The welcome news that London’s Grade II listed Battersea Power Station has been removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register is another reminder of the importance of preserving historic buildings. Built in 1929, the Power Station was decommissioned in 1983 and, after years of neglect, added to the Register in 1991. But after extensive and complex preservation and conservation work, including enhancing the buildings four iconic chimneys, the historic building has been brought back to life and repurposed as a retail and leisure destination.

Restoring important historic landmarks like the capital’s Power Station preserves an important part of our history and successfully future-proofs the building for generations to come.

What is historic building preservation?

Historic building preservation is the process of preserving and protecting sites and structures that reflect local, national, cultural, economic, social, political, architectural or archaeological history. Preserving these older and fragile buildings and structures is often a complex and time-consuming task that brings together various experts and professionals in historic preservation. Those involved have to know how to protect and preserve historic buildings and be able to do appropriate research, determine what’s worthy of historic designation, and navigate the myriad of local and national regulations when working with historical sites.

Heritage preservation in the UK

For over a century, consecutive UK governments have recognised the need for the protection of buildings and monuments. The first legislation for preserving historic sites was introduced in 1882 as the Ancient Monuments Protection Act. It provided guardianship for 50 prehistoric sites in Britain. The government continued to introduce Acts during the early 20th regarding the responsibility for historic sites:

Listed buildings

The Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 began listing structures considered historically, culturally and architecturally important. Despite this, the demolition of listed historical buildings continued into the 1960s until much more rigorous planning procedures were introduced. The Planning Act of 1968 introduced the concept of a listed building which has become a status that carries full statutory obligations of care and conservation.

English Heritage

The National Heritage Act of 1983 was responsible for creating English Heritage to take responsibility for heritage sites, including nurturing public interest in the historic environment.

The National Trust

Found in 1895, The National Trust is an independent charity that cares for heritage and countryside areas in the UK.

Importance of preserving historic buildings

A key part of what gives a town or city its character is the area’s history. Preserving historic buildings and structures, just like Battersea Power Station, is one way to acknowledge this history. They may represent a significant time in history, a specific style of architecture or a milestone in the city’s history. Old buildings and landmarks testify to a city’s cultural and aesthetic history and help give the community a sense of connection to the past. The older a building or structure is, the fewer examples there are left of its kind. Preservation of this irreplaceable heritage ensures its aesthetic, educational, cultural, economic, and inspirational benefits are maintained and enriched for future generations.

Economic benefits of historic preservation

Many older buildings, particularly those built before World War II, are made from higher quality materials than used today. Replacing these buildings with similar rare hardwoods would be both impractical and expensive. Meanwhile, many modern buildings typically have a relatively short life expectancy of just 30 to 40 years. But older buildings were built to last. Therefore, it makes economic sense to preserve these historic buildings and improve them where necessary to meet modern building standards. Historic buildings can also be repurposed into mixed-use developments or small business spaces, giving new life to an old building and perhaps even the entire region.

Important for tourism

While the restoration of historic buildings can greatly enhance the character of an area, it can also bring some much-needed investment to the region through tourism. Whether it’s the material used, some unusually placed marble, an intricately decorated corner or interesting brickwork, these unusual elements of an older building are what makes it more appealing and what draws visitors.

Aesthetic importance of older buildings

Older buildings are often made with unique and valuable materials and have detailing and features such as decorative facades, copper lining, unusual glasswork, and traditional methods of workmanship that cannot be found anymore. These distinctive features give older buildings their own identity and distinctive character, often making them much more interesting and aesthetically appealing than many modern buildings.

Historic preservation reduces environmental impact

Preserving old buildings also has important environmental connotations. It’s effectively recycling on a large scale. Reusing and repairing existing buildings ensures that material and energy resources are used more efficiently and reduces waste. It’s not necessary to create new materials or discard the materials from demolished buildings.

The waste generated from demolishing a building is often disposed of in incinerators or landfills, releasing more pollutants into the atmosphere. The construction industry uses around 400 million tonnes of material each year, resulting in 100 million tonnes of waste produced, with 25 million tonnes headed for the landfill. Furthermore, refurbishing rather than demolishing and rebuilding conserves energy and avoids the risk of releasing pollutants and toxins into the environment when a structure is torn down.

Preserving our past for the future

Preserving historic buildings is crucial to helping us understand our community’s and nation’s heritage. It’s also an economical and environmentally responsible practice. By reusing and refurbishing existing buildings through historic preservation, we can ensure that these precious links to our history are preserved so they can be celebrated and enjoyed for generations to come.

At Stone Cleaning Experts, we have extensive experience working with a variety of historic buildings. Our approach to façade and stone restoration and cleaning and roof repairs combines traditional and modern techniques to deliver the best results possible while at the same time respecting the history and complexities of a historic building. To find out how we can help you on your heritage building restoration project, call our team today on 01234 964016.

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Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business. They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far. Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school. We are delighted with the results. You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

have worked with Building Transformation on several projects within the hospitality industry and have found
them to provide high levels of professionalism and workmanship.


e will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

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