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  • Paul, Compliance Manager

Listed Building Renovation Guide

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Listed Building Renovation Guide

When it comes to a Listed building renovation it’s important to take into consideration what the renovation process will involve. If you are contemplating a listed building renovation then a little research can go a long way. To help make your project run smoother we’ve gathered some key information as well as answering some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to a listed building renovation.

Types of listed buildings A building gets listed by being added to the list of buildings or sites of “special architectural and historic interest” that is kept by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. They are advised on what to list by Historic England. There are three grades of listing, Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II. Since over 90% of listed buildings are Grade II, we’ll concentrate on them. All listings are different: the listing may cover just the building itself but may also cover attached structures or fittings, later additions or extensions or even pre 1948 buildings on land within the curtilage of the building, e.g. if a farmhouse was listed and the land within its curtilage was included in the listing, that would mean its garden was included: it wouldn’t include all the fields of the farm.

Is my property a listed building?

It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to find out whether their home is listed before carrying out any work on it, but it’s easy to check. The Historic England website has a “Search the List” page which includes a postcode search facility. Listed buildings can be anywhere, not just in conservation areas or other designations like ANOB or green belt. Can you renovate a listed building? The short answer is yes. If a building is listed, that covers the whole building, interior and exterior, so all renovation work should be checked for whether it needs Listed Building Consent.

When is listed building consent required?

Applications for both listed building consent and planning approval go to your local authority, although they are different. For some types of work, you may need listed building consent but not planning approval. If you have a project in mind, you’ll need to check carefully on what approvals you will need. It’s best to contact your local authority and connect with their conservation officer to discuss whether listed building consent will be required. Listed building renovation rules A normal requirement is that where old items are being replaced, they should be replaced like for like. For example, if a ceiling or interior wall made from lath and lime plaster needs replacing, it will normally need to be replaced in lath and lime plaster – and brickwork will need to be replaced using matching imperial size bricks and be laid in lime mortar.

There are listed buildings where this wouldn’t apply: pioneering design or the work of a famous architect can get listed – Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Edwin Lutyens buildings or art deco properties would be examples. They are all comfortably within the age of cement mortar. Exceptions to replacing like with like would include removal of asbestos – there would be likely to be a requirement to replace a removed asbestos item with something in keeping but there couldn’t be a requirement to retain asbestos. There would be no requirement to replace lead water pipes with lead. There is no requirement that lead water pipes should be removed either. Listed building renovation costs

A listed building renovation cost will of course vary on what work is required. With any listed building renovation you should expect a premium to reflect the required specific materials, traditional skills, the labour involved and the specialist expertise from a competent architect and experienced building contractor.

Listed building renovation grants There may be some good news to add to the unwelcome news of high costs, difficulty in sourcing period materials and period skills or even drying times of lime plaster and mortar.

Firstly, living in a building of such class that it appears in the national list of exceptional buildings is a benefit in itself, but also, there may possibly be grants available for repair and restoration. The money is allocated to the most urgent cases so it’s unlikely that a home refurbishment would receive a grant but if you’re the owner of an old architectural gem that’s in genuine urgent need of saving, it’s possible that you could get a grant for a substantial part of the cost. Again, the Historic England website is where to start your search.

As a listed building renovation specialist with over 30 years’ experience we are proud to work on these specialist properties. We have a wealth of traditional skills that we love to use and our respect for these charming buildings and their preservation is what drives what we do here at Saunders Brothers.

If there's anything you'd like to know about listed building renovations that's not covered here, please do contact one of our friendly team at or call 01844 273783 as we'll only be too happy to help.

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