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Period Renovation Somerset
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Cob Specialists Devon

Cob Restoration and Construction

Cob has been used to build homes since ancient times. By using earth and natural fibers (typically straw) which are easily available in the surrounding area cob was traditionally seen as quick and cheap building material. British cob is quite similar to the adobe used in hotter climes. Like adobe the basic ingredients are are clay and sand is the same, but cob uses far more fiberous material.

Also, rather than make regular blocks or bricks from cob to construct the house, cob is typically built up by hand. Cos is mixed as large lumps (or cobs) small enough to be handled with ease throughout the construction process. These cobs are a mixture of the the clay, sand and straw. This mixing is done by foot (like crushing grapes). Because of this making the cob is fairly labour intensive.

Many cob properties across Devon which have stood for centuries, were originally built by their original inhabitants. Now, however, the art of building with cos is restricted to a few specialist builders. Specialist building firms offer a wide range of period and traditional techniques, for new builds with that historic look, to restoration and renovation of genuine historical buildings. They can also carry out work with lime renders, stonework cleaning, masonry repairs, traditional roofing techniques and full conservation management. Specialist building firms also work closely with the relevant authorities, ensuring that all work carried out on listed or otherwise protected properties is carried out using traditional techniques and materials.

Many cob properties have a thick lime render to provide better protection from the elements. This lime render will last for years with nothing by the odd coat of paint, but occasionally it will need patching or even replacing. Damaged render will need to be properly checked, especially if it has been damaged for a while. Damaged render can trap water between it and the cob underneath, this can lead to structural problems in extreme cases and needs to be checked as soon as possible.
Period Renovation  Devon Cob
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Cob Specialists Devon
Lime Plasters & Renders
Stonework & Masonry
Roofing & Joinery
Conservation & Management
Period Renovation Somerset
Specialist Period Renovation and Conservation experts Court Design and Conservation provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q1 Do I need listed building consent for internal alterations to my Grade II listed building ?

A Yes you do. This is a common misunderstanding. All listed buildings, irrespective of their listed grade status, CANNOT be altered INSIDE OR OUTSIDE, extended or demolished, unless listed building consent has been obtained through the Local Authority.

This also applies to any object or structure fixed to the listed building or which forms part of its historic curtilage.

Q2. I am buying a listed building and wish to make alterations to it. What will be allowed ?

A Firstly, prior to purchase consult either someone like ourselves or the local Conservation Officer to establish what alterations may be considered appropriate and acceptable within the confines of the protected building and curtilage.

Do not buy an old building unless you are prepared to accept its particular character and quirks. It is essential that you adapt to it rather than trying to impose inappropriate alterations and extensions on to it.
br> It is a criminal offence to undertake work without consent on a listed property and will have very serious implications if this is not complied with. At County Court Punishment can be a fine up to £20,000.00 and / or up to 6 months imprisonment. However at Crown Court level fines can be unlimited and up to 23 years imprisonment.

Q3 Is there any grant funding available to help me repair my property ?

A Local Councils do operate discretionary grant schemes for appropriate repair but their resources are small and usually over-stretched. English Heritage grants are available for properties listed Grade II* and Grade I.

Certain criteria have to be met, however, and it is unusual for normal domestic listed structures to receive grant-aided repair work, particularly in the more rural areas. Heritage Lottery grant funding may be available if the buildings and settings can offer a public access and use but this is not available for private premises which are not open to the public.

Please see our website for more information and advice on building regulations and listed buildings.
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