Enhance your historic property

“Mary understood our needs and we have been able to rely upon her sound practical advice.”

Understanding your perspective: support when making multiple decisions

Multiple decisions are needed to make a property into a sustainable and liveable space that respects its heritage. The financial burden of maintaining and repairing needs to be balanced with alterations and repurposing, and this can be daunting. Challenges include taking account of the limitations imposed by historic preservation that you don’t want to hinder your living space.

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How we can help: supporting you through our problem-solving approach

We will guide you through the heritage requirements of the planning system, to respond to your needs. Drawing on decades of experience, firstly provide an expert assessment of your plans, identifying opportunities and risks.

Historic buildings conservation adds value to a home. We can deliver this in a cost-effective way that supports your planning application.

We achieve this using a proportionate-level of detail in your heritage statement or statements of significance, whichever is more appropriate for your listed building and structures in or near conservation areas.

Our support and promise to deliver: providing an all-inclusive service

Step 1 We consult with local authorities to find mutually agreeable solutions that align with your goals.

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Case studies of previous projects

Why choose us? Our customised approach

Through this customised approach, we mitigate risks, to assist you in managing heritage effectively. This problem-solving approach informs all of the relevant reports:

  • Historic building advice
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

More details about each of the following topics are available in our website blog.

1. I’m thinking of buying a listed building – what do I need to know?

Owning a listed building can be incredibly rewarding, but there are some extra things to think about compared to a modern home. Listed buildings often have unique architectural features and historical charm, but you may face restrictions on how you can alter or extend the property. It’s crucial to establish upfront whether the necessary permissions are likely to be granted. Listed buildings are subject to strict conservation guidelines, so you’ll need to thoroughly understand the constraints and requirements before proceeding. Some key questions to consider:

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2. How do I find out if my property is listed?

The most reliable way to check if your building is listed is to search the National Heritage Lists for England, Wales and Scotland. You can enter your property’s postcode, address or use the interactive map to see if it’s included. The list entry will give a brief description to help you identify the building and learn more about its age and construction.

3. How do locally listed buildings differ from nationally listed buildings?

Nationally Listed Buildings are those that are recognised as being of special architectural or historic interest at the national level. These are the buildings that appear on the National Heritage List for England and are subject to strict legal protections. In contrast, Locally Listed Buildings are those that are considered important to the character and distinctiveness of a particular local area, even if they don’t quite rise to the level of national significance.

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4. What parts of a listed building are protected?

When a building is listed, the protection covers not just the parts described in the list entry, but the entire building, any fixtures and fittings, and usually the buildings and structures within the grounds (known as the ‘curtilage’). The interior as well as the exterior are protected.

5. Who do you recommend to do repairs on Listed Buildings?

If you need help finding skilled craftsmen for your historic or listed building, I can provide you with contact details for trusted professionals I’ve worked with in the past. Alternatively, I can give you guidance on the specific qualifications and experience to look for when conducting your own search, so you can be confident the tradespeople you hire have the necessary expertise to work on your heritage property.

6. Do I need consent to replace the windows on my listed building?

Yes, you’ll normally need listed building consent to replace the windows. The windows are an important historic feature, so you should try to repair them where possible, using matching materials. Conservation authorities are unlikely to authorise replacement windows until you can prove that every effort has been made to repair them. If replacement is necessary, you’ll need to get approval for the new windows.

7. What about making internal changes to my listed building?

Replacing the windows on a listed building typically requires listed building consent because the historic layout and features are protected. Things like removing walls or changing the floor plan can require approval, to ensure you don’t compromise the building’s character.

8. What are the benefits of using traditional materials and methods?

Using traditional materials and methods when working on historic and listed buildings has several key benefits:

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9. How can I ensure the work on my heritage property is carried out correctly?

To ensure the work on your historic or listed building is carried out correctly, it’s important to:

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10. I want to install a new bathroom or kitchen – do I need consent?

Replacing modern fittings like kitchen units or bathroom units usually doesn’t need consent, unless they are historic fixtures. But if you’re making more significant changes like adding a new bathroom or reconfiguring the layout, you will need listed building consent. This helps ensure historic features are conserved and the building’s character is preserved.

11. Can I upgrade the heating or install air conditioning in my listed building?

You’ll likely need consent for new heating systems or air conditioning, as the changes can affect the building’s appearance. Replacement of existing boilers or central heating may not require consent, but any new pipework or cabling likely will because new runs or openings will require removal or alteration of any historic fabric.

12. How can I improve the energy efficiency of my listed building?

There are lots of sympathetic ways to make listed buildings more energy efficient, without compromising their historic character. The Oxford Heritage and Energy Efficiency Tool can help you assess the best improvements for your property. Just be sure to get any necessary consents before making changes.

13. I’d like to extend my listed building – how can I do this?

Extending a listed building requires careful consideration. Any new addition shouldn’t dominate the original building, so it’s usually best for it to be smaller and lower. The extension should complement the existing architecture, not compete with it. You’ll need both planning permission and listed building consent, so it’s wise to get pre-application advice first. I can advise you on what would be potentially acceptable, put you in touch with key professionals so you get additional and correct help, and help you with preparing and submitting an application for Listed Buildings Consent.

14. What about converting the loft in my listed building?

Converting the loft can be tricky, as the roof structure and spaces are often historically important. You’ll need to think about how the changes will impact the building’s character, both internally and externally. Listed building consent will be required, so get advice before making any firm plans.

15. Can I build a new structure in the garden of my listed building?

No, you won’t be able to simply add a new outbuilding or structure within the grounds of a listed building. Anything new will require planning permission, as there are no permitted development rights in these cases.

16. And can I alter or demolish an existing building in the garden?

Structures within the curtilage (grounds) of a listed building that pre-date 1948 are usually protected too. You’ll need listed building consent to make changes or remove these historical outbuildings and features.

17. Do I need permission to replace the roof on a listed building?

When it comes to listed buildings, re-roofing typically does require Listed Building Consent, even if you plan to reuse the existing roof tiles. This is because the process of removing and reinstalling the tiles often results in the replacement of approximately 25% of the tiles due to breakage. Since new tiles will be needed to complete the roof, this constitutes a material change that falls under the purview of listed building regulations. Obtaining the proper consent is essential to ensure the work is carried out in a manner that preserves the building’s historic character and architectural integrity. If new tiles are required, it is generally advisable to group them together on the less prominent elevations of the building. This helps minimise the visual impact and maintain the overall aesthetic coherence of the roof.

18. How do I find a professional to work on my listed building?

Using an architect or surveyor with expertise in historic buildings is highly recommended. You can find accredited professionals on websites like the Historic Environment Service Provider Recognition (HESPR) scheme or the Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC).

19. Is my building in a conservation area?

Different local authorities provide this information in varying formats. Some have downloadable maps and appraisal documents. Others have interactive maps where you can check if your property is located. Just enter your postcode or address to see if it’s shaded in red, indicating a conservation area.

20. What does it mean if my property is in a conservation area?

Conservation areas are designated to protect the unique architectural and historic character of a place. This means there are some extra planning controls, particularly for changes to the outside of buildings or works to trees. But living in a conservation area can also increase the value of your property, as people appreciate the special qualities.