Historic Structures Fund

Brigid Geoghegan
Brigid Geoghegan • 4 January 2019


 

Introduction

 

In April 2018, the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht announced Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027 - a €1.2bn capital investment in culture and heritage. The capital funding for built heritage under this plan will run from 2018-2027 and is focused on enhancing and safeguarding our built heritage throughout the country. 

 

There are almost fifty thousand protected structures around Ireland. Many of these are in great need of investment to ensure their preservation and continued use so that they remain a living part of our history and community life into the future.

 

Funding for the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) is being made available as part of Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027. 

 

Total funding available nationally under the Historic Structures fund in 2019 will be €1,824,000.

 

  1. Aims of the Historic Structures Fund

 

Ireland has a unique built environment of extraordinary quality - our historic buildings and structures are a vital part of our heritage. They are the built signatures of generations of Irish people.

 

 

The primary focus of the Historic Structures Fund will be on conservation and enhancement of historic structures and buildings for the benefit of communities and the public.

 

 

While the primary responsibility to care for and maintain a protected structure rests with the owner, the Historic Structures Fund will invest essential capital in our valuable built heritage and help the owners and custodians of historic structures to safeguard them into the future for the benefit of communities and the public. There are almost fifty thousand protected structures around the country. Many of these are in great need of investment to ensure their preservation and continued use so that they remain a living part of our history and community life into the future.

 

The core aims of this fund are to:

 

  • enable larger scale conservation works to be carried out on heritage structures which are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support;
  • encourage the regeneration and reuse of heritage properties and to help to secure the preservation of protected structures and/or historic-culturally significant assets;
  • support the investment of private capital in labour-intensive projects to conserve historic structures in public and private ownership for community use.

 

The Historic Structures Fund will have two Streams:

  • Stream 1 will offer grants from €15,000 up to €50,000 and is aimed at essential repairs and smaller capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of heritage structures (funding of up to €1m for 2019 under this Stream).
  • Stream 2 will offer a small number of grants from €50,000 up to €200,000 for larger enhancement, refurbishment or reuse projects involving heritage structures, where a clear community or public benefit has been demonstrated (funding of up to €1m for 2019 under this Stream).

 

The Minister may designate part of the Fund for projects in partnership with State-funded organisations such as the Office of Public Works, the Irish Heritage Trust, Waterways Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Landmark Trust and others, to care for historic structures and buildings in public ownership and improve recreational infrastructure and public access to these heritage assets.

 

3. Who can apply?

 

The Historic Structures Fund provides capital funding for works to qualifying structures which include the following:

 

  1. Protected Structures: Structures in the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) of each local authority;
  2. Structures eligible for or proposed for inclusion in the RPS but not yet formally approved for inclusion. Such structures must meet the criteria for inclusion in the RPS by the local authority, i.e. must be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view;
  3. Structures or works within Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs), or within the amenity of a National Monument, where exceptional circumstances apply.

 

Eligible projects will be as follows:

  • projects proposed by local authorities on foot of applications from private applicants who are the owners or custodians of historic structures

 

  • projects proposed by a local authority for works to historic structures in public ownership, where a clear heritage focus and community or public benefit has been demonstrated

 

  • projects with a clearly defined heritage focus and community or public benefit proposed directly to the Department by a State-funded organisation working in the heritage area.

 

 

Only one application will be considered per historic structure

Multiple applications for the same structure under different streams of the Historic Structures Fund or the Built Heritage Investment Scheme will not be considered.

 

 

4.  Available Funding

  • Stream 1 will offer grants between €15,000 and €50,000 for essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic structures.
  • Stream 2 will offer grants from €50,000 up to €200,000 for larger enhancement or significant refurbishment projects involving historic structures, where a clear benefit to the community and the public has been demonstrated. Funding under Stream 2 may be phased over two years

 

  • The maximum grant available for Stream 1 will be 80% of the eligible costs.

