If there is a question about the UAHS and our work that you would like answered please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you have a general question you may find the answer you are looking for in our frequently asked questions, below.
Further information on related organisations, can be found in our Directory.
Q: Where are the UAHS offices?
We are based at the Old Museum Building, 7 College Square North, Belfast, BT1 6AR.
The nearest train station is Europa. We are a short walk from City Hall.
Our offices are open 9am-5.15pm. If you have problems finding us, please call us on 02890550213.
Q: How do I find out if a building is listed?
Have a look to see if it is included on the Historic Environment Division’s listed buildings database.
If you are still not sure whether the building is on the schedule of listed buildings, give the HED administrative team a call at 0845 3020008.
Q: How do I find out if a building is on the Built Heritage at Risk Register?
The Built Heritage at Risk register and accompanying advice can be viewed under the Built Heritage at Risk section of our website, if you are still unsure whether a building is on the 'at risk' register, give UAHS a call on 02890550213.
Q: Can I ask for a building to be listed?
Yes. A systematic survey of buildings is currently underway by the Historic Environment Division but you can also approach them with ad hoc suggestions. Their conservation architects test buildings against certain criteria such as age, ornamentation, plan form etc.: see NIEA Criteria for listing here.
Have a look at these criteria before proposing a building for listing. It is helpful if you can provide the HED a clearly marked map with the property, together with recent photographs.
More information relating to planning issues and how you can help if you are concerned about a building in your area, can be found on the Take Action section of our website.
Q: Does listing just protect the facade?
No, although this is unfortunately a common misconception. When a building is listed as being of special architectural or historic interest the whole building is listed, both inside and out. Sometimes elements of its setting, adjoining walls, gates and railings, are also listed as part of the curtilage.
You can find out more about planning policy used to assess works proposed to listed buildings here.
Q: Where can I find advice on how to repair my building?
The online UAHS Directory of Traditional Building Skills contains some useful advice and guidance on repairs to historic buildings as well as a list of skills specialists which can be searched by location or specialism.
Q: Where can I find a builder and craftspeople to carry out work on my old house?
Our Directory of Traditional Building Skills lists builders and other specialist contractors. Every entry has details of three projects carried out by the firm concerned which you can visit, with permission, and view the work undertaken for yourself.
The Irish Georgian Society (IGS) also compiles a Traditional Building Skills Register.
But remember there are good craftsmen and small contractors everywhere who do not advertise or appear in directories and are only found by word of mouth; so enquire in local shops or from your neighbours, friends and family
Q: Are there any sources of funding for restoring an old building?
The Funding Advice section of our website has recently been updated (July 2014) and provides various links and information on funding available for historic building projects.
Q: A building is in a Conservation Area. What does that mean?
You live in an area which is designated as being of special architectural or historic interest. There are just over 60 conservation areas across Northern Ireland from coastal villages to market towns and parts of city centres.
Conservation Area Consent is required to demolish a building within these areas and detailed policy and guidelines exist to inform new development. The most important policy is currently Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage.
The Department has published supplementary planning guidance, which is a material consideration in the assessment of applications, in the shape of design guides for most conservation areas. Each Area Office now employs a conservation officer, following a lobby from the UAHS.
See the Planning NI website for details of the Local Area Planning Offices.
Q: A building is in an Area of Townscape Character. What does that mean?
Areas of Townscape or Village Character are areas which exhibit a distinctive character based on their historic form and layout. They are designated mainly through development plans in order to protect or enhance their overall character. Planning permission is required for proposals which involve the demolition of buildings within ATCs.
Policy has been developed for fully adopted ATCs, embedded in the development plans, and in the Addendum to Planning Policy Statement 6.
Q: Where can I find more general heritage related information and advice?
For more help and further general advice on heritage and conservation issues please see www.heritagehelp.org.uk
Further information and related organisations can be found on our Directory.