We all value possessions from our past as they serve as a reminder of a certain period in our lives, helping to keep them alive, not only for ourselves, but to teach our children about a time and age they will never experience. The preservation of historical buildings works on exactly the same principle – keeping alive our country’s history for future generations to understand, appreciate and enjoy.

Secondary glazing plays a crucial role in heritage conservation, as it ensures the original aesthetics of the building can remain in place while improving its structure. There are approximately 500,000 buildings on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) found all around the UK and it is vitally important they are kept in the best possible condition for the benefit of us all.

What is Heritage Conservation?

The aim of heritage conservation is to preserve buildings, monuments and landmarks that are of historic importance to the UK. Their value is seen more for their cultural significance than monetary worth and as such a duty of care is given towards ensuring they are not only protected but maintained for current and future generations to use and enjoy.

Why install secondary glazing?

The installation of secondary glazing on historical buildings adds many of the benefits modern buildings are able to enjoy. It is a necessary alteration that must be implemented at some stage to ensure the building remains in good condition for use. New windows need to be meticulously designed and installed to ensure the original beauty and history of the existing glazing is not lost. If possible, repairing the windows may be a preferable option to reduce the risk of any damage occurring to the building, but this is not always possible.

Secondary glazing will help to improve heat loss within a historic building and prevent any significant air leakage that may also be occurring. This is the case for many older structures which tend to be thermally inefficient and draughty, which secondary glazing is able to assist in reducing.

A key requirement for the introduction of secondary glazing is that it remains a reversible adaptation. If required, this allows it to be removed at a future date without a negative impact on the original make-up of the building.

Areas of consideration

There are three categories of building that are protected by UK law:

Grade I: Buildings that are of exceptional interest.

Grade II: Buildings that are particularly important buildings of more than special interest.

Grade II: Buildings that are of special interest.

Secondary glazing is the ideal solution for enhancing the original set of windows found in a listed building. This is because it remains independent from the existing system and is installed on the inside, allowing the original set to remain completely unaltered.

For anyone considering installing secondary glazing into a grade listed building, it is advisable to check with local authorities whether planning permission will be a requirement. If the property is a conservation area then restrictions may apply.

Other forms of permission may also be required, which your local authority will be able to advise on. Visit Historic England who can provide more detail on what may or may not be involved.