Good news! We have received our listed building consent for the underpinning. This means we can finally start some proper construction at Mabel’s Farmhouse.
Well, almost. Often, there are ‘conditions’ associated with the permissions that will need to be discharged before work can start. Some conditions are fairly routine and can be expected, such as submitting specifications and materials that will be used in the build to the planning or conservation officer for approval.
Other conditions can be more onerous and require extra reports and investigation. Some conditions are pre-commencement, meaning that construction cannot take place before the condition has been discharged. Conditions are often overlooked as most people are so pleased to have received approval they want to push on straight away with the build — and are then disappointed when there are still more hoops to jump through!
Also, if you have applied for planning permission and listed building consent, which is often the case, there may be different conditions associated with each permission. Getting the conditions discharged is typically an eight-week process, so if you are not organised it could delay your build.
At Mabel’s we have a few conditions which are routine — the stone, mortar and pointing for the repairs to the exterior walls all need to be signed off.
However, we have a more onerous, and expensive, condition associated with the underpinning, which is the need for an archaeological Written Scheme of Investigation. This is due to the fact that our village is a medieval settlement and there may be potential archaeological material uncovered when we start the excavation for the underpinning.
We feel it’s more likely that we’ll uncover a buried tractor than anything significant — but if it’s a vintage Massey Ferguson then it may be worth the time and expense.
What is a Written Scheme of Investigation?
A Written Scheme of Investigation is a method statement on how the archaeology is going to be managed on the site. It is typically prepared by a specialist consultant, normally an archaeologist, and describes what should happen on site if archaeological remains are found.
There are usually detailed descriptions of the methods for collection, conservation or disposal strategy for artefacts as well as arrangements for immediate conservation of artefacts. There is also more pragmatic information regarding health and safety, technical information, archiving and environmental considerations.