 

  • The maximum grant available for Stream 2 will generally be 50% of the eligible costs, however, in exceptional circumstances applicants may seek a higher percentage of eligible costs, subject to a maximum overall rate of 80%. 

 

  • Applicants will be required to provide evidence of the availability of matching funding and works must be completed and paid for before payment is made by the Department.

 

 

5.  What will be funded

 

  • Stream 1 - Essential repairs, refurbishment.  Essential works that will conserve and safeguard the structure and keep it in use.

 

  • Stream 2 - Larger enhancement or significant refurbishment or regeneration projects which will deliver a clear benefit to the community and the public.

 

  • Funding for projects in partnership with other State-funded organisations as set out above will be determined by the Department on a case by case basis. Funding for these projects will be for capital works only and will not generally exceed 50% of the project cost.

 

Please see Section 8 below for further details on Qualifying Works.

 

 

The following will not be eligible for funding:

 

  • Works which have commenced prior to the grant award
  • Routine maintenance or other on-going costs
  • New build or extensions
  • Works not in accordance with sound conservation methodology and practice
  • Projects or elements of projects where works have already commenced prior to grant award
  • Purchase of lands or buildings
  • Feasibility studies
  • Conservation plans or other non-capital expenditure, except where such is directly ancillary to capital works being funded under HSF.

 

6.  Selection Criteria

 

 

Eligible applications for Stream 1 will be assessed for selection under the following criteria:

 

1

Significance of the structure

2

Efficacy of the grant in achieving the aims of the Historic Structures Fund

3

Quality  of the methodology and technical merit of the works proposed

4

Contribution of the proposed works to keeping the structure in use, or bringing it back into use.

 

 

Eligible applications for Stream 2 will be assessed for selection under the following criteria:

 

1

Significance of the structure

2

Efficacy of the grant in achieving the aims of the Historic Structures Fund

3

Quality  of the methodology and technical merit of the works proposed

4

Contribution of the proposed works to keeping the structure in use, or bringing it back into use.

5

Public or community benefit of the project

 

Applications which fail to achieve a qualifying mark under any one of the above assessment criteria will fail the assessment overall and will not be considered for funding.

 

 

7.   Quality of works

 

Conservation works must be designed, specified and overseen on site by appropriately qualified and experienced building conservation professional(s) who will be required to confirm that works have been carried out to a satisfactory standard.

 

Where the specific expertise lies with a practitioner, e.g. a thatcher or stone mason, they fulfil the role of the conservation building professional.

 

 

8.  How to Apply         

Stream 1

 

This stream will offer grants between €15,000 and €50,000 for essential repairs and small capital works for the refurbishment and conservation of historic structures

 

  • Private applicants or community groups who are the owners or custodians of historic structures should:
    • complete Form A
    • attach a comprehensive Method Statement
    • submit to their local authority before the closing date 31 January 2019.

Local authorities will shortlist suitable projects and submit to the Department by 15 Feb 2019. Each local authority may shortlist up to three projects in this category for consideration.

 

  • Local authorities submitting applications for works to historic structures in public ownership, where a clear heritage focus and community or public benefit has been demonstrated should
    • complete Form A
    • attach a comprehensive Method Statement
    • submit to the Department (email HSF@chg.gov.ie) on or before 15 Feb 2019.

Each local authority may submit one project in this category for consideration. 

 

  • Applications for projects with a clearly defined heritage focus and community or public benefit proposed by a State-funded organisation working in the heritage area, should:

 

    • Complete Form A
    • attach a comprehensive Method Statement
    • submit to the Department (email HSF@chg.gov.ie)  on or before 15 February 2019.

 

 

 Please note the requirement in all cases for an appropriately qualified conservation professional to oversee the works, and for a comprehensive and sound methodology to accompany the application.

 

Your attention is drawn to the fact that the absence of a suitably comprehensive

method statement is a frequent cause of projects failing at assessment stage.

 

 

 

Stream 2

 

Stream 2 will offer a small number of grants up to €200,000 for larger enhancement, restoration or conservation projects involving heritage structures, where a clear community or public benefit has been demonstrated.

