What You Need to Know About Listed Buildings

If you are thinking about buying a house with history behind it you might be wondering if that property has a listed status, and if it does, what does that mean for your purchase and plans for the property?

There are a number of different reasons that a building can be given listed status. Usually, this entails the age of the property in question, the rarity of the architecture, the method with which it was constructed, and occasionally a building has been given listed status due to the part it has played in the life of a famous person or as a location for a famous and important event in history. It is often found that model villages are often listed.

One way to determine whether a property is listed or not is to think about its age. The older that a building is, the higher the chances of it being given listed status. In fact, all buildings that have survived in anything near to its original condition, and have been built before 1700 and up to 1840 are likely to be listed. From 1840 up to the present day the criteria for a building to be listed becomes much tighter and harder to prove, with buildings from 1945 onwards requiring an exceptional set of circumstances to be included.

In England and Wales there are around 500,000 listed buildings. Within this large number of listed buildings there are also different grades that they come under.

Grade I Listed Buildings – Historic England must be consulted for any Grade I listed buildings alteration work and in some cases a grant can be given. All of the buildings within this section (2% of all listed buildings) are there due to exceptional interest.

Grade II* Listed Buildings –  This takes in 4% of all listed buildings and includes those of particular historical importance. If alteration work is required the local authority has to process an application, with the powers to involve Historic England if necessary.

Grade II Listed Buildings – The remaining 94% of listed buildings fall into this category and are included due to special interest. For any alteration works it is required that a conservation officer from the local authority is involved to ensure the integrity of the desired changes to the original structure and architecture.

A listed building does not just include the exterior of the building, but also the internal structures and the setting of the property. With that in mind and the repairs requiring confirmation from local authorities and/or Historic England, it is a criminal offence to alter a listed building, or its setting, without prior consent. This liability passes on from owner to owner.

It is important to understand these stipulations when working alongside traditional architects on a project involving a listed building. Always be thorough in your approach to listed buildings and find out exactly what you can and can’t do before commencing with a project.