What is restoration?

By Roger Hunt l July 18, 2011

In light of the debate stirred by the BBC’s Restoration Home, this seems a good time to think about some of the vocabulary used to describe what we do to old buildings. The general approach to their conservation was established in 1877 when William Morris founded The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).…

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Insulation worries

By Roger Hunt l March 28, 2011

Four days of speaking and answering questions at the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Birmingham has only strengthened my concerns about the issues relating to the insulation of walls in old buildings. Twelve months ago the subject was barely on most people’s radar but, this year, the volume of questions relating to the topic…

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Old walls perform better

By Roger Hunt l March 10, 2011

For the past year or so I’ve been following some interesting in-situ research by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) about the energy performance of old buildings. Now the results from the first stage of that research are suggesting that standard U-value calculations, used across the construction industry, underestimate the thermal performance…

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The restoration question

By Roger Hunt l January 15, 2011

Repair not restoration has always been my mantra when considering the renovation of old buildings. What do I mean? Well, repair is about mending with minimum loss of fabric and thus retaining character and authenticity; restoration is about returning to a perfect state, a process often based on conjecture and potentially resulting in fakery. Taken…

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National Maintenance Week

By Roger Hunt l November 18, 2010

Maintenance is vital whatever the age of a building. Nonetheless, it’s worth remembering that maintenance should be considered on the drawing board, at the point of conception, when many potential problems can be designed out through careful detailing and the specification of appropriate materials. Another important point is the very real ‘green’ benefit of maintaining…

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Flooding and old buildings

By Roger Hunt l November 7, 2010

Incredibly, a YouGov survey commissioned by Landmark Information Group has revealed that, although one in four homes are at risk of flooding, 83% of homeowners don’t believe their homes are at risk. In the hope of making people more aware, Landmark – a supplier of digital mapping services, property and environmental risk information – launched…

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Why old buildings need to breathe

By Roger Hunt l October 12, 2010

Spending three days talking and lecturing at the National Home Improvement Show made me again realise the huge importance of getting across the message that old buildings need to ‘breathe’. Many people simply don’t understand that using the wrong materials can be an expensive mistake which may wreck their home. The way old buildings work…

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Brooking appeal

By Roger Hunt l May 10, 2010

The first time I met Charles Brooking was on an organized walk through the Surrey countryside. In no time at all I was being ushered into a series of nondescript sheds in the garden of his parent’s house below St Martha’s Hill, near Guildford. These were no ordinary sheds full of garden accoutrements. Instead, they…

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Palpable Trust

By Roger Hunt l April 22, 2010

Lecturing last weekend for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings at Tyntesfield, on the outskirts of Bristol, I had a chance to see the National Trust at its best. At this extraordinary Victorian property – one of the last great Gothic Revival country estates to survive – there is none of the stuffy,…

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