 

  • Private applicants or community groups who are the owners or custodians of historic structures should:
    • complete Form A and
    • attach a comprehensive Method Statement
    • submit to their local authority before the closing date 31 January 2019.

Local authorities will shortlist suitable projects and submit to the Department by 15 Feb 2019. Each local authority may submit one project in this category to the Department for consideration.

 

  • Local authorities submitting applications for works to historic structures in public ownership, where a clear heritage focus and community or public benefit has been demonstrated should
    • complete Form A
    • attach a comprehensive Method Statement
    • submit to the Department (email HSF@chg.gov.ie) on or before 15 Feb 2019.

Each local authority may submit one project in this category to the Department for consideration.

 

  • Applications for projects with a clearly defined heritage focus and community or public benefit proposed by a State-funded organisation working in the heritage area, should
    • Complete Form A
    • attach a comprehensive Method Statement
    • submit to the Department (email HSF@chg.gov.ie) , on or before 15 February 2019.

 

 

 Please note the requirement for an appropriately qualified conservation professional to oversee the works, and for a comprehensive and sound methodology to accompany the application.

 

Due to the high demand for grants, applications not meeting these criteria at the initial application stage will not be considered in 2019. Your attention is drawn to the fact that the absence of a suitably comprehensive method statement is a frequent cause of projects failing at assessment stage.

 

 

 

Submitting your application

 

Applications which meet the criteria should be submitted to the local authority or the Department (as appropriate) for consideration by the deadline.

 

Please check in particular –

 

  • The amount of funding requested does not exceed the maximum grant available.
  • The amount and source of matching funding is clearly stated
  • Details of other exchequer funding have been declared

 

A separate email must be submitted in respect of each project ensuring all relevant material for that application is included. The size of the email must not exceed 15MB. Fragments or partly completed applications, or multiple applications in the same email, will not be considered for funding.

 

The email subject should be ‘HSF 2019’ and include the project name and the name of the local authority where relevant.

 

 

NOTE: Applications will be accepted by email only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Recoupment of Funding

 

 

Where the application is via the local authority

Works must be completed and verified by the Local Authority before payment of grant funding can be sought from the Department.

 

The Local Authority is responsible for payment of the grants to the owners/occupiers of approved HSF projects in advance of seeking recoupment from DCHG.

 

 

Your attention is drawn to the fact that where works are not carried out in accordance with the terms of the scheme, in particular where the scope of works changes and the new works do not conform to the required standards of good conservation practice, the Department is under no obligation to award the grant, as this is a material breach of the terms of the grant offer.

 

 

Once payment to an applicant has been made, the LA must complete and return Form C (Appendix IV) by the 1 November 2019 to recoup the grant from DCHG. Form C must be signed by the Architectural Conservation Officer (ACO) (or where an ACO is not employed, by a member of the LA’s professional staff competent to undertake this function) with oversight of the project and countersigned by the Chief Executive Officer or Director of Services. The form must be accompanied by proof of payment e.g. printout showing applicant’s name, amount paid and date of payment and visual aids such as photographs or video clips to allow DCHG compare ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the completed works. Funding cannot be claimed after the deadline date.

 

A separate email must be submitted in respect of each recoupment claim, ensuring all relevant material is included in one email.

 

Where an application has been made directly to the Department

Form C must be signed by the conservation professional identified on the original application form, who will certify that the works have been overseen and carried out in accordance with the terms of the grant award and to appropriate standard in terms of conservation practice.

 

No grant award will be payable where certification of the works has not been carried out by an appropriately qualified conservation professional.

 

The recoupment form must be accompanied by proof of payment e.g. printout showing applicant’s name, amount paid and date of payment and visual aids such as photographs or video clips to allow the Department to compare ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of the completed works.

 

Funding cannot be claimed after the deadline date.

