The truth about listed buildings: how should you renovate them

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All in all, there are three types of listed building. The types comprise of Grade I, Grade II and Grade II*. All of these constructions are of historical importance. Grade I buildings are described as establishments of exceptional interest, Grade II* are perhaps even more important, whilst Grade II buildings are the most protected.

If your home is listed and you wish to make a few alterations, by law, you must request planning permission. If you don’t, you may be issued with a large fine or in the worst-case scenario, taken to court.

The majority of listed buildings are eligible for repair, however, constructing a modern monstrosity as an extension of an existing kitchen isn’t cohering to the regulations. The Sash Window Workshop recently created an infographic offering tips and guides on what you need to know about listed buildings. You can view it here.

In order to obtain planning permission, you must speak to your local planning authority. Documentation including images, measurements and concise diagrams must be completed prior to any work being put in place. In some scenarios, even minor work requires permission.

Once you have planning in place, you are only a small way there. There are a number of factors to consider prior to embarking on a renovation project. First of all, health and safety issues. The building must undergo a thorough examination to ensure it’s safe to enter. If floorboards are missing, walls have crumbled and roofing is very close to collapsing, it would be a danger to the workers taking part in this project. On entering such a building, safety equipment must be worn at all times.

Then there is the likes of asbestos to consider. Often older, vacant buildings boast hidden hazards and again, these must be assessed before work commences.

Once you are inside the building and have permission to begin work, the legal act doesn’t stop there. You may discover original features such as old fireplaces, doors and windows. All efforts must be made to preserve these items and if they are still in tact, quite simply ripping them out isn’t acceptable.

Damp is another problem you may encounter. Old broken windows and roofing tiles that have been left unattended for many years will have let an abundance of water into the building, thus causing damp damage. This can be a difficult and expensive problem to fix, yet one that must be solved immediately. Buying into new sash windows that resemble those of the original is often a rule when it comes to renovating a period property.

With so many hurdles to clear, it’s wise to invest in the help of a professional team, especially if you wish to eradicate these problems quickly and efficiently.

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