Top Considerations When Buying a Listed Building

Listed buildings are split into three main classifications: Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II. Over 90% of Listed buildings in England are Grade II Listed, which categorises them as buildings or structures of special architectural or historic significance. Additional planning controls are in place to protect these buildings and Listed Building Consent must be obtained before any alterations to the interior or exterior of the building can be made.

Here our Chartered Surveyors look at some of the main considerations when buying a Listed building.

Know what you are buying

The nature of Listed buildings often means they are older, and therefore have a potentially greater need for repairs and ongoing maintenance. It is therefore highly recommended that a full Building Survey Report is undertaken by a Chartered Building Surveyor before you complete on the property purchase. This can identify any issues regarding the property’s condition – including any matters that require immediate work and those that will require attention down the line. This can help you to gain a full understanding of the amount of work that may be required and the costs that will be involved.

Understand the restrictions

Whilst most properties you buy come with permitted development rights, which allow you to extend a building within certain restrictions without the need for planning permission, Listed Buildings do not. Any alterations to the property’s size will require planning permission from the Local Authority’s Conservation Officer.  The process of obtaining Listed Building Consent can be lengthy; involving the preparation of drawings and sometimes a Heritage Consultant’s report.

Ongoing maintenance

In addition to any initial repairs when you first buy a Listed property, you will also need to consider ongoing maintenance.

Any works to be undertaken on a Listed building will need to comply with conditions around the materials that can be used and what the final appearance should be. It is likely that works will need to be undertaken by a specialist contractor that has experience dealing with Listed buildings. Such contractors often command a premium price. It is worth noting that the cost of specialist materials, which are likely to be required, is also generally higher than standard materials that can be used on modern homes.

Failure to comply is a crime

Local councils do take a proactive approach to conserving listed buildings, so it is important to follow the rules. It is a criminal offence to start building work on a listed building without having obtained the necessary permissions first. If any work you do undertake fails to meet the stringent inspection of the local Conservation Officer, you may be required to return the building to its original state at your own expense.

Contact Matthew Parkinson Surveyors

An experienced Chartered Surveyor can help you to understand the potential issues – and costs – that may be involved when buying a Listed property.

To speak to one of our Chartered Surveyors for initial advice, please get in touch.