Assetsure can quote for either your Grade1, 2 or Grade 2* listed building in England or Wales or Grades A B or C listed building in Scotland. We can offer cover either on a building only basis or coupled with your contents & personal belongings. One of our senior members of staff will deal with your request. If your listed building is used as a holiday or second home, please mention this at the time you request your quote. Please note at the present time, we are unable to quote for Grade 1 or Grade A listed buildings.
What is a Listed Building?
A listed building is acknowledged by the secretary of state and noted on a register (hence the term listed) as being of special interest and as such worthy of special protection. Legislation has been enacted to protect and preserve any building or structure on the list and the penalties for non compliance can be quite severe. A listed building is not always large, stately or in excellent condition, in fact other structure types such as schools, churches, walls, tombstones, milestones, barns, bridges, locks and even telephone boxes can be included on the list. Sometimes a property was occupied by a famous person and this in itself is enough of a reason for listed status. Listed buildings are considered to be part of our heritage and of national importance, often people or groups of people campaign to have a property listed and thus preserved for future generations.
History of Listed Buildings in the UK
The process of listing buildings or structures of importance first began in 1947, as a result of extensive damage caused by bombing during World War 2. It was decided at this time that a register was needed to preserve our heritage for future generations. Nowadays, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for compiling the list. There is not a definitive reason as to why one building or structure is chosen to be listed but usually, if they are of historical importance or perhaps “ a focal point “ of a community they will be considered..
Categories of Listed Buildings
Listed Buildings fall in to different categories and below are the listings for England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are slightly different:-
- Grade 1 – These buildings are considered to be an exceptional interest.
- Grade 2* – These Buildings are considered to be particularly important examples of special interest
- Grade 2 – These Buildings are consider to be of special Interest
At the present time approximately 2 % of buildings are Grade 1, 4% of buildings are Grade 2* and 94% are Grade 2 *** In Scotland & Northern Ireland, buildings are listed are Grade A, B, C.
Why are Buildings Listed?
Buildings become listed for the following important reasons:-
- Buildings are listed so that their particular qualities can be protected by legislation.
- The listing of a building brings to it’s owner a degree of responsibility for part of the nation’s heritage.
- Any works to a listed building including any form of demolition, alteration, extension, internally or externally which in anyway affect it’s special character will require listed building consent.
It is illegal to alter, extend or in any way change the character of a listed building without first obtaining the necessary listed building consent from the relevant local planning authority, as mentioned above, the penalties are severe, you may face a large fine or even imprisonment. In general terms, the older a building or structure is, the more likely it is to be listed, all buildings which are still standing in anything like their original condition that were built before 1700 are listed. Most buildings that were constructed between 1700 and 1840 are also listed. Between the years 1840 and 1914 the tendency is only to list properties of “character & quality” and only then if they are under threat. Any building constructed after this period has to be exceptional for it be be considered worthy of a listing.
The Listing Process
As the process of listing can be long and complicated, in the first instance you should check the local land charge register, to ascertain if the building is already listed or not. Your local authority should be able to help you with this If the building is not registered, then contact English Heritage who will consider your application. In considering your proposal, they will require you to come up with some basic information, including the following:-
- As much background information to the property as you can find.
- When was the property built.
- Who was the Builder.
- Who was the architect.
- Does the property have any historical links to famous people or events.
- Why you think the property should be listed.
- The name and contact details of the owner.
Other Useful Tips
Submitting a detailed application to English Heritage will help your chances of success Try including as much support from local groups and organizations. You could also;
- Draw attention to any recent threat to the Building – perhaps it has become empty or has falling in to disrepair.
- Photographs of the property will help.
- Include location details of the property with the aid of an ordnance survey map.
Listing Building Maintenance
To help protect our heritage, listed buildings or property in a conservation area need to have a sustained program of maintenance and any restoration work should only be carried out after consulting a specialist company. It is recommended that historic features are preserved by re using existing materials where ever possible. Maintenance is important to buildings of all ages and all shapes and sizes but with listed or historic buildings, it is an absolute necessity, owners of buildings in conservation areas can consider themselves environmentally responsible to make sure their building is kept in keeping with the local area.
