Richard Burton is Landmark's building surveyor for Wales and the West Midlands. He was also the Project Manager for the Llwyn Celyn project.
What is your role at Landmark?
I am employed as a building surveyor by Landmark and have a portfolio of properties in Wales and West Midlands for which I am responsible. Scheduling, specifying and managing maintenance and repair works, which might go from external redecoration to refitting a bathroom to a total property refurbishment. I was seconded to act as Project Manager for the Llwyn Celyn project.
How long have you been involved with the Llwyn Celyn project?
I first became involved around May 2011, so 7 ½ years.
What was the most interesting thing you discovered at Llwyn Celyn?
This is difficult because the whole project to restore Llwyn Celyn has been interesting: learning from experts as they discuss the development of the house to watching the craftsmen carefully and skilfully restore the building. If I have to choose one interesting discovery, it has to be the archway in the south wall of what was the ground floor of the hall and now the dining room. This was discovered very late in the project and was totally unexpected and has been a point of speculation as to its precise use since.
What was the biggest challenge at Llwyn Celyn?
The biggest challenge has been providing alternative accommodation for, in particular, the Lesser Horseshoe bats on site. The first operation for the contractor on site was to re-roof the Cider House and provide a loft in the first floor void suitable for the bats. Once complete it was then necessary to encourage the bats to take up residence there rather than other parts of the house, eg the kitchen chimney. The mitigation has been successful and bats have been recorded using the space and indeed a nursery roost has also been established.
What is one thing that people may not know about Llwyn Celyn?
The roof of the house is cover with local sandstone tiles both new and re-used and their total weight is estimated to be 58t. In addition, the house has consumed in the order of 23.5m3 of new oak, circa 23t, in its repairs
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the heritage/building conservation industry?
I think having a passion for historic buildings and their continued existence is key, but also patience; because conservation is not something you can rush and it takes time to make the decisions and to get the works done properly.
What is your favourite Landmark?
This is so difficult because all Landmarks are so different and are each special in their own ways: the building, their location, memories of times spent with family and friend and are therefore favourites for different reasons. I suppose Llwyn Celyn has to be my current favourite, only because I have so enjoyed working on this project with such an enthusiastic, dedicated and professional team of colleagues, contractors and consultants.