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Fitting blinds in historic properties

04/01/2012

Conservation Areas & Listed Buildings

The UK has a glorious range of beautiful and protected old buildings, many of which are difficult to heat. The target for C02 reductions in the UK are ambitious and organizations such as the National Trust are beginning to identify a strategy to deal with heat loss & energy efficiency in their buildings. Listing currently protects 500,000 or so buildings. Many of these have windows which cannot be altered and thermal blinds may be a good solution to some of the heat loss and thermal comfort issues. Katy has worked as a Conservation Officer in local government and also as a Conservation Architectural Assistant working on Listed Buildings, churches and houses. She has a clear understanding of the needs of not only the buildings but also the conservation officers, and can offer practical assistance with solutions for your problematic old building.

Georgian sash window

Why is a building Listed?

Listing is not meant to fossilise a building. Its long-term interests are often best served by putting it to good use. If this cannot be the one it was designed for, a new use may have to be found. Listing ensures that the architectural and historic interest of the building is carefully considered before any alterations, either outside or inside, are agreed.

How are buildings chosen?

Buildings can be listed because of age, rarity, architectural merit, and method of construction. Occasionally English Heritage selects a building because the building has played a part in the life of a famous person, or as the scene for an important event. An interesting group of buildings – such as a model village or a square – may also be listed. The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most built between 1700 and 1840. After that date, the criteria become tighter with time, so that post-1945 buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed.

How can thermal roman blinds help with difficult buildings?

Blinds are treated as window dressings rather than ‘alterations’ and therefore fitting them will not entail complicated, time-consuming & possibly expensive applications for Conservation Area consent or Listed Buildings consent. It is often extremely difficult to get consent for double glazing in old buildings. Our blinds need a reveal of 44mm for fixing and for a sash window this fits perfectly under the top staff bead, with the blind overlapping onto the sash box to give an airtight seal. The headrail at the top of the blind is usually fixed with just 4 or 6 screws, so you can be sure of minimal damage to your window frames. Although it is sometimes possible to fit double glazing in old windows, our blinds give a simple alternative, more like the traditional shutter solution. To measure up a sash window see instructions and download the guide here.

For more information on looking after old windows see Roger Hunt’s article here.

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