RULES & REGULATIONS FOR LISTED BUILDINGS
It may seem odd to need permission to make alterations to your own home, but if you've fallen in love with a listed building, you will require consent before you can start a renovation project.
The rules and regulations for listed buildings are put in place as heritage protection to ensure the nation's important buildings - and your dream home - maintain their unique character. You must apply for consent through the local authority before any material changes can be made.
The scheme protects buildings of special historic architectural interest that are considered to be of national importance. If the local authority approves the renovation, the property owner must pay a listed building consent fee before going ahead, with the amount depending on the project's scale.
GRADE I OR GRADE II LISTED
As the term suggests, each listed building is added to a list, known as the National Heritage List for England. Anyone who has bought a property can check the list to discover whether it is Grade I or Grade II listed. It may also be possible to find out the particular significance of the building, as some records contain more details than others.
Grade I buildings are of the highest significance, so if you've bought a listed property, it's likely to be Grade II, as this category makes up 92% of all the UK's listed buildings.
As the property's owner, you will be subject to controls over what changes you can make to its interior and exterior. You must get listed building consent for just about every type of work that affects the "special architectural or historic interest" of the property. The status covers the inside and the outside of the whole building unless parts are specifically excluded.
The listing can also cover later additions or extensions, other attached structures and pre-1948 buildings sited on land attached to a listed building - known as "curtilage" in planning terms. Every listed building is unique, so what the status actually covers can differ widely. It is something you'll need to check with your own local planning authority.
Extensions added to the building prior to it gaining Listed Building status may be exempt from any restrictions placed upon the 'original' building but this is not always the case so it's better to check before any further work on these. Similarly changes made to a listed building such as the addition of double-glazing cannot be assumed to be automatically renewable 'like-for-like'. When the time comes to change the windows, it may be necessary to revert to a more 'historically-sensitive' specification. Again, always best to check first.
TIMBER WINDOWS & DOORS
Using the right materials is vital not only to the aesthetic appearance of the listed property but also to the durability of the windows. You should always use matching materials when repairing or renovating an older property so that it doesn't impact the special interest of your home.
Similarly, if your property has timber doors, they may also require renovating if the historic door is no longer capable of keeping the building secure, dry and damp-free. When this is the case, the householder may have to repair or replace it, after applying for the relevant listed consent.
Although it is recommended the homeowner retains as much of the historic fabric as possible, this may not always be possible, so a sensitive replacement is required. Historic England suggests taking photographs of the original doors before removing them to carry out as sensitive a repair as possible.
PORCHES & CONSERVATORIES
Should you wish to extend your listed property, the council will consider proposals for conservatories on some types of listed buildings, although this very much depends on the style of the property itself.
A modest cottage, for example, would not have had a conservatory in years gone by. However, timber porches may be better suited to this type of property and are more likely to be considered by the local planning authority.
Later Victorian buildings, especially larger ones, may have had conservatories, orangeries or greenhouses, with the design of any new extension crucial to ensure it works with the existing building. The materials and the way in which the extension is attached to the historic building are the key to extending the property, without losing its heritage and character.
Historic examples of conservatories were typically found on grand and large buildings and any renovations, so repairs or additions should be carried out using matching materials to ensure the features that make the property special remain the same.