HS1: Maintenance of weatherproof traditional farm buildings

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the maintenance of weatherproof traditional farm buildings option.

How much will be paid

£3.25 per square metre.

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Only for traditional farm buildings or parts of buildings that:

  • were built using traditional methods and using timber, brick, stone, tile or slate
  • were built before 1940 for agricultural use, eg housing machinery or animals, or storing or processing crops and food
  • are still in agricultural use on a farm holding, whether or not this was the original use
  • are sound and weatherproof
  • are recorded on the Farm Environment Record (FER)

Applicants must own or control the building or the part of the building entered into the option for the life of the agreement.

Where this option cannot be used

This option cannot be used if the building:

  • is a metal-framed dutch barn
  • was constructed as a dwelling
  • is a farmhouse, residential or domestic building

How this option will benefit the environment

It will help to maintain traditional farm buildings, using traditional methods and materials. This will also enhance the local landscape and preserve places for wildlife.

If successful there will be:

Requirements

Year 1

  • complete a building maintenance plan
  • install bat or barn owl boxes with open access points, if recommended in the wildlife assessment

Every year

  • carry out visual inspections at least once a year and keep records of the results in the building maintenance plan and wildlife assessment
  • carry out maintenance work and repairs on a ‘like for like’ basis
  • record the maintenance work carried out in the building maintenance plan log
  • keep the building weatherproof, including fixtures, fittings and features such as mounting blocks, stack or stook bases
  • use traditional material and methods for any maintenance work, keeping the character of the building within its local setting
  • maintain areas where a non-traditional material has previously been used to repair or re-clad the building, such as corrugated iron sheeting to cover roofs
  • maintain existing features identified as possible roosting areas for bats, such as non-structural crevices and cavities, taking care not to disturb any bats
  • get advice from a licensed ecological consultant if bat activity has been identified - this will apply at any time in the agreement
  • follow any advice from the ecological consultant about when work can be undertaken on the building’s fabric and get any bat licences that are needed

Do not:

  • sell or convert the building for non-agricultural use during the life of the agreement

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • a copy of the building maintenance plan to be submitted by the second claim. This is also to be updated with inspection results and completed works throughout the life of the agreement
  • any receipted invoices (or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable), consents or permissions connected with this work
  • a copy of the wildlife assessment updated with the results of annual inspections

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • photographs showing the condition of the building before the start of the agreement
  • a wildlife assessment of the building’s suitability for barn owls, kestrels and bats (see Countryside Stewardship: building wildlife assessment)
  • proof that the applicant owns or controls the building and that it has not been converted for other use

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following section gives advice on carrying out this option successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this option.

How to calculate the option area

The eligible area for this option is the footprint of the ground floor of the building. Do not include any other space from extra floors, or any parts of the yard, in the calculation.

Maintenance work

Carry out routine maintenance work to protect the fabric of the building and to keep it weatherproof. This does not include work to fix significant defects or decay, or work to bring a building in poor repair back to a good condition.

Regular inspections

Inspect the site regularly to identify areas that might need attention such as:

  • blocked downpipes and gutters
  • broken or slipped slates, tiles or glass
  • pointing on walls
  • the condition of paintwork
  • barriers to wildlife access
  • vegetation that needs clearing
  • any other items that need minor repairs

Specific tasks and minor repairs

Carry out specific tasks regularly so the building stays in good condition and is weatherproof. Tasks could include:

  • clearing gutters from debris and leaves
  • fixing slipped slate or broken roofing slates and tiles to prevent rainwater penetration
  • renewing cast iron gutters and drainpipes
  • replacing broken glass
  • repainting woodwork and metalwork
  • repointing walls
  • clearing vegetation

How often the work needs doing

Some work will be required every year. Seasonal tasks, such as clearing gutters and removing vegetation, may need to be done several times a year.

Start on any agreed work as soon as the agreement begins, such as:

  • installing wildlife boxes
  • undertaking work to enable access for wildlife
  • completing the building maintenance plan

Further information

For information on the law and bats see bats: protection, surveys and licences

Also, read Bats in traditional buildings guidance leaflet.

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