 

 

10.   Qualifying Works    

 

 

Roofs: Works to ensure the structural stability and/or weather tightness of a roof using appropriate materials and detailing; the salvage and reuse of existing slate and other materials from the structure should be a priority. Works to repair thatched roofs using appropriate, compatible traditional materials and details, reed is permissible where it replaces a reed roof. Works to renew damaged or missing metal sheeting, gutter linings and flashings (of materials such as lead, copper or zinc) to appropriate details. Where there is a risk of theft of metalwork from a roof, the use of suitable substitute materials as an interim solution may be considered acceptable.

 

Rainwater disposal: Works to repair or, where this is not feasible, replace rainwater goods to ensure efficient disposal of water from the building. Lead and cast-iron should be replaced like-for-like. However, where there is a risk of theft or vandalism, the use of suitable substitute materials as an interim solution may be considered acceptable.

 

External walls: Works to ensure the structural stability and/or weather tightness of the building envelope. Works to remedy defects or problems that have the potential to create serious future damage if left untreated, such as foundation settlement, chimney collapse, fungal attack on timber or salt migration within the fabric.

 

Windows, doors and associated elements: Works to prevent water ingress. Works to repair significant elements of external joinery with minimal replacement of decayed timber. Repair of stained glass windows and associated works in accordance with best practice as set out in Chapter 6 of The Conservation of Places of Worship, Advice Series (2011), http://www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2015/07/The-Conservation-of-Places-of-Worship-2011.pdf.

 

Interiors: Works to repair internal structural elements such as floors, walls, staircases and partitions. Works to conserve significant decorative features and artwork such as wall and ceiling plasterwork, interior joinery and fittings and decorative elements as appropriate.

 

Temporary works: Works to reduce the risk to a structure from possible or partial collapse, subject to the maintenance of adequate ventilation of the structure, and the protection of significant features of the building from endangerment. In exceptional circumstances, where it is considered necessary to remove fixtures or features of interest for safe-keeping, this shall be conditional on the inclusion of acceptable proposals for their secure storage for later reinstatement within a stated timeframe.

 

Historic ruins: Works to stabilise masonry or other elements at risk.

 

Other works: A case may be made by the applicant and/or the local authority for other works which they deem to be of exceptional importance for consideration by the Department.

 

All qualifying works should be in accordance with the standards of best practice as outlined in the Department’s Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2011) http://www. chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2015/07/Architectural-Heritage-Protection-Guidelines-2011.pdf

and relevant volumes of the Department’s Advice Series. (http://www.chg.gov.ie/heritage/built-heritage/architectural-heritage-advisory-service/advice-for-owners/)

 

 

 

 

11.  A Guidance Note on Method Statements      

 

The Method Statement must describe the condition of the structure, and give details of how conservation/repair works will be carried out. This document does not need to be unduly long but it must be appropriate to the nature and scale of the proposed works, e.g. a Method Statement in relation to re-thatching will not require as much detail as one for structural or masonry repairs. It should not exceed TEN A4 pages.

 

Works should be in line with best conservation practice and should aim to employ methods of minimal intervention. Works should be based on a proper understanding of the structure, and make use of appropriate materials. Replacement of original material should be kept to a minimum and should only be carried out when absolutely necessary. The proposed works should only be undertaken by appropriately qualified conservation practitioners who have experience in the use of historic materials and techniques.

 

The Method Statement must include

 

  1. A concise description of the structure

The structure as it currently exists, noting all its salient features, its appearance, setting, form, present function, significance, brief architectural history (if available/relevant) and the materials of which it is composed.

 

  1. A description of the works proposed

This should identify the issues that are causing risk, what remedial works are proposed, how the work will be done, what materials will be used, and how the fabric of the building will be conserved. It must include relevant plans, drawings and supporting visual media such as video clips, photographs or other illustrations and should typically include the following issues:

 

  1. Are the works temporary or permanent?
  2. What types of repairs are being proposed and in which locations?
  3. What treatment/replacement of damaged fabric is envisaged?
  4. What replacement materials (if any) will be incorporated?
  5. Details of on-site supervision and monitoring;
  6. A brief schedule or sequence of works;
  7. An estimated project cost.

