculative restoration will always be questioned given the potential to compromise authenticity.   Ideally features have been lost due to natural decline and not some historic event with work preferably concentrated to a part of the building informed by physical evidence.  CJC can make a compelling case for restoration however by analysing your building to sufficiently understand the impact and develop proposals that will enhance its evolution.  If faithful restoration or replacement is not feasible, CJC can record detail and demonstrate alternatives which can be undertaken without harm and minimal impact.  CJC understands how to respect each layer and will provide new designs that won’t diminish your heritage or prejudice future alternative solutions.

Buying or selling a listed building ?

Most listed buildings have some form of unauthorised work which often doesn't get picked up by solicitor searches or specialist surveys.  Unlike planning, there is no time limit for enforcement action so new owners are vulnerable.  Vacant properties with the benefit of listed building consent for conversion/restoration need carefully scrutiny too with risk of insufficient detail or technical foresight for the works ahead.  CJC advise on potential areas of concern so that you can make an informed decision with options such as bartering the asking price, obtaining insurance or legal agreement as well as halting purchase.  If you are thinking of selling your listed building, it may be worth checking compliance too.  Obtaining statutory consents is time consuming and adds more expense to your purchase.  CJC can also advise on any changes you might like to make as well as the procedures required.

Need to provide a Conservation Management Plan ?

Since 1998, the Heritage Lottery Fund has requested applicants prepare a Conservation Management Plan for major developments.  It is a strategic document however which can help inform future management and development on any historic asset.  The plan should be prepared by suitable persons with conservation training and experience such as CJ consulting.  Whilst the plan contents will vary for each site/building, it generally contains the following:


  • Statement of significance which may include chronological information and visual representations of significance
  • Gazetteers which may comprise photographs or maps and drawings
  • Analysis of the opportunities, risks or threats to heritage
  • Policies or practical guidelines on how the significance can be retained from day to day basis as well as any future major redevelopment. Issues such as management, access and environmental change etc. are also explored
  • Maintenance plan


A good Conservation Plan will be subject to consultation and input from several multidisciplinary sources.  It may be supported by other studies and reports such as archaeological analysis, condition surveys, structural reports, ecological surveys, scientific investigation, community consultation, business plans.

Embarrassed by the lack of access and ease of use ?

The regulations require ‘reasonable’ adjustments to be made to historic buildings to ensure access for all.  CJC can undertake an access audit on your behalf and advise on what such ‘reasonable’ measures may entail for wheelchair access and other disabilities.  CJC can develop innovative, imaginative design solutions and consult with relevant heritage and access bodies to come up with a low impact final solution.  Physical alteration is not always necessary however as improvements can be made through simple managerial procedures.


Need to obtain grant funding ?

CJC has the conservation accreditation required by grant giving bodies such as Cadw, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund and will work collaboratively with others to secure finance for your project.  CJC has experience of other grant sources too and can provide support in complying with various procurement methods and grant conditions throughout the duration of your project.  Being able to identify and articulate your heritage to others is crucial to obtaining grant and CJC can help find out why your building matters and why it should be saved.



Worried about landlord compliance with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations ?

These regulations apply to most private rented properties with those with an EPC rating of F or G required to take appropriate steps to improve to an E rating.  Such work can be harmful to traditional buildings and the exemption for listed buildings is only applicable if compliance would 'unacceptably alter' the property's character or appearance.  In most circumstances a draft EPC is required to assess impact on a case by case basis.  Failure to comply with MEES can result in financial penalty as well as create issues with your tenancy agreement.  As a conservation accredited Architect, CJ consulting can provide advice and 'written expert evidence' to allow you to register for a 5 year exemption on the PRS Exemptions Register.



Bombarded by a long list of conditions before you can start work ?

CJC can provide assistance in the form of drawn or photographic recording, building details, methodologies for construction, as built drawings and revised heritage impact assessments.  CJC offers a trained eye so the information provided actually reflects what is required on site.  CJC can also advise on suitable alternatives and provide appropriate justification where it is not possible to replicate traditional materials and detailing.  Applicants often use the phrase such as ‘like for like’ or’ to match existing’ with insufficient detail which usually results in additional conditions that lead to further delay and increase in cost. Many frustrated conservation officers include conditions instead of asking for drawings to be revised and this causes no end of confusion with risk of enforcement action.

Need a change of use to create future prosperity ?

Whilst it is essential for the survival of a building for it to remain in occupation, there is often a tension between conservation and other interests which needs a balanced approach.  CJC will positively manage such change to help sustain heritage values whilst creating economic and social viability.  Unlocking development potential requires greater flexibility and problem solving skills compared to new build.  Following an analysis of your building, CJC will explore options through a feasibility study in order to achieve general consensus against criteria such as maintenance, sustainability, capital and lifecycle costs, archaeological or ecological impact, reversibility, technical challenges, aesthetics, etc.

Working with lime - can you spot experience ?

There are different types of lime and methods of production available and many will not be suitable for your project.  The mix is another minefield, particularly if you are trying to match an existing mortar.  Even if you’re confident about the latter, you will need to consider other factors such as building materials and construction type, time of year, building location and orientation as well as detailing and condition of fabric.  Couple all this with poor site workmanship and it’s no wonder jobs regularly go wrong.  Lime is a marvellous material but it needs experience and an understanding of its limitations so that expectations can be realistically managed.  CJC can provide advice, specifications and comment upon defective work with c.20 years lime experience and as a longstanding member of the Building Limes Forum.

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