Historic Building Recording Explained

Oakford Archaeology carries out a large number of historic building recording projects every year, but the requirements vary hugely. In this blog post we run through the two main types of historic building recording you might require, what they involve and why you might need them.

1. Historic Building Appraisal

An appraisal is used to gather evidence for the better understanding of a historic building. It is a non-invasive method of recording a listed building and involves looking at the whole property as it is today. The building and roof structure, fixtures and fittings would be investigated to increase our understanding of the building’s construction dates, alterations and development. It’s based on your archaeological contractor’s knowledge of vernacular (local) architecture. A report would be produced consisting of a written description and analysis. Depending on the level and detail of appraisal needed, photographs, phased drawings and desk-based research work may also be carried out and included as part of the reporting process.

When is it needed? An appraisal might be asked for to gather evidence for better understanding of a historic building prior to planning permission or listed building consent being granted. It might also be requested by a home owner interested in the history of their building(s) in order to gain a better understanding of the different phases of development, alterations and additions to their property.

Historic Building Recording Explained - phases of development, alterations and additions to a property.

2. Full Historic Building Recording

Full building recording involves trying to gain the best understanding of the development phases of a historic building by investigating the fabric of the building. This means it can be intrusive, perhaps involving the removal of wall plaster, detailed fabric analysis, opening up blocked features or lifting floorboards. This kind of survey would normally involve extensive investigation: surveying, measured plans and elevations, record keeping (written and photographic) and desk-based research.

When is it needed? Full building recording is normally asked for in advance of demolition or before major alterations or restoration works are carried out.

Historic Building Recording Explained - measured drawing

We hope this gives you a better understanding of what historic building recording is and when you might want it. If you’re looking for a historic building consultant, Oakford Archaeology are skilled providers of historic building recording and listed building surveys. Find out more here.