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
The Walronds, Cullompton

The Walronds is a Listed Grade 1 building erected in 1605. It was originally constructed as a dwelling house but has been used as a meeting house at ground floor level with a maisonette formed within the two floors immediately over the ground floor.  The building was on the English Heritage register of buildings at risk.  The proposal involved the renovation and conservation of the building which includes improvements to fire safety.

Read More

CASE STUDY
Gloucester Cathedral

Project Pilgrim will improve and restore specific areas of the Cathedral to ensure it can fulfil its role as a place of dynamic spiritual, civic and heritage activity and play a key role in the regeneration of the city.

Read More

CASE STUDY
National Museum of the Royal Navy

Storehouse 10 at the historic naval dockyard in Portsmouth was constructed in the mid-eighteenth century, during an upsurge in naval building prompted by events such as the Seven Years War. It was originally used to store everyday supplies for working ships plus some naval items.

During the Second World War, Storehouse 10 was hit by an incendiary bomb, which destroyed the clock tower and most of the roof and upper floors. More extensive damage was prevented due to a strenuous firefighting effort to save the radar sets within, which were to be some of the first installed in Royal Navy ships.

Restoration of Storehouse 10 was gradual and was eventually completed in 1992. It has now been converted to form part of the National Museum for the Royal Navy complex. 

Read More