 

  1. Impact statement and proposed mitigation measures (if applicable)

Any likely impact of works on a structure and ways of mitigating adverse impacts. Mitigation may include design, timing and methodology (i.e. roof repairs timed to avoid interfering with bat colonies or rendering works timed to allow lime mortar to set), reversibility, careful choice of materials, etc.

 

 

 

12.  Conditions

 

The following conditions will apply to all projects

 

  • Drawdown of grant

Projects must be completed and funds drawn down as follows

  • Stream 1:  Within the calendar year of the grant award
  • Stream 2:  Before the end of the year following the year of grant award.

 

  • Oversight

It is a condition of funding that works must be overseen by an appropriately qualified conservation professional.

 

  • Photography

Good quality digital photographs of the project must be provided before works commence. These may be used later for a ‘before and after’ comparison for reporting purposes. Please note that the Department reserves the right to use any or all images supplied by either the applicant or the local authority to advertise or publicise the scheme. Applicants and local authorities are advised to obtain permission to use images (if necessary) before they submit them to the Department.

 

  • Method Statement

A comprehensive Method Statement must be submitted by the owner/occupier with each application (see Section 10 for guidance on Method Statements).

 

  • Statutory Consents

All necessary statutory permissions or consents must be in place before any works commence. 

 

  • Evidence of matching funding

Evidence of the availability of matching funding to complete the project must be submitted with the application form. 

 

  • Minister’s decision

The Minister’s decision is relation to grant funding is final. In deciding the allocations of funding, the Minister may take account of a number of factors including geographical balance and the desirability to fund a variety of projects. The Minister will retain the right to reassign the funds offered to another approved project if requirements are not met within a defined period. 

 

  • Advertising

Each local authority shall advertise the Historic Structures Fund on its website.

 

  • Inspection

Where a project is proposed by a local authority, inspection of the structure before and after the works must be carried out by the Architectural Conservation Officer (ACO) or, where an ACO is not employed, by a member of the LA’s professional staff competent to undertake this function.  Where a project is proposed directly by the applicant, the conservation professional named in the application must carry out these inspections.

 

  • Progress reports

Interim progress reports must be submitted to the Department by end of June 2019, indicating whether a contract has been awarded, work has commenced and the funding, if any, paid to the applicant. Where a project has not commenced on site by 9 September 2019, the Department, following consultation with the relevant local authority, reserves the right to reallocate the funding to another project.

 

  • Reallocation of funding

The Department may allocate and reallocate funding under the scheme, including to projects meeting the criteria for the scheme where an urgent need has arisen in the course of the year.

 

  • Legal Agreement

Applicants awarded grant funding under Stream 2 may be required to enter into a legal agreement with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, placing a charge on the property for the amount of the grant. 

 

  • Tax Requirements

The applicant and any contractors must be tax compliant. Relevant tax clearance procedures in respect of public sector grant payments as set down by the Revenue Commissioners must be adhered to. Please refer to www.revenue.ie for further details. In line with Section 4(1) of Department of Finance Circular 44/2006: Tax Clearance Procedures: Grants, Subsidies and Similar Type Payments, it will be a matter for each LA to ensure that the proper tax clearance procedures are being adhered to by applicants, contractors and subcontractors, and in line with LA’s own financial control procedures.

 

Owners who have received a determination under Section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (as amended) (formerly Section 19 of the Finance Act 1982) and/or where the owner/occupier has received tax relief under the Home Improvement Scheme or the Living City Initiative, should inform the Revenue Commissioners of any funding received through this scheme. DCHG will provide the Revenue Commissioners with a list of successful applicants under this scheme.

