LPF | Heritage and Listed Buildings Webinar with Knowles Director, Aidan Mortimer
Earlier this week Knowles Group Director, Aidan Mortimer had the exciting opportunity to participate in The Luxury Property Forum’s webinar on Heritage and Listed Buildings.
With 40 years’ experience managing a wide range of contracts, Aidan has an unrivalled track record in restoring and altering traditional buildings and has been involved in the management of many major refurbishments including a series of projects for Oxford University and the Colleges.
As a keen Historian with a passion for architecture, Aidan is a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Building, and the Royal Society of Arts, sits on the judging panel for the Prince of Wales’ ‘Building Craft Apprenticeship Scheme’ and is a Governor of the Building and Crafts College in London.
The webinar was expertly hosted by the founder of the Luxury Property Forum, Priya Rawal, and alongside Aidan were other top experts in the industry, of whom collectively provided an unparalleled and unreserved insight into what goes on behind the scenes when dealing with the magnificent heritage and listed building that the UK has to offer.
When asked ‘When working on these historic and heritage buildings, what are the key considerations you feel need to be made as a contractor’, Aidan replied…
“The first thing is to completely understand what’s required in terms of restoration, repair, and to ensure permissions and build consents are in place. It is essential that the works are clearly describes so we at Knowles can protect the right parts of the historic fabric of a building and fully understand what is require of us. Knowledge is power. We work closely with the client, architect, and interior designer to ensure this is achieved.”
‘What are the challenges Knowles face with your historic super prime properties that you may not face with more modern super prime properties.’ – Priya
“Historic buildings always have unexpected surprises to reveal that you wouldn’t get on a more modern building. Invariably it’s a voyage of exploration and that’s part of their beauty.
Particularly with London townhouses, it’s a common misconception that because they are old, they are well built, however, that’s often not necessarily the case. Many of those buildings were put up quite quickly and inexpensively and the construction isn’t as good as you might believe. However, Knowles are always prepared up for the challenge.” – Aidan
‘How do you go about as a contractor ensuring you appoint the right suppliers and subcontractor to maintain the integrity of a building.’ – Priya
“In Knowles’ case we carry a number of skilled craftsmen in-house and we supplement that with a selective group of tried and tested subcontractors in which we have worked with for many years, that we trust and have build great relationships with. Communication is key, and it is vital that we are able to communicate effectively with our team to ensure they fully understand what is required. Its equally important that our management team overseeing the project fully understand the time these types of work take. Traditional buildings often require tradition methods in order to repair them, and these are a lot more time consuming than more modern techniques.” – Aidan
In our time, Knowles have had the opportunity to work on a range of listed buildings, both in London and the Home Counties…
Located in the Wiltshire Countryside, Knowles delivered restoration and expansion works alongside Greenway Architects to sympathetically restore and redesign this stunning Manor House in the Wiltshire countryside. In keeping with the area of outstanding natural beauty, specialist masonry and pointing works were delivered to an exceptional standard.
Located in the centre of the Hurlingham Estate in Fulham, Knowles carried out extensive alterations and restorations to give this Grade II listed building a new lease of life.
The Castle Club is a beautiful building that had, sadly, become derelict. Working closely with Thackeray Group, Knowles were able to able to apply our skills and knowledge of regenerating sites rich in heritage to bring the building back to life while fully respecting and retaining its historic character and principal architecture.
St Marks Coptic Church is one of Kensington’s most iconic structures, having been in place since 1863. Knowles were responsible for the entirety of the basement excavation, which sat beneath the full footprint of the church ground floor. Careful sequencing was required across the project due to the varying loads of the historic superstructure, including the church’s tower.
Noted as one of London’s most desirable addresses, Eaton Square features classical terraced Grade II listed properties with white stucco facades and elegant mews.
Knowles was entrusted with the major structural alternation and restoration works in order to return the townhouse to its original configuration and former glory.
Sitting on the iconic cobbled Pavilion Road, our project otherwise known as ‘The Dutch House’ gained its name from the large Dutch cable built at the rear of the property. It was essential that Knowles ensured all façade features are retained when restoring and expanding this property to ensure localised aesthetic remains.
One of the few streets to contain contains original/ surviving Mews buildings after a high explosive bomb fell onto Sloane Street in 1940, the project and its neighbouring properties sit within one of Kensington’s largest Conservation Areas, ‘Hans Town’ and were originally the stable/ coach house accommodation for the main houses on the surrounding streets.
The full webinar can be accessed by member of LPF here. Thank you, Priya, for including Knowles and Aidan, in this fascinating conversation.
Should you wish to discuss an upcoming project which requires sensitive works due to a listed building status, please do get in touch.