edwards hart


Heritage & Building Conservation

The Edwards Hart Heritage and Conservation consultancy is led by Professor John Edwards, who is an RICS certified historic buildings expert, a CIOB Certified Building Conservation Specialist (Building Surveyor Practitioner) and also accredited by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. As the lead author of the British Standard for the Conservation of Historic Buildings (BS 7913: 2013), John ensures that Edwards Hart practises and promotes the most up to date approach to building conservation. Prior to joining Edwards Hart John was Assistant Director at Cadw where he was responsible to Welsh Government Ministers for leading on conservation, best practice and managing some of the most significant historic sites in Wales, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites at five locations. 

At Edwards Hart we can provide a broad range of conservation and heritage services:

  1. Facilities management advice and balancing operational requirements with significance and the environment.
  2. Condition surveys, inspections and reports.
  3. Specialist investigations and building pathology.
  4. Asset management.
  5. Maintenance planning, programmes and specifications.
  6. Advise on any technical and conservation issues as well as any interventions into the building fabric and decoration of interiors.
  7. Developing project strategies and providing client advice.
  8. Project management and Project Monitoring
  9. Project Supervision with quality management systems
  10. Energy efficiency and retrofit.
  11. Visitor safety and access audits and statements
  12. Heritage impact assessments and, Conservation Management Plans and heritage management
  13. Listed Building and Scheduled Monument Consent applications
  14. Development and delivering training and also mentoring.
  15. A range of heritage based business consultancy.


Lead author John Edwards

The two main ingredients that comprise building conservation is ‘technicalities’ and ‘significance’ with the third ingredient being ‘process’. This is what BS 7913: 2013: Guide to the Conservation of Historic Buildings is based on. All our work is based on this standard and our Director Professor John Edwards, the lead author of BS 7913: 2013 has been actively engaged in delivering workshops on this standard to a range of individuals that includes architects, surveyors, builders, town planners, conservation officers and others. Organisations represented at these workshops include Historic England, National Trust, Cadw, National Trust Scotland and the Northern Ireland Government.

Examples of our projects that include historic significance analysis is Lampeter University and Cambrian Place. Other projects include Trafalgar Square and the Hall School.

Please contact us about your requirements.

Heritage Management

Heritage Management is the key ingredient to informed management of change and ensures that historic significance is understood and properly managed. There are basically two ways to practice Heritage Management. A pro-active way through conservation planning and a re-active way through Heritage Impact Assessments. We have the expertise to properly integrate Heritage Management into any areas that could impact on the significance of a historic building. In particular with Project ManagementFacilities Management and Maintenance Management. Heritage Management is also an important element of consent application strategies and in the development of heritage visitor attractions.

Heritage Impact Assessments

Whereas as Conservation Plans and Management Plans are the pro-active methods of “conservation planning”, The preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments is the re-active method. This all comes under the heading of Heritage Management, which is the management of historic significance. Heritage Impact Assessments can also be used to implement conservation policies contained in Conservation Plans. We have a genuine approach to Heritage Impact Assessments, whereby we begin with ascertaining historic significance, whereas there are many who merely undertake a visual impact assessment, which is a tiny part of a true Heritage Impact Assessment. This service is led by our Director Professor John Edwards who is co-author of the RICS Conservation Guidance Note and authored the Chapter on Conservation Plans, Management Plans and Heritage Impact Assessments. Examples of a heritage impact assessments include Somerset House and Lampeter University.

Conservation Management Plans / Conservation Plans

We follow best practice in the preparation of Conservation Plans and Conservation Management Plans and indeed take the lead in ensuring that they are produced by teams with a broad range of expertise. It is common practice for such plans to be produced by small teams with a narrow range of expertise. We follow BS 7913: 2013 by ensuring that the broadest range of expertise is deployed. This means properly ascertaining significance by following BS 7913: 2013 and other authoritative guidance where necessary. We assess the vulnerability and risks to significance and develop robust conservation management policies. Such policies have to protect significance but they must also be usable and support the activities held at a site in a controlled way. Edwards Hart benefits from the experience of its Directors in the management of historic sites, which has included those with intensive and conflicting uses and also UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We blend the essential ingredients of academic research and practicalities.

Such plans should not only involve a broad range of expertise in their development but it’s also important to engage properly with both internal and external stakeholders. This will range from historians and conservation experts to security personnel and caterers and many others – all can make a contribution. External stakeholders should include the authorities and also those that would be consulted by them as part of the consent processes.

A robust conservation management plan can aid the management of a site and also assist in consent and grant application processes, but poor plans are a waste of resources and will rarely be referred to.

The development of conservation management plans at Edwards Hart involves the input of both our directors, with the team led by Professor John Edwards. John is co-author of the RICS Conservation Guidance Note and authored the Chapter on Conservation Plans, Management Plans and Heritage Impact Assessments. John has input into a number of plans including the William Burges designed St. Finbarres Cathedral, the Pugin designed St. Coleman’s Cathedral and Cardiff Castle  and has led in the development of such plans at Cambrian Place and Somerset House.

