Listed buildings are a window to the past, full of character and history.
Owning one is a real privilege and comes with a commitment to maintaining it as close to how it was originally as possible. Someone who owns a listed building is a custodian of history and heritage, a guardian of its past and investor in its future. And when it comes to renovation and repair there some important things to remember…
1. Seek expert advice
Consulting experts at the start of any project you are undertaking can save a lot of time as they will know rules and regulations that may have slipped through your own research. We don’t want to put you off listed buildings by thinking you’ll never be able to change anything, but work does require permission as it is important to maintain its historic value. Put your mind at rest from the start and chat with an expert. Lay out your plans and get their thoughts on what you want to achieve and therefore what approval you’ll need. This can save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.
2. Check you have the right insurance
If you are spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds doing up your listed building then you will need the right insurance in place to protect it from the off. There are lots of insurance companies who specialise in listed building insurance and you can compare quotes online too. A good place to start is here.
3. Use the proper materials
Again, experts will be able to help you with this if you are unsure on wood, plaster, flooring or pipe work. For example, obviously a massive no no is to replace a wooden sash window with a totally different UPVC modern double glazed one. But replacing a wooden sash with an identical wooden sash can usually be done without permission. If in doubt consult someone in the know before you start and they will be able to advise.
4. Research maintenance
You will already know the history of your building, but you may need to brush up and the dos and don’ts of continuing work to preserve it for years to come. Historic England produces an excellent free guide entitled Listed Property Owners’ Guide which contains useful information about permissions needed and much more. Find out more here.
5. Be aware of financial cost
As a general rule it takes longer to carry out work on a listed building than a modern home due to the intricacies of materials and keeping to original features. Get quotes from tradesmen who specialise in listed building work or you may want to learn some of the basics yourself. Go to spab.org.uk for a list of courses.
If you are not confident managing the work yourself, then it will really benefit the project if you pay to have someone do it for you. Handing the reins to a project manager may cost you more in the short term, however the quality of the build and your experience can increase considerably. Having a project manager work with you in this venture can save time on costly mistakes, and equally take away the stress of carrying the project on your shoulders alone.
Have a project in mind? Call us now on 01473 735317 or contact us.