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This blog aims to highlight the common issues relating to Listed buildings, both residential and commercial, and what clients need to consider when taking on a Listed building.
What is classed as a Listed Building?
When a building is designated as being Listed, it is marked as having special architectural and historic interest. There are three levels of listing in England and Wales: Grade I, Grade II and Grade II*. Grade I buildings are of ‘exceptional interest’, Grade II* buildings are particularly ‘important buildings of more than special interest’ and Grade II buildings are of ‘special interest’. The different grading levels each have a different set of restrictions around what works or alterations are permitted.
In the majority of cases, the classification of Listing protects the entire building, both internally and externally. The Listed status may also apply to the curtilage (e.g. outbuildings and even gardens).
The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) contains details of all Listed buildings in England.
What issues arise around Listed Buildings?
Altering a Listed building in a way that affects its character is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
If you plan to purchase a Listed building, it is therefore essential to have a detailed Building Survey Report undertaken by a Chartered Surveyor who has experience of dealing with Listed buildings. A Building Survey Report will highlight any repairs and maintenance works required to return the property to a good condition. A Chartered Surveyor experienced in the area of Listed Buildings will be able to advise from the outset what works may or may not be allowed, giving you an idea of what is possible with the building and what issues may arise along the way. At the pre-purchase stage, it is also essential to do your research as to any previous applications made for alterations to the property, as it can be possible to inherit the liability for alterations made without Listed Building Consent from a previous owner.
If you have purchased a Listed Building, it’s vital to understand the grading that applies to the property and the corresponding restrictions that are in place. Even internal works may require Listed Building Consent, depending on the grading the property. The process of obtaining Listed Building Consent can be lengthy; involving preparation of drawings and communicating with the Local Authority’s Conservation Officer. Applications can sometimes require a Heritage Consultant’s report and may need to be re-submitted more than once before permission is granted.
Any works that are approved on a Listed building are likely to come with a list of conditions around the materials that can be used and what the final appearance should be. Any work is likely to need to be undertaken by a specialist contractor, with experience in Heritage works. It is worth noting that you are likely to pay a premium for such contractors. This is in addition to the outlay for specialist materials, which again, is likely to be costly.
Contact our Chartered Surveyors for Listed Building Advice
Lea Hough’s Chartered Surveyors are able to offer a wide range of advice in relation to Listed buildings. Our Surveyors can specify and tender repair and renovation works, involving the drafting of drawings, preparation of a detailed specification, and selecting suitable contractors. Thereafter, we are also able to project manage the works through to completion.
Contact us here.
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