Bats and Buildings

Abandoned housePhoto: old and abandoned houses have high potential for bat roosts, similar to structures that can be found alongside our waterways (photo by: Anne Burgess via Wikimedia Commons)


All UK bat have been known to roost in buildings, although some a more common sight than others. The most commonly found bats in buildings are the Pipistrelle bats (common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle and the rarer Nathusius pipistrelle) and Brown long-eared bats.  The different species of bat tend to prefer differing conditions which varying roosts can offer. Cetain features offer will contrasting conditions for bats to roost in.

Potential roosts in buildings

Bat roosts can be found in and around buildings, wherever there is a gap there is a potential for a bat roost. Areas most commonly used outside are under weather boards or hanging tiles, inside cavity walls, in gaps behind cladding tiles, between window frame and wall brickwork, between under felt and boards or tiles or above soffits and behind fascia and barge boarding. Inside they can be found along ridge beams, around the gable end or on the chimney breast.

What should I do if I am planning on undertaking building work?

There are certain measures that can be followed to avoid damage or disturbance to potential bat roosts, when planning building work. They are as follows:

  • Be aware that there is a possibility of finding a bat roost during an inspection
  • Identify and note signs of bat roosts (primarily droppings) or potential roosts in work schedules
  • Ensure relevant information  is passed on to the appropriate SNCO or local bat group, as well as to those who will be conducting the work

What if I have bats roosting in a building with work due to be undertaken?

If your building does have a bat roost within it and work is likely to affect bats or roosts, alert the appropriate SNCO or governmental body to any work that could cause damage to an existing or potential roost and they will be able to offer advice. Work that will affect other buildings, structures or trees then a Habitats Regulation License (HBR) must be applied for. A Survey for bats will also need to be undertaken by a bat specialist, who will apply for the HBR and provide options for mitigation such as:

  • Carefully timed work, with regards to breeding or hibernating bats
  • Ensuring roosts remain in tact wherever possible
  • Creating new roost sites, where roosts are to be lost. With Bat Bricks or boxes being potentially incorporated onto the bridge
  • Advise whether work may continue based on the potential risks to the roost

Reporting Protected Species

You should record the presence of protected species on a national database. This can done by contacting the local Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO).  Alternatively you can record online at the National Biodiversity Network. You should also alert the appropriate land owner, council and or management body to the presence and location of this species.

If you encounter or believe that there are bats present on a site where work is being conducted contact the Bat Conservation Trust or your Local Bat Group for advice and guidance on what should be the next steps you take.