Heritage is full of paradoxes and contrasts. It is a specialism, but also a multi-disciplinary sector of very considerable breadth. It is associated in many people’s minds with the old and picturesque, yet it is as concerned with modern architecture of excellence as with medieval timber framing or archaeological remains. While heritage requires special knowledge, approaches and skills, it is undeniably mainstream, not least because pre-1919 so-called ‘traditional’ structures constitute a significant component within the built environment (in the UK our building stock is one of the oldest in Europe with around 20% being of more than 100 years in age).
Heritage Places offers a wealth of heritage experience and knowledge, and we can justifiably claim to specialise in understanding heritage and integrating it into the modern world. That way, we make a real difference to projects, bringing an authoritative yet practical view of significance to help overcome heritage ‘hurdles’. No one knows everything in the heritage sector: but when we don’t know, we do know where to go to get the appropriate help, so projects are properly informed.
PLANNING FOR HERITAGE
Consideration of the historic environment lies at the heart of the UK’s planning systems and the same is true for others around the globe. In England, the National Planning Policy Framework recognises that the environmental strand running through the core concept of sustainable development includes ‘protecting and enhancing our…historic environment’. In other words, protection and enhancement of heritage and its significance lie at the very heart of the planning process.
Heritage Places will help you understand heritage and put that understanding to work in planning your projects. For instance, we prepare assessments of significance (both for individual assets and complex historic areas) and use these to craft development principles that will optimise the benefits that can be derived from heritage. We feed practical heritage advice into urbanisation and master plans. Internationally, we help shape regulatory heritage protection for municipalities and national governments. Planning for heritage: making it work.
CONDITION SURVEYS & MAINTENANCE PLANNING
An understanding of condition and repair needs lies at the heart of conservation planning and the proper management of use and change in and around heritage assets. Critically, condition and building audits of such properties require a markedly different skill set and attitude of mind to those on modern structures.
Heritage Places specialises in the analysis of complex historic buildings and estates, carrying out condition surveys and audits of major sites in the UK and abroad. We have considerable experience in establishing advanced condition survey and maintenance programmes for internationally significant buildings.
Having previously provided expert background input in order to assist English Heritage’s development of an asset management programme, including its state‐of‐the‐art condition survey programme, in 2011‐12 Heritage Places was commissioned to review the Phase I survey results and to prepare a detailed review of its minimum standards of maintenance and repair and works’ prioritisation arrangements. More recently, we have worked with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to create a new condition survey process for CWGC, including a comprehensive reporting format based on a consistent lexicon and standard procedural guidance, tailored for use by surveyors from very different backgrounds across its estate of cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in 154 countries.
For too long, heritage assets have been overlooked as part of asset management. Yet, they are different: they require special focus; individual attention; alternative processes. While this can represent a challenge within a large and varied property portfolio, heritage assets can and should be made to work. Their protection and enhancement add value.
Heritage Places specialises in heritage asset management. We prepare conservation and management plans for complex heritage assets and for historic urban areas. We feed an understanding of heritage and its vulnerabilities and benefits into estate-wide plans, master plans, and organisational strategies. We structure asset management programmes for heritage portfolios and audit heritage management operations within large corporate organisations. Making heritage work.
RECORDING PLACES + SPACES
Places and spaces of significance should be recorded: for interest, posterity, education, information, pleasure. Heritage cannot always be protected or preserved – sometimes progress for society involves the most fundamental change or loss. That is part of the equation in planning for heritage. Essential change and loss to heritage assets should be counterbalanced by targeted high quality recording.
Heritage Places offers a specialised recording service for heritage assets. We prepare archive standard images and historic building records, fabric audits that identify phasing or significance within places and spaces, and professional architectural photography for interiors.
ART IN HISTORIC SETTINGS
Art should have central place in the built environment. In theory, public art and heritage should be natural ‘bed-fellows’ in place-shaping, each enhancing the potential of the other. Yet art interventions in the historic environment are all too often ill-conceived, ephemeral or shallow, reducing the value to society of both. Public art has real potential to provide improved understanding and new interpretations of heritage and significance. It should enable and enhance engagement, ownership and meaning for its audience – local communities and visitors alike. Art can be a thread knitting past, present and future; a landmark in landscape and in prospective memory.
Planning for art in historic or architecturally important settings demands understanding, experience, care, engagement and co-operation. That is something Heritage Places provides. We hold a continuing dialogue and integrate our expertise with proven local artists and installation managers of international pedigree to plan and deliver public art schemes within sensitive and significant places and spaces. Making heritage work.
POLICY + GUIDANCE
Research, drafting of robust policy and guidance, and ongoing retrospective evaluation are all fundamentals for responsible asset management, planning, and funding.
Heritage Places brings extensive experience to bear in this policy and guidance arena: preparing regulatory and advisory documentation for central government and municipalities, heritage asset management procedures for regulators and property management organisations, and, undertaking monitoring and post-project evaluative and thematic research for public sector funding bodies, commercial organisations and other institutions.
Training for heritage management staff, regulators, and present and future practitioners in the sector is an urgent and ongoing commitment.
Heritage Places cares fervently about capacity building in heritage. We create and manage targeted audience- and needs-focused training programmes for both specialists and generalists, who become involved with the historic environment. We seek to share experience and expertise, creating dialogue across the sector, strengthening performance and co-operation within teams, and encouraging enhanced understanding of heritage in audiences and communities.
Training does not have to be simply about attendance at one-off courses. We provide intensive day-to-day training through short-term instructional placements in management organisations. We deliver practical training to staff that is co-ordinated with and helps to cascade engagement in newly-prepared management standards and procedures. In recent years, we have developed and managed multi-faceted capacity building programmes for heritage asset managers in the UK, Europe and Asia. We also provide occasional refresher and continuing professional development sessions for fellow professionals in the design, planning, property and construction fields.