Building maintenance in the Midlands

Maintenance staff cleaning stone carvings at Shugborough

The special places in our care need year round work to ensure they remain in good condition and open for visitors. Maintenance is always a better option than repair so our team of building surveyors are constantly at work to keep buildings, pathways and walls looking their best.

Sometimes it's easy to overlook the everyday, but have you ever stopped to think about what it really takes to keep our buildings in good condition? Aside from the big restoration and conservation projects our maintenance teams and building surveyors face a constant battle against deterioration.

Day to day maintenance

Because no two of the places we look after are the same it can be a real challenge to keep everything looking its best. As you can imagine there are plenty of not so glamourous but essential jobs to do, not just to keep places looking nice but to protect them from avoidable damage. Staff, volunteers and specialists at properties work hard to manage the backlog of tasks – sometimes quite literally when it comes to toilets and drains.

A variety of jobs

Chimneys at Brockhampton

At Brockhampton leaking chimney flues were causing damp problems to the fabric of the building and condensation issues. The resulting high humidity could cause terrible damage to historic collections, especially fabric and timber.

Getting to those hard to reach places
Maintenance teams doing chimney repairs at Brockhampton
Getting to those hard to reach places

Another chimney issue is birds attempting to nest in the flues and occasionally falling down into the rooms below - the last thing you need in a historic bedroom is a confused crow. Fitting raincaps and bird cages are an easy measure to prevent these problems.

Flagstones at Hardwick

Hardwick has just started cleaning the entrance hall floor for the first time in a number of years. In the long term the intention is to give all the stone floors and up the stairs a good clean too. 

Before and after in Hardwick's hall.
Flagstones in the entrance at Hardwick, some have been cleaned
Before and after in Hardwick's hall.

The gutters at Charlecote

Over at Charlecote Park, the annual gutter clean takes place in spring. As a Grade I listed building that dates back to Tudor times, great care must be taken to clean the exterior of the building using a mix of specialist equipment and traditional techniques. 

You need a head for heights to check the guttering
Two men in a red cherry oicker inspecting the gutter at Charlecote
You need a head for heights to check the guttering

More generally, properties across the area will receive a thorough inspection from top to bottom, from checking the stone work for any erosion to ensuring the internal heating systems are all in the best condition – vital to keep collections and interiors free from mould and pests. 

Who takes care of these buildings?

Building Surveyors measuring steps

Meet Senior Building Surveyor Matthew Glasgow  

From working with property and project teams on large scale restoration projects, to supporting on day to day care and maintenance the work of a Building Surveyor is never done. See what it's really like to be a Building Surveyor for the National Trust.

Caring for your own special place

Although your support helps us maintain our special places, what tips can we give you to care for you own house? We asked Paul, another of our Midlands Senior Building Surveyors, what his top tips would be for those wanting to give their homes a build of building maintenance. 

Longer term projects

Of course as well as the day to day maintenance of our places, there are a huge number of long term conservation and restoration projects. From converting disused buildings into useable visitor spaces like the Stables at Belton, to restoring the Ornamental Bridge at Cumber Park after severe vandalism, no two projects are the same.