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Buying and living in a listed building can be extremely rewarding. However, it’s important to bear in mind that listed buildings do differ from modern ones, so before you buy, we recommend you think about the additional considerations this might involve. This is why we have designed for potential purchasers of listed buildings: The Listed Building Review
In addition to the research you would normally do when buying a property, The Listed Building Review will help you think about the following points.
• Is it listed or in a conservation area?
• Are any associated trees or curtilage structures listed?
These can be answered by undertaking The Listed Building Review. Advance knowledge of extra planning regulation can help to avoid delays when planning any work.
If you are buying a property and want to make alterations, carrying out The Listed Building Review will also benefit you as it will help you make possible your ambitious plans.
The Listed Building Review will assess
• What materials is the property built from?
• What condition is it in?
The Listed Building Review will provide information on the building’s materials, its general condition and any causes for concern. This information will be invaluable when maintaining or working on your building in future.
Carrying out The Listed Building Review will help you avoid the pitfalls that working with heritage.
As well as estate agents, specialist organisations such as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) or the Listed Property Owners Club can offer information on historic and/or listed buildings for sale.
SPAB has also produced very useful guidance for those thinking about buying an older property called ‘Look Before You Leap’.
Additionally, the annual Heritage at Risk initiative highlights problem buildings, some of which are likely to be for sale. Historic England enthusiastically support the rescue, repair and re-use of historic buildings currently at risk or vulnerable to neglect and decay.
A building is listed when it is of special architectural or historic interest considered to be of national importance and therefore worth protecting.
As the term implies, a listed building is actually added to a list: the National Heritage List for England. You can use this to discover whether your home is listed and if so, what grade it is.
You may also be able to find out what is particularly significant about the building. Some listing records are more detailed than others.
Listed buildings come in three categories of ‘significance’:
• Grade I for buildings of the highest significance
• Grade II* and
• Grade II
Most listed building owners are likely to live in a Grade II building as these make up 92% of all listed buildings.
Listing means there will be extra control over what changes can be made to a building’s interior and exterior. Owners will need to apply for Listed Building Consent for most types of work that affect the ‘special architectural or historic interest’ of their home.
The Listed Building Review can help you understand how to go about applying for consent.
Listing covers a whole building, including the interior, unless parts of it are specifically excluded in the list description.
It can also cover:
• Other attached structures and fixtures
• Later extensions or additions
• Pre-1948 buildings on land attached to the building. (In the planning system, the term ‘curtilage’ is used to describe this attached land.)
Because all listed buildings are different and unique, what is actually covered by a listing can vary quite widely. The Listed Building Review can help you check this.
As the owner of a historic home you will be faced with the challenges of structural decay and desirable modernisations. You, the owner, have an important role to play in looking after the nation’s heritage. Keeping it well maintained is the best way to ensure the building survives in good condition. There are a number of simple steps, such as clearing gutters, stopping leaks or repairing windows that will help keep the building weatherproof and watertight.
Living in an older building is about using it in a way that meets your needs without compromising its historic character. Always try to make sure that you:
• Carry out regular maintenance: Small amounts of regular maintenance will keep your home in good condition. This is especially important for historic buildings
• Find out if any extra protection applies: Additional permission may be needed before you carry out any work if your building is listed or in a conservation area. The national heritage list for England will show you if your building is listed and if you carry out The Listed Building Review we can help you find out whether you are in a conservation area
• Understand It’s Importance: This can be anything from the materials used to the design, date or people who lived there previously. Knowing what is significant can guide planned works and inform your management of the building
• Respect its materials and craftsmanship: When planning work, use materials and techniques that are sympathetic to what is already there
More complex work or larger changes to your home will need specialist advice. We can advise you on what sort of proposal would be suitable for your building and what materials would be best to use.
Due to the traditional materials likely to be used in your home you will also need specialist advice if you are making your home more energy efficient.
We will provide you with advice on what approvals you might need for energy improvement work, particularly if the building is listed or within a conservation area.
It is important to remember that various types of work to older buildings may require consent. Where historic buildings are designated – for example, as listed buildings or scheduled monuments – then listed building or scheduled monument consent may be required.
It can be a criminal offence to carry out work to a designated historic building without consent when it is needed.
In addition to these consents, planning permission may also be required for work to historic buildings and those in conservation areas.
You are strongly advised you carry out The Listed Building Review if you are in any doubt about whether permission or consent is needed to implement an energy improvement measure, particularly if your building is designated or within a conservation area.
In deciding whether an energy improvement measure should get consent the local authority or other relevant authority will need to weigh up the need for the improvement against the impact of the measure.
They will prefer measures that are inconspicuous and do not alter the fabric of historic places.
You may also need to obtain consent under Building Regulations. These set standards for how buildings must be constructed to achieve a minimum level of acceptable performance. They typically cover health and safety, energy performance and accessibility requirements.
Building Regulations only apply to new building work, and there is no general requirement for all existing buildings to be upgraded to meet these standards.
However, certain changes can trigger the need to comply – for example, if parts of a building are to be substantially replaced or renovated, or if there’s a change of use. The requirements don’t apply to normal maintenance and repair work.
Part L is the section of the Regulations that deals with energy efficiency requirements.
We recommend you carry out The Listed Building Review to help identify where there may be conflicts between the energy efficiency requirements in the Regulations and the conservation of historic and traditionally constructed buildings.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when building, selling or renting a property. However, there are exemptions for certain types of building and since January 2013 listed buildings have been exempted from the need to have an EPC. (Please note, however, that if you want to take advantage of government grants and you live in a listed building you will still need an EPC as it forms the basis of the assessment.)
An EPC is produced by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor, who uses specialist software to turn data gathered on site into two ratings – one for energy efficiency and one for environmental impact. Each rating is on a scale of 1 to 100, banded into grades A to G, as illustrated above. The assessor also provides a list of potential energy efficiency improvements.
Being based on software modelling, EPCs may not always correspond precisely to actual performance. Recent research has shown that EPCs can significantly underestimate thermal performance in traditionally constructed buildings.
If this information was helpful be sure to fill in your details above to benefit from The Listed Building Review.