Nothing quite compares to owning a piece of history — breathing new life into rooms shaped by the centuries, and taking pride in a truly unique space unlike anything built today.
Unfortunately, the process of restoring, updating, and applying for new work to be completed on a listed building is much more complicated than it is for other sites. It is actually a criminal offence to undertake any alterations on a listed building without the proper consent. Your local Conservation Officer will need to be consulted before any builders are brought in, and certain restrictions may require a little extra time and attention to meet.
Read more about undertaking restoration work within a listed building below.
Know the History
Unapproved work on listed buildings can land the owner in a great deal of hot water, and lead to devastating fines. Even if the work was carried out long before you purchased the property, you are liable for all offences.
Similarly, make sure you are compiling all relevant paperwork as you go, in order to keep a thorough history of the renovations made.
Find a Specialist Insurance Provider
As a rule of thumb, listed buildings incur higher insurance premiums, and finding insurance that caters to the specifics of your property can be more complicated than it is for non-listed sites.
There are plenty of specialist building insurance providers out there, although you may find some standard providers will offer their own listed building insurance.
Never Use Cement
In the years before cement came into popular use, lime mortar was a common building material. It is much more breathable than cement, which keeps moisture from building up within the framework and causing significant structural damage. Opting for cement over traditional lime mortar will likely cause costly — or, worse still, irreparable — damage to the building.
Don’t Forget the Garden
In some old buildings, features in the garden such as trees and walls contribute towards their listed status. As with alterations to the interior and exterior of the building itself, never undertake any invasive work before you are certain that you will not be liable for unapproved work.
Speak with a Solicitor
There are many laws pertaining to the proper restoration of listed buildings within the UK, and carrying out work that has not been expressly permitted by your local Conservation Officer can result in you being taken to court, and having to make costly alterations to the illegal work you have already completed.
Remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules surrounding the restoration of listed buildings, and the stipulations put forth by one Conservation Officer could differ greatly from those of another. For this reason, it is strongly advisable that you work with a solicitor whose practice is local to your area, as they will likely have past experience in dealing with the particulars of conservation put forth by your local council.
If you are restoring a listed building in Gloucestershire, for example, look up solicitors in Cheltenham to ensure you are receiving the best guidance for your situation.