Grant Guide

THI Grant Assistance

The grant programme is available to owners of key properties identified for high quality repair, restoration and refurbishment within the defined THI area. The primary funding for this grant is drawn down from the HLF with partnership funding being sourced where available from DoE Planning NI, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Department for Social Development.

General Townscape Heritage Initiative Principles:
“All work must be undertaken with respect for the historic character and integrity of the building and of the area”
“All work must meet accepted standards of quality in terms of materials and workmanship appropriate to the circumstances”

Grant Levels: 

  • Building Repair 55%
  • Architectural Reinstatement 75%
  • Vacant Floor Space 40%
  • Infilling Gap Sites 30%

Eligible Works & Costs

Eligible Works – Building Repair

Building Repair

Building Repair

The objective is to put into sound repair the structure and external envelope of buildings that make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area.
Eligible works include the structural and external repair of historic buildings, which are in use. It may sometimes include internal repairs, but only if these are necessary for structural stability.
Routine maintenance including redecoration is ineligible, unless the decoration is needed as a direct result of eligible repair. Internal repairs are eligible only if they result directly from repairs to the structure and if the public has access to the building by virtue of its use.
Repairs should be comprehensive in scope, using appropriate techniques or methods of construction and high quality natural or traditional materials, normally on a like-for-like basis. Substitute or artificial materials are ineligible and their use generally unacceptable on grant-aided projects.

Examples of eligible repairs may include;
• Structural consolidation
• Dry rot eradication & damp proofing
• Roofing repair including chimney stacks and concealed gutters
• Leadwork repair to weatherings
• Repair of rainwater goods
• Masonry repair, stone and brickwork
• Render repair / replacement of inappropriate coatings
• Windows, doors, joinery repair and refurbishment
• Cleaning of stone and brick for non-cosmetic reasons

Eligible Works – Architectural Reinstatement

Reinstate Architectural Detail

Reinstate Architectural Detail

The objective is to reinstate in whole or part elements of the exterior fabric of buildings, which are essential to the buildings design and character. Grant for reinstatement of architectural details will only be awarded where the building is otherwise in sound repair, or will be repaired as part of the project. Reinstatement of architectural details such as ornamental masonry (including architectural sculpture), stucco and other applied finishes and details, joinery to historic patterns, and ornamental metalwork such as balconies, canopies and finials.
Conjectural restoration work, that is work for which there is no firm historical evidence, either surviving on the building or recorded in photographs or drawings, is not eligible. Nor does it include works involving the reversal of alterations that are themselves of quality and interest. Details to be reinstated must be based on sound archival or physical evidence taken from the building or similarly detailed neighbours.

Proposals should not involve the extension of a shop frontage across an independent means of access to upper floors. Priority will be given to schemes that seek to reinstate means of independent access to otherwise inaccessible upper floors above shops

Examples of Architectural Reinstatement may include;
• Masonry including sculpture, stucco and applied finishes
• Removal of external shutters to facilitate traditional shopfront reinstatement
• Joinery to historic patterns
• Metalwork including railings canopies and finials
• Reinstatement of natural slate roof coverings
• Reinstatement of chimney stacks & parapets to historic pattern
• Excludes conjectural works (no historic evidence available)

Eligible Works – Return of Vacant Floorspace to Use:

Vacant Floorspace

Vacant Floorspace

The objective is to bring currently vacant or underused floorspace within historic buildings, such as unused upper floors over shops, back into use, so as to maximize the buildings potential within the townscape, contribute to the local; economy and protect against future lack of maintenance. This may involve a change of use and physical alteration to the building. Proposals for such work must respect the historic character and interest of the building internally as well as externally. Internal features of interest, such as fireplaces, decorative plasterwork or paneling etc. should be retained

Since the objective is to bring vacant floorspace back into use, all aspects of the physical work of conversion will be eligible, including necessary alterations both internal and external. Internal work will often involve redecoration, but furnishings, and services beyond the basic provision of heat, light and power, are not eligible. Grants to bring floorspace into use must only be offered if the building is in sound repair, or will be made so through concurrent repair work.

Eligible works to return Vacant Floor Space to use may include;

• All aspects of physical works associated with the conversion including alterations
• Internal decorations
• Basic provision of services
• Building regulation requirements to facilitate re-use of floorspace

Eligible Works – Infilling Gap Sites

Infilling Gap Sites

Infilling Gap Sites

The objective is to achieve an appropriately high standard of design and materials in new buildings occupying presently vacant sites in key historic frontages. New build will not be supported where it might adversely affect the use or occupation of historic buildings in the area. Normally, the eligible works will be the structural elements whose appearance will affect the character of the conservation area, whose quality the grant is intended to secure.

A development appraisal will be required to establish eligibility and will be assessed on the basis that a building of an appropriate quality can be achieved only by subsidy combined with the use of planning powers. The level of grant will be limited to additional costs, which arise directly from the planning and architectural requirements of development in a historic setting, when compared to the cost of comparable local development outside the conservation area.

Eligible Costs

Professional fees
Expenditure on fees for qualified professional advisers is eligible for grant provided they belong to one of the recognised institutions: normally Registered Architects (members of the RIBA/RIAI/RSUA) or Chartered Surveyors (members of the RICS) with an appropriate level of specialist conservation experience.
Full professional fees for architectural services are only eligible if the professional adviser inspects the work in progress and is responsible for its certification on completion.

Archaeological work
The cost of archaeological work in accordance with relevant national and local planning policies is eligible, in the following cases:

• Recording and analysing historic buildings of early origin or complex evolution as a basis for devising repair or conversion works, and monitoring during those works.
• Archaeological assessment, evaluation, excavation and monitoring in connection with alteration, extension or new build projects.
• Publication of the results, if necessitated by works, which are themselves, eligible within the scheme.

Value Added Tax
VAT may be payable on eligible repair costs and fees, where VAT cannot be recovered, it is considered eligible for grant.
Guidance on VAT and listed buildings is contained in VAT Notice 708 Buildings and Construction (August 1997) available from the local VAT office.