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
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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CASE STUDY
Middleport Pottery

Middleport Pottery, the UK’s last working Victorian pottery was originally constructed in 1888 for Burgess & Leigh, a local ceramics company, where beautiful Burleigh pottery was produced using extremely rare skills.

In 2011, United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) embarked on a long journey to save the site from closure and to protect the complex that houses historic machinery, archives and collections of the past. The traditional industrial factory and its original function have been conserved, repaired and regenerated for community benefit. The areas of museum demonstrate the skilful process being undertaken in a traditional manner. 

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CASE STUDY
Pangbourne College

The new build Harding Communications Centre at Pangbourne College designed by Mitchell Taylor Workshop combines a music school and ICT facility together under one roof and won the Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA South Regional Award 2014. The building was designed to the BREEAM Excellent Standard and uses ‘Passivhaus’ principles with a continuous line of insulation over composite construction. 

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