Owners of listed buildings are often seen as wealthy persons who have money to spend on the up keep of their property, this is not always the case and often owners of listed buildings have normal occupations and do not possess a bottomless pit of money to spend on the up keep of their property. Often many jobs are undertaken by owners, but without proper preparation and planning, this can actually end up causing more damage. For most of us that have to work, maintenance can seem like a tiresome chore, often we do not have a great deal of time and at weekends we would much rather spend our time relaxing. However, property maintenance is not only necessary, it makes good economic sense, property prices in the UK are increasing all the time but if you want to sell your property, having it it good condition will certainly help to sell yours quicker than someone else’s.
The interior of historical listed buildings can be quite fragile and thus the utmost care is needed when entering roof spaces for example. Old electrical cables are also best left untouched, for one thing they could be dangerous and you may without realising it end up precipitating an electrical fire by disturbing wire that may have been in situ for many years. Similar care should always be taken with gas appliances and these should only ever be handled by a professional. Some key points are:-
- The first step to making sure your building is kept in good condition is to make an inspection of the property. If this hasn’t been done for a while, you may find that you have quite a lot of work that needs to be carried out. But remember once you’ve brought your building up to a certain standard, you will find it easier to keep it there.
- If your building is listed or in a conservation area, you may find that you will need consent before any work can be carried out.
- You may be buying a listed building for the first time and if you have a mortgage on the property, you will be presented with the mortgage companies valuation report. This document is likely to just give you a broad overview of the property and it’s suitability for a mortgage, if you want to discover the true condition of a building and how much of a money pit it’s likely to be, you will need to obtain a full structural survey. Have a word with your mortgage company, they made be able to up grade their report for a fee.
- Unless you property is large, you should be able to carry our an initial inspection yourself and the easiest of jobs such as unblocking gutters and drains can be carried out as you go along. For more difficult work you may need to contact a specialist company and seek their professional opinion.
- If you find problems as you continue with your inspection and do not know what to do next, stop and seek guidance from an independent and suitably qualified person. Not all builders are the same and if you are enquiring about repair work to a listed or historic building you will need a builder that understands traditional building techniques and has a reputation for work in this field.
- Obtaining an expert opinion is of paramount importance, any company with a reputation for working with listed buildings is likely to exceedingly honest and you are unlikely to be requested to purchase materials that are either over priced or unsuitable. Searching the Internet is a good starting point to locate a company as is talking to the many listed building clubs and societies.
The Right Advice – The right help
It can be a very difficult task locating the right professional to help with your listed building work; particularly if like me, you don’t know the first thing about building work. As mentioned above, many people feel up to the task of spotting what remedial work needs to be done to keep the fabric of their building in good condition, but may some want to employ a professional from day one.
A professional person should be able to produce for you a schedule of work that gives priority to the most urgent jobs and must be able to oversee all works that are to be carried out. If you are really stuck, you could approach a listed building club to ask for their advise or opinion or you could try the client advisory service of the Royal Institute of British Architects. if they are unable to help you, you may be able to obtain advise from your local council listing department. Working with listed buildings on a regular basis, they may be able to recommend a professional person to help you.
Before allowing a trade’s person to start work on your property, there are a couple of points to remember.
- Ask the person for examples of recent work, this may help you verify the standard of workmanship you can expect.
- Always, ask to see evidence of public liability insurance certificates. Certificates of public liability insurance are not common so expect to see a schedule of insurance which is in date and from an insurance company not a broker. Any bona fide trade’s person will not mind you asking for evidence of insurance.
- Always avoid companies’ that cold call at all costs, don’t forget, they will have a vested interest in finding faults in your building.
- “Cowboy” firms are more likely to offer to do work in return for cash.
- Try to use a builder that is registered with a federation.