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What is a Listed building?

listed building

Whether or not a property classes as a Listed building isn’t necessarily about their size, or purchase price, and the definition can stretch all the way from mansions to small, single bedroom cottages. It is determined by the historical significance of the building, and protecting the part of history that it represents is considered to be of national importance.

Laws were passed in 1947 to protect Listed buildings, which were put in place following the loss of historic buildings during World War Two bombings. There are around 500,000 Listed buildings in England and Wales.

Properties built prior to the year 1850 are much more likely to be listed, and is particularly prevalent in structures built before 1700.

What do I need to consider with a Listed building?

A Listed building cannot be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the local authority. Furthermore, if the alteration is going to impact the historical significance of the building, you will have to apply for Listed building consent. Changes are possible, but the process is designed to ensure that the features of the original building are preserved, and may dictate the materials and construction methods used in your additions.

Listed building consent is different from planning permission, and you may need one or both depending on your plans. A conservation officer is the best port of call, as they can advise you early-on in the project, but you can expect to require consent for repairs to the building, especially if not using traditional building methods and materials, extensions, replacing windows, and changes to the internal layout. Even if you’re not planning to renovate, it is worth keeping in mind that the same can apply for maintenance issues, and the costs for work carried out by contractors who specialise in Listed buildings may be higher than a more modern construction.

If you haven’t purchased the property yet, and have plans to make alterations, it is worth contacting the local authority. They may be able to advise what is possible, along with provide details of projects carried out on other listed buildings in the area.

Breaching Listed building rules can result in a fine, a prison sentence, or a requirement to return the property back to its original state, at your own expense.

How are Listed buildings categorised?

England and Wales:

·        Grade I buildings are considered to be of exceptional interest. (Around 3% of Listed Buildings in the UK)

·        Grade II* buildings are important properties that are of more than special interest. (Around 5% of Listed Buildings in the UK)

·        Grade II buildings are of special interest, warranting every effort be made to preserve them. (Around 92% of Listed Buildings in the UK)


·        Category A buildings are of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.

·        Category B buildings are of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered.

·        Category C buildings are of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style or building type, as originally constructed or altered; and simple traditional buildings

Northern Ireland:

Follows a similar system to that in Scotland, with an additional grade.

They are listed as A, B+, B1 and B2, in order of historical significance.

Especially with the grades that are less historically significant, you may find that you can obtain standard building and contents insurance by regular means. Generally, the cost will be a little higher given the additional cost of labour and materials to put things right if you did have to make a claim, and some companies may be unable to accommodate you as a result. For higher grades, large properties, or Listed buildings with planned renovations, then a more specialist insurance policy may be a better fit for you.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Ltd. have a number of standard and specialist schemes available. Give us a call on 0800 612 9376 or click “Get a Quote” to complete our online form.

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