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What Does It Mean if a Building Is Listed?

15th June 2021

listed building


A listed building is ‘a building of special architectural or historic interest’, the listed status can cover a whole building, the interior, any attached structures, or later extensions. It’s often the age and uniqueness of the building that determines its listed status. Below we answer some of your frequently asked questions in regards to listed building status, obtaining consent and what is required when completing repairs. 


Why are there listed buildings?

These protections are put in place to ensure we look after our national heritage and protect buildings for future generations.


How do I find out if a building has a listed status?

You will need to check with the local planning authority, who will be able to advise what exactly is covered by the listed status of the building.


Which type of buildings are listed?

The most likely reason why a building is listed will be due to its age. All buildings built pre-1700 which remain in their original condition are listed, as well as most buildings between 1700-1850. Buildings built between 1840 and 1945 and that are of definite quality and character, including those by renowned architects, will also be considered for listing status. There is also  a selection method for buildings after 1945, and this could be because of their technological advances, notable features or maybe the work of a particular architect. Buildings less than 30 years old are normally only listed if they are both ‘of outstanding quality and under threat’ as they haven’t yet stood the test of time


What are the categories for Listed Buildings?

Grade 1 – Buildings of exceptional interest; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade 1

Grade II* – Buildings are particularly important, being of more than special interest; 5.5%  of listed buildings.

Grade II – Buildings of special architectural or historic interest; 92% of listed buildings.

You will need special permission to make any changes.


What you will need to consider when purchasing a listed property?

There will be restrictions over what you are allowed to do to a building, you still may be able to change a building but you must apply for consent. Within planning guidance listed buildings can be changed, extended, and even demolished but consent has to be gained first. The process for applying for consent is free and available online.

In addition, you need to consider the fact that repairs will most likely cost more, you may have to hire specialists to complete the work. Some buildings may have unique features that require special trades skills to work on them, so hiring specialist tradesmen can be more expensive.

However, you may also be able to apply for a grant for repairs and any maintenance works.

Another item to consider if you are purchasing a listed building is that you may require specialist home insurance. Insurance may need to cover a rebuild and not just market value, due to its listed status, specialist building materials may be required which are more expensive.

Can any works be done to a listed building without consent?

Consent must be obtained in order to make any changes to the building which may affect its special interest. If you maintain the property using like-for-like materials and using specialist trades to complete the work to the specialist standard required then you may not need to get consent. This means work that you complete must be the same in respect of replacement material, colour, texture and detail.

It is important to remember that even items such as wallpaper and bathroom fittings can be listed. Unless items are specifically excluded from the list description the listing will cover the whole building including the interior.

It is a criminal offense to carry out and complete work which needs listed building consent.


Seraph Property Management are specialists in the management of Grade II listed buildings and manage several listed buildings in relation to block management. If you would like to speak to us about your listed building please feel free to contact us.