Historic building consultants

The Oculus team is passionate about historic and listed buildings and about maintaining and conserving our architectural heritage for future generations to live in, stay in or simply visit and enjoy.

Compliance with building regulations is fundamental when carrying out remedial or conversion work on a historic or listed building. Oculus is uniquely qualified to provide high quality, professional building control services for historic buildings that meet the needs and aspirations of its clients whilst ensuring compliance with building regulations. Our expertise can help avoid expensive, abortive design work and ensure a smooth transition from design through to final construction on site.

Conserving historic buildings does not mean "preserving them in aspic". It means finding ways of maintaining their fine architectural features whilst making them accessible and relevant to our modern lifestyle.

Oculus provide a wealth of knowledge and experience in relation to fire and access for historic buildings

Fire safety for historic buildings

Modern fire safety regulations can present a significant challenge for owners and custodians of historic or listed buildings. Poor advice in this area can incur high costs and lead to disastrous consequences.

Oculus provides expert advice on Fire Safety for historic and listed buildings. We have a proven track record and can help with the development of fire strategies as well as carrying out risk assessments. Peter Norris in particular has extensive experience in dealing with the conflicts that arise between regulations and conservation and has published several books on the subject. He also lectures on Fire Safety and the Building Regulations at the University of Bath to graduates on the architectural degree course, to post-graduates studying the MSc Course, Conservation of Historic Buildings, the RIBA Part III course and at seminars.

Oculus are involved in:

  • Developing fire strategies having due regard for historic fabric and limiting intervention.
  • Undertaking fire risk assessments and advising on solutions where significant findings require upgrading or alteration works having due regard for historic fabric and limiting intervention.
  • Providing input for integration into Conservation Management Plans for heritage assets relating to fire safety and Building Regulations.
  • Advising on sensitive solutions to resolve significant findings from fire risk assessment by others.
  • Advising on access strategies having due regard for historic fabric and limiting intervention.
  • Providing advice on energy conservation in relation to historic buildings.
  • Assistance in resolving fire safety problems between BCBs and Fire Authorities
  • Assistance in resolving Building Regulation related problems or fabric issues

With their knowledge and understanding of historic building construction, as chartered building surveyors, Oculus are ideally suited to provide the above services on an analytical and risk-assessed basis.

CASE STUDY
Norland College - Bath

First established by Emily ward in 1892, Norland College has become world leader in childcare training centred around the child. Having moved to various locations in the past, the College is now based in Bath. Along with its location, the curriculum at Norland has changed and progressed with the times to offer the most up to date academic childcare training courses and the highest practice standards in line with the latest research.

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CASE STUDY
Burwalls House

The Burwalls site consists of a substantial historic Grade II listed main house and stable block annex and lies in nearly 5 acres of land adjacent to Brunel’s world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. The main house is in the Jacobethan style and was constructed in 1872 as a private dwelling by Joseph Leech, a local entrepreneur and owner of the Bristol Times and Mirror.

The site was purchased in 2014 by Kersfield Developments who obtained permission to split the main house into 5 impressive apartments, convert the Stable block in to 2 units and for the construction of 4 new detached dwellings.

The main house has been extended at various points during its history and some of the current works in this sensitive conversion were to remove elements of the more recent additions which are detrimental to the original building.

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CASE STUDY
Litfield Court

Litfield Court is situated in the affluent residential district of Clifton in the city of Bristol. It is comprised of two impressive Georgian style Grade II listed semi-detached former residential houses, constructed in c1830, with an ancillary coach house to the rear of the property. The two houses had until recently been used as a care home for the elderly.

The building was acquired by Kersfield Developments, who obtained permission to convert the property into 8 luxury apartments.

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