Management Plans

Management Plans are often produced alongside or integrated within a Conservation Plan to create a Conservation Management Plan as we have done so at Cambrian Place and Somerset House. However, they can be produced separately. As experts in the management of historic sites, we are very well equipped to prepare Management Plans, either as part of preparing a Conservation Plan or preparing a Management Plan based upon conservation plans prepared by others. We can also review existing Conservation Plans and Management Plans, and advise on their implementation which can include the preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments.

Statement of Significance

A statement of significance is produced by analysing the significance of a site, just as you may in the production of a conservation management plan. The analysis will be based around the criteria contained in BS 7913: 2013 and would categorise the significance of the elements, groups of elements and individual areas that make up a site. A statement of significance is most valuable tool in when considering interventions that necessitate the undertaking of Heritage Impact Assessments. One example of a statement of significance is at Lampeter University.

Design and Access Statement

Design and Access Statements are used to support listed building consent applications and just like a statement of significance it involves an analysis of significance but may be less robust if the time allocated to research is restricted. The process also involves heritage impact assessments to support proposals. Whereas Design and Access Statements contain a broad range of issues, a Heritage Impact Statement only has a focus on heritage issues and is a requirement for all Listed Building Consent applications in Wales.

Change of Use

Our team has developed expertise on issues to consider when planning a change in use of a building or part of a building. This combines building pathological and technical analysis combined with an analysis of historic significance. There are a number of projects where we have input into projects where there have been change of use and this includes conversion of warehouses in Manchester and halls of residence in Lampeter. We can undertake options appraisals that considers all these issues that is combined with heritage impact assessment and that can also help identify the costs involved with different uses in the management of historic buildings.

Strategic Planning

Our approach first and foremost involves understanding the asset from which a Strategic Plan can be prepared. There are a broad range of services required to undertake this professionally and the input of many of our other services is very often necessary. All such services are managed as projects, hence our expert Project Management resource is critical to an effective and efficient service being delivered. Understanding the site involves historic significance analysis, surveysbusiness and financial planning, operational analysis, concept planning and design, interpretation planning and design, options appraisals and feasibility studies which may include Heritage Impact Assessments, cost analysis, funding appraisals, funding applications, consent applications as well as programme and project management.

Cardiff Castle is a good example to illustrate the excellent experience of our team. Cardiff Castle is a 2,000 year old site and international heritage visitor attraction as well as a registered museum. This project was developed from a strategy that balanced essential conservation with regeneration to help economically sustain the site into the future. The plan involved increasing public access and much improved historic interpretation to ensure that visitors are attracted to the newly opened public areas. This ensured increased visitor capacity, with increased income. The project also involved refurbishment and a new building that would add value to the visitors experience and also provide commercial opportunities for further increased income. The development of the project also involved reviewing and changing existing business strategy and operations to ensure that the project delivered all the objectives. 

Project Management

Project Management isn’t just a service added to the others that we provide. We practice project management as a discipline that helps us deliver our services in an efficient and effective manner. We take an approach that involves the integration of a numerous of Project Management methodologies as well as integrating project management with heritage management methodology. It also involves inputting specialist ingredients in order to provide project management that works in the heritage and historic buildings sector.

Our approach to Project Management means retaining historic significance and the consistent application of conservation philosophy, as well as efficient execution, maximum quality, minimum risk and the willingness to consider different approaches.

We can provide a wide range of project management and programme management services. We can come in at the very beginning and work on project mandates, project briefs, project initiation documentation and develop sound project governance through strategies, methodologies, structures, processes and plans.

These services are primarily led by qualified Project Manager Professor John Edwards, who is PRINCE 2 registered in advanced project management and is the lead author of the RICS iSURV online resource on ‘Managing Risks in Building Conservation Projects’. His expertise is wide ranging and covers a period of over 25 years. It ranges from the Cardiff Castle conservation and development project to the three week interactive Burges exhibition at the site of the Cardiff Museum.

Edwards Hart are currently lead consultants on projects at Trafalgar Square and at Cambrian Place and also provide project development and advice on other projects. Edwards Hart also train others in the Project Management and Supervision of work to traditional and historic buildings for the CIOB Academy.

Our professional approach to Project Management will ensure optimum planning and control over a project to satisfactory completion. It will bring together many essential ingredients of a project that includes: procurement, Specification and Design, Consent, Funding, Contract Administration and Project Supervision. This approach also involves reporting and authorisation procedures that are tried and tested and one that will secure the confidence of project sponsors and grant aid bodies.

Project Supervision

We are strong believers in Project Supervision as an important part of a Quality Management System. Our practical approach and specialism in craft skills, means that we are extremely capable of developing Quality Control procedures and methods to ensure specification compliance for the most complex of works. It is essential to ensure that specifications are complied with, otherwise it is likely that work will fail prematurely, thus impairing the sustainability of the building. We are also experienced in full filling the role of “Project Supervisor” as defined by the Engineering Form of Contract. This service can be provided in conjunction with other services, or can be a completely separate appointment. Both Project Supervision and Project Management is developed and delivered in accordance with BS 7913: 2013. Edwards Hart also train others in the Project Management and Supervision of work to traditional and historic buildings for the CIOB Academy.

