renovating a listed building

Things to consider when renovating a listed building

When thinking about renovating a house, one of the first considerations is planning and approval. This can be particularly difficult depending on the age of your home and especially if it is a Listed Building.

If you own a Listed Building it is your responsibility to maintain its aesthetic to ensure the architectural heritage is never lost. You, therefore, have to conform to specific rules set out by Historic England, the body that maintains the list and ensures the rules are enforced on behalf of the government.

Another issue with owning a Listed Building is that these properties often require specialist insurance to make sure your home is looked after in a way appropriate to its age.

For many people, adhering to these rules and getting specialist insurance is a small price to pay when purchasing a Listed Building as, by nature, they are some of the most beautiful properties on the market. Most listed buildings date from before 1840 and many people enjoy the aged wooden floorboards, old flagstones, sash windows and the old fashioned doors.

However, this doesn’t mean that renovating a Listed Building is impossible. Old buildings will always need to be updated to accommodate modern life. According to Historic England, to make a change on a Listed Building “you will need listed-building consent for all work to a Listed Building that involves alteration, extension or demolition where it affects its special architectural or historic interest.”

If you do not get the Listed Building consent before making changes to your home, you are breaking the law.

The best way to get planning permission is to make sure you’re fully aware of all of the regulatory hurdles you need to cross in order to get the go-ahead to make the changes to your property. You may seek professional advice from a property law specialist or your local authority conservation officer. Alternatively, you can look up the details yourself. Historic England produces the free Listed Property Owners Guide that covers all of what you can and cannot do to your listed property.

One of the most sure-fire ways to get planning permission granted is to use the same materials that your home was built out of to carry out any renovation. By using the same stone and timber, it is far easier to ensure the aesthetic value of the property is not diminished in any way.

So, if you wish to repair or even upgrade your timber sash window that is most likely fine and may not require any form of consent. However, if you wanted to remove the sash all together and replace it with a modern plastic alternative, you are more likely to run into some issues.

At we specialise in restoring, and where needed, replacing sash and casement windows. Our expertise ensures you comply with Historic England regulations. We painstakingly make sustainable windows fit for 21st century demands which are exact replicas of your existing windows to preserve the period aesthetics of these original features, whilst providing draught proofing where appropriate.

If you own a Listed Building and would like to upgrade your existing sash or casement windows, please get in touch. Our craftsmanship will resolve any problem you are having with sticking windows or units which no longer open or operate properly.

Please contact us by calling 0333 6000 196 or email We operate around the country and have specialist sash and casement window joiners in your area.

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Posted in Sash & Casement Windows, Doors.

One Comment

  1. This is a really interesting and informative blog. Leading on from your discussion of complying with Historic England regulations, renovating old buildings can often serve to preserve their history. As you say, as long as you take into consideration the legal aspects of the job and so on, restoration can really enhance a property. There does seem to be a misconception that renovations ruin old buildings when renovations are often crucial. It’s great to read a blog on this topic.

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