Owning and Managing a Listed Building is considered by English Heritage and the Government to be a building of special architectural or historic interest, and worthy of protection. Houses are the most common buildings to be ‘listed’ but listed buildings range from major structures, walls, to individual boundary stones or lamp-posts.
Inclusion on the statutory list protects the exterior and interior of buildings from all types of inappropriate and unsympathetic alteration, under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Buildings are listed to ensure that their “special interest” is passed down to future generations in good condition. The longterm interests of a historic building are best served by keeping it in use, and listing protects buildings while allowing appropriate positive change to occur.
The Government decides which buildings are included on the statutory lists, based on recommendations by English Heritage. Anyone can suggest buildings to English Heritage, using a simple form available on their website, but a building will only be included on the list if it is judged to be of special interest after being visited and assessed by an English Heritage inspector. You can visit www.englishheritage.org.uk for more information. If a historic building that may be worthy of listing is under threat, the local authority can serve a ‘building preservation notice’ on the owner and occupier. This ‘lists’ and protects a building for six months pending a decision by the Government as to whether it should be added to the statutory list.
It is a criminal offence to carry out work to a listed building, other than minor like-for-like repairs, without first obtaining Listed Building Consent, and it could lead upon conviction to a period of imprisonment and a very heavy fine.
What grade is it?
There are around 374,000 listed buildings in England. Buildings are classified into grades to indicate their relative significance:
Grade I (one) Buildings of exceptional interest – about 2.5% of all list entries (note: this can include whole terraces as just one entry) in England.
Grade II* (two star) Particularly important buildings of more than special interest – about 5.5% of all list entries in England.
Grade II (two) Buildings of special interest which warrant every effort being made to preserve them – the remaining 92. Each grade is equally protected under the planning system, the main difference is that English Heritage must be consulted on applications for works to buildings of grade I and II*
What alterations need consent?
Listed Building Consent is required for any alteration which materially affects the ‘special interest’ of a listed building. For example, consent would normally be needed for any of the following alterations:
• Adding an extension or rebuilding walls in different materials.
• Changing the roof pitch or roof covering materials.
• Inserting roof lights, removing, altering or adding dormer windows, adding solar panels or other microgeneration equipment.
• Altering or removing chimney stacks and pots.
• Covering existing wall surfaces e.g. with render, cladding or paint.
• Changing the size of door, window or other openings.
• Altering window frames or doors, replacement with different types, including replacement of singleglazing with double-glazing.
• Removing historic features e.g. door cases, chimney breasts.
• Forming new openings for any reason, including boiler flues.
• Changing the material of any rainwater goods.
• Adding any feature including porches, signs, satellite dishes,
security alarm boxes, CCTV cameras or external floodlights.
• Inserting cavity wall insulation.
• Works to boundary walls.
• Works to buildings in the grounds that were present in 1948 and at the time of listing.
• Altering the plan by removing or adding walls or forming new openings.
• Taking out or altering original features including staircases, fireplaces, decorative plasterwork, panelling, shutters, doors, architraves and skirting boards.
• Installing new ceilings, partitions, doors and secondary glazing.
• Filling in cellars, or digging out cellars to increase usable floor space.
• Removing or replacing floors or floor finishes.
• The obliteration of wall paintings, decorative tiles and mosaics.
• Installing new ducting, waste pipes and openings associated with new bathrooms.
• Inserting damp proof courses or tanking systems. Some works that require Listed Building Consent may also require Planning Permission or Building Regulations approval. You should check with the council before you apply for consent.
Listed Building Maintenance
If you own a listed building you should keep it in reasonable repair. The most important element of caring for historic buildings is maintenance, which if undertaken regularly can avoid the need for repair or restoration work altogether, saving you money and time, and sustaining the historic fabric of the building into the future. By establishing the nature, extent and cause of any problems at an early
stage by carrying out regular inspections, owners will have the opportunity of remedying defects promptly and economically.
Damp problems, in particular, can often be remedied quickly and without using expensive and invasive damp proofing methods. Damp is usually the result of water getting into a building, for example through a leaking or blocked gutter. If the water source is removed and the building left to dry out naturally, the problem will normally be resolved. The inspection of a large house or similar sized building may well be within the capability of the average owner but if historic buildings are of particular importance or complexity, it may be necessary to employ experts from different specialisms to design appropriate repairs.
IPM have experience in managing a range of listed buildings and objects from a listed mill, a clock tower, a chess board and many other listed properties within their portfolio. If you would like to discuss your listed building and are looking for an expert in managing this type of property or development, please get in touch with a member of our team.