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Impact of Climate Change on Historic Buildings

Our climate, and therefore our weather is changing. Climate change may to some buildings mean greater contextual threats from flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. However, the biggest, or at least most widespread, impact of climate change on historic buildings is a general increase in intensity and extreme conditions of storms, wind, rain, and temperatures, which directly affects the historic fabric.

This will increase existing responsibility for owners with regard to management & monitoring and maintenance & repair of older buildings, with particular attention to performance of the building materials & detailing, over and above that which we already consider basic maintenance. Where maintenance and repair are evidenced to be carried out but are not working, or withstanding increasing challenges from weather, adaptation or mitigation against risk may be the next consideration for a heritage asset. Adaptation may, for example include increasing the size and quantity of rainwater goods to deal with increased rainfall.

As with any works to an historic building, such adaptation should be sympathetic and appropriate, and considerate of the buildings wellbeing and historic character. Such changes to a listed building will require planning permission.