The in-house building surveying team of the Durham-based award-winning architect and surveyors, Howarth Litchfield, is eyeing an extensive pipeline of work thanks to its expertise in listed buildings and conservation architecture.

The team is currently undertaking several projects on its home patch, including conservation and restoration works in the Grade 1 listed Durham Castle, also home to one of Durham Castle’s most important spaces, the acclaimed Grade 1 listed Norman Chapel, which dates back to 1080 and is the oldest building surviving in Durham.

Here, Howarth Litchfield is advising on stonework conservation and repair works.  The team is also working on the installation of a passive ventilation system to promote air movement within the chapel.

At the Grade II listed Principal’s House (formerly known as the Master’s House) on Palace Green in Durham, located directly adjacent to the Castle Keep, Howarth Litchfield is also undertaking identified conservation and restoration works.

At the same time work is well advanced to improve acoustics in the Grade II* listed Divinity House, which forms part of the Music Department of Durham University, where Howarth Litchfield has been advising on the necessary refurbishment works to improve the performance teaching spaces.

The building surveying team is led by associate and Chartered Building Surveyor, Andrew Wilson. Speaking about the volume of building surveying work currently underway, he said:

“The current roster of projects is keeping the building surveying team extremely busy, with a noticeable influx now that the restrictions of the pandemic are easing, but we have also received several new commissions over the last few months across the broader sectors of commercial, medical, veterinary, industrial, education and court work, demonstrating the increasingly important role played by this type of work within our wider service portfolio.

“In the case of the Norman Chapel, an incredibly interesting project and one in which I am delighted to be involved, there is a real push now to get the necessary protective measures in place before next winter, so we should be on site throughout the summer period.”

Explaining the key role played by the conservation architect, Neil Turner, director of Howarth Litchfield, said:

“This kind of work requires us to liaise extensively with Historic England and the relevant council’s planning and conservation officers to obtain consent to undertake the works – and the quality of our relationships plays a huge role in the successful outcome of projects.

“Howarth Litchfield’s flair for design, combined with its heritage and building surveying services, are proving invaluable.  With this twin approach, a surveyor can dissect a listed, old, or even relatively new building, pinpointing potential issues in a timely fashion while the conservation architect can then advise on what is needed to refurbish it in the case of listed or old buildings.

“The service we provide is highly rated because it not only allows us to identify immediate repairs that are necessary but as a conservation architect, I can advise on exactly the right materials that need to be used – sometimes even the construction process itself – so that the restoration project  passes the high standards expected by English Heritage – saving both time and money for the owner or custodian of ancient or listed buildings.”

Howarth Litchfield offers a variety of services within the areas of building surveying, heritage and conservation architecture including full building condition surveys, schedules of repair inspections, quinquennial surveys, defect inspections, and expert witness reports alongside the usual range of building surveying services.

Recently completed projects include the extensive refurbishment of Shildon Locomotion Museum in County Durham, the refurbishment and construction of new accommodation at Durham School and the Choristers School; surveys of medical premises in London for Clinical Commissioning Groups; defects to a housing estate and several quinquennial inspections of Methodist Churches in the region.