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Historic England describes conservation as "the process of managing change to a significant place in its setting in ways that will best sustain its heritage values while recognising opportunity to reveal or reinforce these values for present and future generations".

Enys Surveying Ltd is a specialist conservation surveying practice with the principles of conservation philosophy at the heart of all work undertaken on historic buildings. However, many people responsible for working with historic buildings often do not properly understand the most appropriate ways to deal with such heritage assets which can lead to significant harm being done.

For example, a common issue when working with historic buildings is the use of cement for the pointing of stone or brick. Cement is much harder than the original lime which was intended to be sacrificial. Therefore, when walls become wet after rain, the moisture built up in the wall cannot evaporate as easily through the cement mortar joints pushing the water to the immediately adjacent stone. Through the crystallisation of salts over time this leads to the stone becoming eroded. This type of issue will lead to dampness internally and a cycle of inappropriate repairs then often starts, including damp proofing, cement rendering and painting with non-permeable paints, causing more and more harm to the historic building.

It is important to remember that older buildings were not constructed to the same standards as today and therefore they cannot be expected to be maintained in the same manner. The care of an older building requires careful consideration and often increased cost and time.

Cornwall has a wealth of historic buildings, many of which were associated with the heavy mining activity in the county as well as fishing and agriculture. A large number of these buildings are listed as they have been recognised to have special historic importance to the area. Those who own historic buildings are only guardians for a limited period of time and therefore have a responsibility to protect those buildings for future generations.

Enys Surveying Ltd can offer a range of advice on historic buildings, whether for a pre-purchase survey, planned alterations or advice on general maintenance and repair. Please therefore feel free to get in contact for an initial consultation.

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