Project Monitoring

Our team has experience in monitoring projects. This involves overseeing both the financial and physical progression of projects. This service is led by Edwards Hart Director John Edwards, who whilst at English Heritage was responsible for the quality management of the English Heritage project monitoring of repair grants to places of worship.

Project Procurement

Our services include the development of procurement strategy, preparation of tender documents and the procurement of work. Our team also has experience of procuring and putting together project teams, as well as co-ordinating professional consultant teams.

Contract Administration

We administer contracts where we are providing other related services such as Project Management together with the specification and design of work. Our team has experience of many different forms of contract including JCT and Engineering. Our services include the procurement of work.

Research and Analysis Strategy & Management

We strongly believe in only progressing work to an historic site on basis of the utmost of understanding. This will often mean conducting research and analysis. This must however, be appropriate to the building and circumstance. Research and Analysis should not be for the sake of research, but for a useful purpose, undertaken by experts using appropriate specialist equipment and techniques. Our experience of analysing buildings means that we are equipped to determine the optimum amount of research and analysis and also ensure that the most appropriate complexion of study areas and subjects together with choosing the most appropriate team. We are experienced in leading such teams. At Cardiff Castle, John Edwards developed the approach and the strategy and subsequently led and managed the award winning research and analysis. 

Funding Applications

Our team has experience of many different types of funding and developing applications to suit the criteria of different types of funds. This includes Historic Building Grants, Scheduled Monument Grants, Heritage Lottery Fund grants as well as economic development grants.

Asset Management

Asset Management is often considered in terms of the effective use of property from both utility and financial perspectives and also in terms of meeting the needs of the occupiers of such buildings. Historic buildings have other issues which are also of paramount importance. As property professionals who specialise in historic buildings we have the expertise to strike the appropriate balance between what at times can be seen as conflicting issues. Heritage Management is a key ingredient to ensure that this balance is struck in the ongoing management of a building and in considering change.

Our expert team has experience of obtaining consent for works to all grades of Listed buildings as well as Listed landscapes and Scheduled Monuments. This includes all types of work including commercial development. Our dedicated expertise in the historic environment means that we understand what requires consent and what doesn’t. Consent strategies can be developed with successful Heritage Management methodology. This will include conservation planning, heritage impact assessments and options appraisals. Our team also has experience of public enquiries and has experience of discussing and debating with local authority conservation officers and others. We have expertise and experience in consent applications for:

  • Scheduled Monument Consent
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Planning Consent
  • Conservation Area Consent

Our team has experience of dealing with applications for a broad range of buildings and structures. This includes Castle’s and Forts, Cathedrals, hotel and retail, housing and new development in historic setting.

Historic Interiors

We deal with the complete building, and that includes interiors. We develop strategies for the understanding of interiors from a building pathological and significance perspective and work with associates in order to provide a complete package although we also provide expert input into teams led by others. Our approach is exemplified at Cardiff Castle where John Edwards led the research and analysis which included the strategy of understanding the interiors in all respects and was responsible for developing the conservation approach as well as leading on the implementation of conserving the internationally significant Burges interiors. Our role can range from significance analysis, to the analysis of defects including timber and building pathological analysis as well as environmental monitoring and advice on management of historic interiors


We have a broad range of expertise in the survey, analysis, repair and conservation of masonry of different kinds as well as the cleaning of buildings. These specialist services are primarily led by John Edwards whose practical experience led to City and Guilds Advanced Craft qualification. John is also co-author of BS 8221-1:2012: Code of practice for cleaning and surface repair of buildings: Cleaning of natural stone, brick, terracotta and concrete, with Dr Tim Yates the Technical Director of the Building Research Establishment. We take an analytical approach in ascertaining problems and finding sustainable solutions. Masonry research and analysis formed a major part of the research and analysis project led by John Edwards at Cardiff Castle, where this was integrated into the analysis of the whole building. We specify masonry work, which includes repairing, re-pointing, cleaning and rebuilding based on detailed understanding. We can source stone and develop mortar mixes to suit particular circumstances. Our services in this area extends to renders and harlings. Also see defect analysis. Our team has experience of many types of structures that range from brick and stone walls of buildings, as well as Roman masonry and ruined structures. Our approach is very pro-active and extends to ensuring the proper implementation of work via project supervision.

Edwards Hart have undertaken numerous surveys and analysis of masonry to structures and buildings that include Somerset House, Castle Ward, Dinefwr Castle, Tintern Abbey, St David’s Bishops Palace and Baltic House.

Rot and Damp

You don’t need to pump chemicals into buildings. We take a green approach to rot, damp and timber infestation. This usually involves no use of chemicals or maintains such use to an absolute minimum. This follows conservation best practice in accordance with BS 7913: 2013 and is usually the most cost effective approach. With the aid of specialist non destructive surveying techniques, we ascertain the cause of problems and not just the symptoms which leads to sustainable solutions. We take a most analytical approach to dampness and can use environmental monitoring as an aid to ascertaining the cause and to finding solutions that are sustainable. This requires an excellent understanding of building construction.

Diverse range of project management expertise. John Edwards project managed a new visitor centre at Cardiff Castle as well as a wide range of conservation projects.