Taking account of bat roosts during the restoration and renovation of old buildings

Taking account of bat roosts during the restoration and renovation of old buildings
The Alpine area is characterised by a fauna rich in bat species. © IRKA

Involved sectors

Nature protection, Transport, Local population/citizens, Other: Church, Building authorities, Architects

Affected habitats

Areas for settlements and transport


Because of its near-natural state and landscape diversity, the Alpine area is characterised by a fauna rich in bat species. Many species of bat are heavily dependent on buildings for their roosts because natural hiding places have become rare in woodlands as a result of intensive forms of cultivation. During the restoration or renovation of old buildings, disturbances to the bats and their roosting places can therefore easily occur. Appropriate measures during the restoration or renovation of old buildings can help to preserve bat roosting places. There is already a wealth of experience among bat experts, who often provide support during the renovation of buildings. Targeted consideration of relevant information on the ecology of roosting places of various species of bat can thus make a major contribution to habitat connectivity.


Impact in particular on Small mammals
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Many species of bat (including several listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive) are dependent on old buildings for their roosts.
Element of ecological network The roosts, together with the hunting grounds, are important elements of an ecological network. The distance between exits and the nearest vegetation and potential hunting grounds must be considered.
Time of realisation for measure Months: With appropriate restoration measures, the roosts may be colonised by the bats within the first year.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Measures focus on individual buildings but the connectivity situation (e.g. proximity of hunting grounds) should be considered. A comprehensive strategy should also be in place, requiring support from bat experts during restoration work.


Implementation period Months: Relevant measures can be integrated into restoration work. The measures should be carried out while the bats are absent and should not lead to major changes to the characteristics of the roosts.
Frequency Non-recurring

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Low (1'000-10'000 EUR): Costs depend on starting conditions and the needs of the bat species concerned; compensation payments may be available in some cases.
Socio-economic impacts Low: Taking account of bats during the restoration of buildings may incur additional costs.
Sources of financing Private sponsor, Public: local, Public: regional, Public: European
Legal situation Restoration of bat roosts often requires permission under nature conservation legislation.

Further information

Evaluation Within the framework of the Interreg III B Project “Living Space Network”, comprehensive Guidelines for the Renovation of Buildings were produced, drawing on more than 230 case studies relating to the renovation of buildings, mainly from the Alpine area, and containing specific information for around 20 different bat species.
Information Other: Guidelines: http://www.lsn.tirol.gv.at/de/doc/leitfad_fledermaus.pdf ; Interreg Project: http://www.alpine-space.org/uploads/media/LSN_Handbook_for_Bats_Protection_DE.pdf , http://www.fledermausschutz.at/downloads/GuidelinesfortheRenovationofbuildings.pdf (en)
Contact Other: Dr Guido Reiter, Austrian Co-ordination Centre for Bat Conservation and Research (KFFÖ) Dr Andreas Zahn, Co-ordination Centre for Bat Conservation in South Bavaria
Good Practice Habitat connectivity for bats in the Alpine region
Mise en réseau des habitats de chauves-souris dans l’espace alpin
Messa in rete degli habitat dei pipistrelli nell’arco alpino

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