Historic Building Surveys

We offer cost-effective services for Listed and Historic Buildings including Historic Building Recordings, Heritage Statements and Heritage Impact Assessments.

Historic Building Recording - Level 1-4

The description of the Levels of Historic Bulding Records (HBR) is provided below is an extract from Historic England’s publication: Understanding Historic Buildings: A Guide to Good Recording Practice. A copy of which can be found here 

Every Building and development project is unique and HBR levels are provided as general guidance only. A discussion with your Heritage Consultant will provide you with the best recording to meet the specific needs of your heritage / Listed Building project. The intensity of the recording should remain proportionate to the significance of the risk to the building itself and to the fabric of the building, as well as the nature of the proposed works.

AB Heritage follows the best practice guidance from Historic England to provide the best solution to meet your heritage planning and development requirements. 

Historic Building Recording Level 1

This essentially is a basic visual record, supplemented by the minimum of information needed to identify the building’s location, age and type. This is the simplest record, and it will not normally be an end in itself, but will be contributory to a wider study. It will typically cover the building exterior with reference only to significant internal elements or features. Typically, it will be undertaken when the objective is to gather basic information about a large number of buildings – for statistical sampling, for area assessments to identify buildings for planning purposes, and whenever resources are limited and much ground has to be covered in a short time. It may also serve to identify buildings requiring more detailed attention at a later date. 

Historic Building Recording Level 2

A descriptive record, made in similar circumstances to Level 1 but when more information is needed. It may be made of a building, which is judged not to require a more detailed record, or it may serve to gather data for a wider project. Both the exterior and interior of the building will be seen, described and photographed.

The examination of the building will produce an analysis of its development and use and the record will include the conclusions reached, but it will not discuss in detail the evidence on which this analysis is based. A plan and sometimes other drawings may be made but the drawn record will normally not be comprehensive and may be tailored to the scope of a wider project. 

Historic Building Recording Level 3

This provides an analytical record comprising an introductory description followed by a systematic account of the building’s origins, development and use. The record will include an account of the evidence on which the analysis has been based, allowing the validity of the record to be re-examined in detail. It will also include all drawn and photographic records that may be required to illustrate the building’s appearance and structure and to support an historical analysis. 

Historic Building Recording Level 4

Level 4 provides a comprehensive analytical record and is appropriate for buildings of special importance. Whereas the analysis and interpretation employed at Level 3 will clarify the building’s history so far as it may be deduced from the structure itself, the record at Level 4 will draw on the full range of other sources of information about the building and discuss its significance in terms of architectural, social, regional or economic history. The range of drawings may also be greater than at other levels. 

See also:  Heritage Assessments and Consultancy

Heritage works undertaken by AB Heritage comply with the Code of conduct and other relevant regulations of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. AB Heritage is a Registered Organisation of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and our consultants are individually accredited members.

Blog: The Treatment of Historic Buildings in a Development Project by Senior Heritage Consultant Kerry Kerr-Peterson


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