Protecting our heritage - new fact sheets launched on joinery for listed buildings and conservation areas

17 November 2016

A series of fact sheets to boost knowledge of the correct joinery and timber products to be used in listed properties and conservation areas has been published today (17th November) by the British Woodworking Federation’s (BWF) Heritage and Conservation Joinery Group.

The fact sheets are designed to give consistent advice for BWF members in support of any discussions with clients and Building Control/Conservation Officers on key areas which affect heritage and conservation joinery. These include the legislation which impacts on listed buildings and conservation areas, Building Regulations associated with the replacement of timber joinery, and the issues around aesthetics versus technical performance when it comes to the replacement of timber joinery.

The fact sheets also give advice on obtaining listed building consent, glazing, the use of timber in original and new joinery for conservation area properties, and recommendations when placing orders for narrow cavity insulating glass units.

Hannah Mansell (pictured with BWF Technical Consultant Jon Gorf at the launch), BWF technical manager and the heritage group's manager, said:

“Listed buildings are essential to our country’s rich history and culture. It is vital that we take great care to preserve the authenticity and character of these striking works of architecture.”

“Of course, property owners need to have received consent before any improvement works are conducted. But we also recommend that anyone looking to make improvements to their listed property uses the services of a BWF member, so you can be sure they will have the required knowledge and genuinely understand the special considerations of working on a listed building."

The new guidance was launched at today’s BWF Heritage and Conservation Joinery Group meeting, where BWF members come together to share experience, knowledge and best practice for this sector. The aim of the group was to develop a range of resources that would aid both members and their customers when undertaking upgrade or replacement of joinery. The guidance therefore includes checklists which customers and manufacturers can use to ensure that timber products meets expectation, regulations and performance levels.

Heritage joinery refers to joinery that is used in listed buildings. Listed buildings are recorded on the National Heritage List and are classified into grades to identify their historic or architectural importance.

Conservation joinery refers to joinery that is found in conservation areas which are usually designed by a local authority to protect whole areas that have special historical or architectural interest. There are more than 10,000 conservation areas in the UK.

As one of the key aspects affecting the street scene and character of an area or building, joinery is often noted as an element worth protecting. According to English Heritage, the main threat to conservation areas is “unsympathetic replacement windows and doors – usually PVC-U”.

In a survey published in December 2013, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors listed the top 10 crimes against period homes. Number 1 on the list was “Replacing original good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or PVC-U casements and stripping out original period doors.”

The fact sheets are available to download at:

You can find more about BWF’s Heritage and Conservation resources here:

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