Restoring a listed building can be fraught with problems and hoops through which you’re forced to jump. However, with a little homework and a few phone calls you can make the process a much smoother affair and complete your project sooner.
To help you we’ve compiled 10 Do’s and Don’ts of listed building restoration.
- Do – know your rights on VAT! Energy performance improvement work within a renovation project triggers only 5% VAT. It’s always worth checking before you pay any bills as there is no function to reclaim VAT once it’s paid.
- Do – ensure your home insurance is suitable for Listed Buildings. It’s well worth finding a specialist insurance company for listed buildings as, if disaster strikes, the conservation officer will insist you reinstate with similar materials to match the rest of the house and a standard policy may not cover the full cost.
- Do – make friends with your local Conservation officer, they will be your ally and greatest friend, and will know all about other property owners in your locality who have encountered similar problems as you may.
- Do – before buying a listed building, ensure the correct building consent has been achieved on any works carried out by previous owners. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter if unapproved works were done before your ownership, you will be liable.
- Do – stay organised. Keep all permissions and plans after work is completed, you will need these if you sell your home in the future.
- Don’t – combine modern repair methods with traditional methods. The property will most likely be built with Lime Mortar and using cement in older buildings can cause irreparable damage.
- Don’t – remove or alter original architectural features such as doors, decorative stonework, fireplaces or windows. They are often integral to the buildings’ listed status.
- Don’t – paint or render stonework, stoneclean buildings, lower or demolish chimneystacks or pots, or add new pipework, flues or alarm boxes on principal elevations of the property.
- Don’t – assume your garden is yours to play with. Often walls and trees will be listed too, so don’t knock-down boundary walls or remove gates.
- Don’t – rush! Consider any changes you wish to make, take advice from professionals and always speak to either the Conservation office, Historic England or both. Spend some time in the property, it has stood for many years so a couple of months consideration time will be well spent.
Listed Property Owners Club
Find Your Local Council Conservation Officer
Listed Buildings Home Insurance
Historic England (English Heritage)