 

  • Procurement

Projects in receipt of grant assistance must comply with Public Procurement Guidelines.  http://www.etenders.gov.ie/

 

  • Circular 13/2014

Grantees will be required to comply with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular 13/2014 - Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds http://circulars.gov.ie/pdf/circular/per/2014/13.pdf

 

  • Audit and site visits

The Department may carry out site visits and audit during various stages of a project. Applicants may also be required to complete an evaluation survey on completion of a project.

 

  • Endangerment notices

Where the structure is in the ownership of a local authority, or where a local authority is providing financial assistance for works to an endangered structure under Sections 59, 69 and/or 70 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) , the application may be made by a designated officer of that local authority.

 

  • Supplementary material

Supplementary material with the application form will be accepted ONLY IF it has a direct bearing on an application (i.e. dendrochronology reports, archaeological reports, technical research, joinery and material analysis, analytical and three-dimensional drawings, detailed historical research, etc.).

 

  • Statutory Requirements

Grant-approved works must meet all statutory requirements, including planning permission. Where works are proposed to sites/monuments protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004, the statutory requirements for notification or for Ministerial consent under those Acts must be complied with.

 

The onus is on the applicant to comply with all other relevant statutory requirements, such as the Wildlife Acts, foreshore licenses (if applicable), Safety, Health and Welfare legislation, and environmental and employment legislation. The attention of the local authority is drawn to: (DAHRRGA 2012) Strict Protection of Animal Species: Guidance for local authorities on the application of Articles 12 and 16 of the EU Habitats Directive to development/works by or on behalf of a local authority. The publication Bat Mitigation Guidelines for Ireland (2006) is available on DCHG’s website at: https://www.npws.ie/publications/search?title=bat+mitigation&keyword=&author=&series=All&year=&x=0&y=0

 

An applicant will be required to submit copies of all relevant permissions, declarations, notifications or consents when making a claim for a grant.

 

  • Transfer of Ownership

If the grant-aided structure is sold, or the ownership transferred within a period of 5 years from date of payment of the grant, some or all of the funding awarded may be subject to claw-back. In the event of transfer of ownership prior to grant payment, the local authority may make arrangements to transfer the grant to the new owner of the property subject to his/her compliance with all conditions attached to the grant.

 

  • Annual Report and Publicity

Each local authority should include information on its operation of the fund in its Annual Report. The Department must be publicly acknowledged in all advertisements and publicity in relation to this scheme.

 

  • Other Exchequer Funding

Projects may be eligible to receive funding from more than one publicly-funded scheme. To ensure that the matching funding requirements for the scheme are met, information provided by the applicant in Section 1f. of the application form should be cross-checked in respect of possible other grants from exchequer funds.

 

Where an applicant has applied for or has received funding from other schemes financed by the Exchequer or the EU for the works concerned, the cumulative total of such funding and the grant under this scheme must not exceed 80% of the total cost.

 

Where the structure in question is being used for economic activity, funding under the Historic Structures Fund may be considered to be de minimis funding for State Aid purposes.

 

  • Freedom of Information Acts

Applications for funding under the scheme may be subject to the Freedom of Information Acts.

 

 

GDPR / Privacy Statement

 

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht  is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and employs appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect your information from unauthorised access. The Department will not process your personal data for any purpose other than that for which they were collected. Personal data may be exchanged with other Government Departments, local authorities, agencies under the aegis of the Department, or other public bodies, in certain circumstances where this is provided for by law.

 

The Department will only retain your personal data for as long as it is necessary for the purposes for which they were collected and subsequently processed. When the business need to retain this information has expired, it will be examined with a view to destroying the personal data as soon as possible, and in line with Department policy. Further information on Data Protection can be found on our website at: https://www.chg.gov.ie/help/legal-notices/data-protection/

 

 

Contact Details

 

For further information regarding this scheme, please contact Built Heritage Policy, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Custom House, Dublin 1. Tel. 01 888 2428 or email HSF@chg.gov.ie .

 

Appendices

 

I.          Application Form A – to be completed by Applicant

 

II.         Checklist

 

III.        Application Form B

 

IV.        Recoupment Claim Form C