If you’re managing a construction site, want to carry out work on a historic building or have responsibility for heritage assets, the chances are you’ll have already used, or are thinking of working with, a heritage consultant.
A heritage consultant is more than just a specialist in historic buildings or below-ground archaeology. As well as providing expert guidance on listed buildings, archaeology and heritage assets, a heritage consultant is also there to formulate strategies to manage a heritage site in relation to planned building work or construction.
Since 2018 Oakford Archaeology have been the lead heritage consultants at Forde Abbey, a former cistercian monastery and stately home in Dorset. The site of the former abbey church and cloister are protected as a scheduled monument, while the standing remains of the abbey and stately home are Grade 1 listed buildings. The extensive parkland is also statutorily protected. The abbey management team and architects were looking at undertaking a large project renewing the outdated drains and sewers. The work initially required a complete re-assessment of the existing buildings and a history of the development of the site showing demolished ranges, in order to minimise the impact of the proposed works on the underlying archaeological resource. Oakford Archaeology were commissioned to create a report which functioned as a baseline planning document for archaeologists, conservators and other contractors working on the abbey during the planned works.
In the run-up to the main phase of work Oakford Archaeology have been monitoring a borehole survey by Red Rock Geoscience Ltd of prospective location sites for the main sewage treatment plant.
Oakford Archaeology are also heritage consultants at Halswell House, a Grade I listed country house in Somerset. As well as carrying out documentary research, building recording, evaluations, excavations and watching briefs, we are also continuously supporting our client with planning documents and advice in his dealings with statutory bodies, including local planners, conservation officers, County Archaeologist and Historic England.
The role of a heritage consultant is therefore quite broad, involving both expert knowledge of the historic environment, as well as the planning process, and requiring skills in research, strategic planning and project management. Whether the required output of your project is a desk-based assessment, heritage statement, archaeological report or planning document, having a heritage consultant involved at the earliest opportunity will make your project run smoothly and efficiently.
Oakford Archaeology are heritage consultants based in Exeter, working across Devon, Dorset, Somerset and the South West. For any questions or enquiries about planned work on historic buildings or heritage assets, please get in touch.