Considerations before buying a Listed Property

5/04/18

Buying a house can be stressful at times, but what if your dream home purchase came with the huge responsibility of owning part of British history? For nearly half a million homeowners in the UK this is the case if they own a Listed Building. This means that their property is of national importance in terms of architectural or historical interest. Whether it is a city town house, a country estate or a five star hotel in London in which Piperhill Construction continue to provide our services to The Maybourne Group in all of their three London hotels: The Connaught, Claridges and The Berkeley Hotel; owning these types of properties can be satisfying and rewarding. Predominantly, listed homes are lovely on the eye and full of character and history. This is what attracts buyers in the first place. However, there can be slight downsides to owning a Listed Building. Below are some key points to consider before buying.

Altering Listed buildings can be very difficult. If you are thinking of making any changes after you purchase the property then make sure you consult a highly experienced architect to handle it delicately and who is used to dealing with listed buildings. They will therefore hopefully have a good relationship with the Conservation Officer within the council.

The law requires that Listed Building Consent be granted by the Local Planning Authority in conjunction with English Heritage for any proposed alteration which affects the look and character of the building. This requires extensive planning for listed buildings.

Remember it is usually easier to make additions to listed houses than to demolish or change anything existing. So if you want to add an extension or indoor pool which doesn’t alter the main property it is likely to be easier than removing an original feature, however small, even if it’s a fireplace or internal wall. If a feature is specifically mentioned in the official Listing document you haven’t got much of a chance in changing it so check this very carefully.

Grade I and II* are the higher grades which represent only the top 7% of listed buildings. Most buildings are listed Grade II. The main difference is that if you apply for listed building consent to make alterations, greater weight will be given to preserving the architectural and historic significance of the more highly graded buildings.  English Heritage will also be consulted on these applications. It is worth bearing in mind that all buildings are listed with a view to preserving their character, whatever the grade.

Check what (if any) works carried out by the previous or current owners have been done correctly and with the appropriate Listed Building Consent. If the property does not correspond with the plans on the consent then you may be responsible for reinstating any said works.

You need to be aware that there is no time limit when a local planning authority can require unauthorised changes to be reinstated. New owners can also be required to remedy alterations made by previous owners.

A listed building is completely protected, inside and outside. Statutory protection extends to the building itself, anything attached to the building and any building within the curtilage of the building.

If any unauthorised changes made by any previous owners are to be discovered, very few insurance companies will cover this for you. It is important to have suitable cover in place when purchasing the property.

You must be prepared for larger than normal insurance premiums if the property on Listed. When insuring a listed home, look out for all the small print. With any insurance quotes you get, Make sure you read the policy and check exactly what you will be insured for. Check that the provider will cover the full cost of a rebuild to the conservation officer’s standards should the situation arise.

Piperhill construction has a vast amount of experience in carrying out all variations of work to grade I and II listed properties and hotels. We adapt our current construction working practises to suit the needs of each individual project, whether it is sensitive areas within listed properties, live working environments or restricted sites. Our team ensure that the impact on the construction stage is delivered with a high level of quality and customer focus that is authentic, visible, accessible and value driven.

We pride ourselves in being qualified and experienced to undertake all aspects of work; from new build,  listed building restorationbasement construction, refurbishment and luxury interior fit out, through to fully integrated services and first class designer finishes. Whether working within design and build or traditional contracts, our unfailing aim is to satisfy all of our clients and their consultants requirements and to produce the highest quality finished project.

Please contact us on 0208 166 5607 if you wish to discuss a project.