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Principles of Renovating a Listed Building

Whenever you are in the process of looking to purchase a new property, or to renovate a property you already own, it is important to have a full and comprehensive understanding of the planning regulations and rules surrounding that specific property. Where you do have to be extra careful is with the renovation of a listed building, as there are many different rules and regulations to adhere to. When working with an architect on a renovation project they will have the expertise and knowledge to assist you in making the right choices and going through the correct planning procedures should your property be a listed building of some form.

There are several reasons why a building or structure is awarded a listed status. This usually includes looking at the age of the property, the architecture itself and whether the design factor is now a rarity in the modern age, the method used within the construction, and sometimes whether the building has played an important cultural or historical role in some way (for instance it could be the birthplace or home of a significant event or person from history).

There are around 500,000 listed buildings in England and Wales, and within that there is also different grades with different levels of restrictions and responsibilities. Let’s take a look at how each grade is broken down:

Grade I Listed Buildings – 2 per cent of all listed buildings in England and Wales count as a Grade I structure. Every single building that falls in this category has been awarded the status due to exceptional interest. Any alterations or renovations on a Grade I listed building cannot go ahead without consultation and prior permission from Historic England.

Grade II* Listed Buildings – 4 per cent of all listed buildings in England and Wales fall into the category of Grade II* status. They include buildings and structures of historical importance. In these instances renovation can only be undertaken with the permission of the local authority, though in some cases Historic England can be involved if necessary.

Grade II Listed Buildings – 94 per cent of all listed buildings in England and Wales fall into this category. They are included due to special interest and renovation work can be undertaken through permission from the local authority. It must be ensured that the alterations maintain the integrity of the original structure, architecture and/or methods and materials used.

The older a building is the more likely it is to have a listed status. Nearly all buildings in the country that are near enough intact in original form and built between 1700 and 1840 are listed, with a high number of structures between 1840 and 1945 also listed but harder to prove as listed.

It is a criminal offence to alter a listed building in anyway without the right set of permissions, and the liability for this passes from owner to owner. Understand these stipulations and be prepared with an architect that understands how to work precisely and effectively on renovation projects involving listed buildings.

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