RESTORATION AND CONSERVATION
Restoration and conservation are similar enough to share this page but they are not the same. Conservation can entail some restoration and restoration will, itself, conserve –It’s a matter of degree, flexibility and even legislation. To conserve a building is to preserve it as it now is; to restore a building is to return it to how it was at a chosen point in its history.
So, for example, how ailing brickwork or crumbling stucco is addressed will depend upon whether the building is Grade I, Grade II*, Grade II or non-listed; whether it is or isn’t in a conservation area etc. If we are conserving, then only those elements that are irredeemably compromised and/or compromising the structure itself can be replaced and even then only with identical material. But if we are restoring, we will have greater flexibility and be able to use a wider range of materials including reconstituted stone. The relative – and hotly contested – merits of conservation and restoration are at the heart of the Heritage debate and understanding their subtleties is essential to our work and to the advice we give.
We encompass all aspects of both conservation and restoration up to and including the most delicate and detailed challenges – window tracery and damaged statuary are well within our scope.
Cleaning is carried out according to the most rigorous of approved standards as are repairs to lime mortar, pointing and render. We have even developed our own extensive range of restoration mixes to suit all types of natural and manufactured stone and match them in line, colour and detail.
Our long-standing and continuing work with historic and listed buildings, now into its fourth decade, includes many belonging to the National Trust and English Heritage and stands testament to our position as a leading stone restorer. To date we have worked on landmark sites including Lambeth Palace, the British Museum, the House of Commons, Polesden Lacey, Hampton Court, and Windsor Castle.
Sometimes, it is too late to save (part of) a building, structure or statue and it must be replaced. This can involve anything from relatively simple like-for-like replacement to heritage standard carving of ‘new’ detailing. As discussed above, work is always carried out in line with the building’s status.
Modern buildings can also need restoration or, indeed, conservation. They may be built with a wider range of materials, but the principles are the same. Because of its prevalence and particular challenges, we discuss concrete separately. Whatever a building’s age, whatever its constituent materials, conservation or restoration is the cost-effective way to maximise its long-term integrity, use and appeal.