Can You Renovate A Grade II Listed Building?

Wednesday 13th January 2021

Sophie Rioch

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Country house and surrounding grounds

If you have fallen in love with a property that is referred to as a Grade II listed building, you will likely face a few tough dilemmas. Buying a listed building is a huge responsibility; you automatically take on the additional responsibility of preservation, in accordance with strict rules. Is it worth it or should you pass on the opportunity? 

Becoming a homeowner of a historic building is a huge responsibility to take on. There’s no doubt that a certain privilege accompanies being named the owner of a Grade II listed building, however, you should weigh up the social benefit against the time and money required to uphold the property. Whilst it may be a dream of yours to renovate such a property, be warned that there are stringent rules on general maintenance and renovation which may interfere with your plans.

Before buying a listed property, make sure to conduct your own research on the topic. It may also be a good idea to organise a meeting with industry experts regarding expected home insurance. As can be assumed, home insurance for a Grade II listed building is not as straightforward as if you were to choose a regular house. In some cases, the number of policies may restrict you from being granted the predicted insurance agreement. 

As a rule, it is always sensible to seek expert advice regarding the long-term financial impact of the property. It is also advisable to delve into the historic interest of the property to provide an insight of the wider significance of the building. 

What is a Grade II listed building?

In the UK, a Grade 2 listed building is defined as a structure that is of particular historical interest. Examples may include a building constructed as part of a historical movement or a building which once hosted royalty. Due to the delicate nature of Grade II buildings, each respected owner is expected to preserve the building’s visual aesthetic and structural integrity at all costs.

Interesting Fact - Historic England states that the majority of Grade 2 listed buildings date back as far as the early 17th century, many prior to the year 1840. Due to access to less resources than in modern days, most buildings were constructed of materials such as brick, slate, wood and timber with lime mortar

Do you need consent to renovate a Grade II listed building?

The short answer is yes; you will need consent to renovate. The need for approval of renovations within your own property may seem odd, however, these laws aim to preserve the building’s history and national heritage. To gain permission, you will be required to get in contact with your local council, providing a detailed description with precise notes on what you plan to change, add or remove.

Good to know - 91.7% of building are listed as Grade 2. Most common surveyors will not be qualified to conduct a listed building survey and so a specialist must be contacted

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If you are found to have renovated a Grade II building without written consent from your local conservation officer, you could end up with severe financial penalties. Depending on the type and amount of renovation completed, you could even end up in prison. Defying local authorities gives local government contractors permission to enter your property and make note of the damage caused. From this, the cost of repair will be determined, which will come out of your pocket.

Types of renovation which require consent

While there are a number of laws surrounding renovating a Grade II listed building, the majority of these are unextreme. Don’t worry; you’ll still be allowed to carry out general repairs to the building’s interior and exterior, such as fixing broken windows or replacing missing roof tiles. The building’s age and the variety of materials used to construct the building may mean it is more susceptible to general wear and tear than regular houses. 

Below we have outlined a list of repairs which do not require consent from local authorities: 

  • Minor repairs to windows
  • Small paint jobs (interior and exterior) 
  • Kitchen fittings
  • Garden trimmings 

While consent is not required to make these changes, if for any reason you cause accidental damage to the property, you will be held liable. 

Even the most minor adjustments must comply with the rules. Here we have listed some examples of renovations which require consent from your local authority:

Window regulations

You should not remove any kind of historical glass from a Grade II listed property, such as sash windows. Believe it or not, it is a criminal offence to redesign parts of the property without formal written consent from the local council. 

Repairs 

Small repairs, however, can be made without consent from higher authorities. Of course, this is assuming the alterations will not significantly change the visual appearance of the property, in which case you will most likely require written permission before beginning any work.

Internal alterations 

While the local authorities will not be able to see any internal changes initially, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can get away with removing walls, adding fireplaces or installing double glazing. Your floor plan will say it all. If caught, you will incur significant penalties.

Renovations & extensions 

While we all love to put our spin on a property, you will need written consent from the authorities before completing an extension. The local authorities will likely be heavily involved and new projects will require a large amount of patience, time and care when applying for planning permission. 

Seek the right professionals

If you’re not sure where to start, it’s a good idea to book an appointment to speak with a member of your local authority. Put your mind at ease by bringing industry experts on board.

Once you’ve spoken to the relevant parties and decisions have been made regarding your projected work, get in touch with us today to hear about the services we provide. In many cases, professional cleaning services may prove favourable over a renovation. With the help of a professional cleaning company, your building can be brought back to life for just a fraction of the cost and no further damage. Here at ICE Cleaning, we provide a full range of cleaning services for domestic and commercial clients, from facade cleaning to brick and stone cleaning. Our brick and stone cleaning services use non-abrasive methods to tackle difficult substances, all without causing damage to your site.

We can be on site within just 60 minutes to complete a full assessment of your property. Give us a call on 0208 066 0360 to receive a free no-obligation quote from a member of our friendly customer support team.

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