Don't Go it Alone with Listed Buildings

A common misconception with listed buildings is that you really can’t do much to them. There are plenty of improvements and adaptions you can make to listed buildings if you do it in the right way and have the correct permission. For people new to renovating listed buildings, it’s really important to not try to go it alone. There is plenty of expert advice available so you can avoid the potential issues and confusion around dealing with these kinds of buildings.

Getting Permission

Carrying out work on a listed building without the permission of a Conservation Officer is actually a criminal offence. One of the reasons it’s a good idea to work with experts in this area is that it’s not always obvious what work requires permission and what doesn’t. Obviously, any major structural work or anything that changes the appearance of the outside of the property, especially in conservation areas, will require permission or may not be allowed at all. Original features such as sash windows and fireplaces are likely to have to stay the same and some features which have been altered in the past may need to be changed back to how they would have originally looked. Major work will often require planning permission too. If you have any doubt about whether work you are planning will require consent from a Conservation Officer, ask them or get in touch with English Heritage for advice.

Using the Right Materials and Methods

Historic buildings need to be renovated using historic materials and techniques. Not only does mixing modern with traditional building materials go against conservation regulations, they can also cause problems in the future. Some buildings have very strict rules about what materials and methods you can or can’t use to renovate them especially in conservation areas even as far as what colour paint to use. An example of this are the buildings in Brunswick Square, Hove, which have very strict maintenance regulations which even specify the exact shade of paint to use on the facades and metalwork. These kinds of restrictions usually come up when you’re buying a listed property but you can check with your local council if you are unsure.

Haunted by Past Mistakes

Something else worth checking when you are buying a listed property or planning to carry out any work is that previous owners haven’t carried out any work without the necessary permission. Sadly, if they have, it will be down to you to put this right even if you had nothing to do with the original work which broke the rules. This could mean that as well as undertaking the work you want to do, you also have to change what a previous owner has done.

Because the regulations around listed buildings can be so different from building to building and even incorporate things like garden features, fireplaces, brickwork and the colour of the external paintwork, it can be difficult to know what you do or don’t need permission for and what you can and can’t do. That’s why, when you work with someone like Marc to help manage your project, he can seek advice from all the relevant specialists on your behalf to take all the hassle and worry away from you. To talk to Marc about doing work on a listed building, please call 01273 281624 or email