Preventative maintenance is the most effective way of conserving our built heritage. It ensures that small problems don't become large and costly headaches, and helps retain the unique character that makes our historic buildings special. We all spend time, effort and money looking after our cars, so why does the maintenance of our homes - by far our most valuable asset - often take a back seat?
The UAHS leaflet, Look Before You Leak, stresses both the importance of regularly inspecting your property, and of cleaning gutters at least twice a year. Useful publications from other organisations explain, amongst other things, how to put together a maintenance inspection checklist, and the most relevant are available from Historic Scotland, English Heritage, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (in association with SPAB).
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has also created a dedicated maintenance website called Maintain Your Building, which contains a plethora of salient advice. Locally, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has updated Technical Notes on Roof Drainage, Roofs and Traditional Eaves Details, hard copies of which are also available from their office.
If you are the custodian or are responsible for an ecclesiastical building the Faith in Maintenance and Maintain Your Church websites will be of great help.
Make sure you inspect your property in a safe and methodical way; at the very least follow this Health and Safety Executive guidance when cleaning gutters.
Prevention is always better than cure and the new online UAHS Directory of Traditional Skills provides an advice and guidance section on repair work for certain building elements as well as a list of the right specialists to carry out the works.
Remember, failure to maintain your home can seriously damage your wealth!