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Listed building renovation: What is and isn’t allowed

Planning a listed building renovation but aren’t sure where to start? Our helpful guide is bursting with information. Learn about building grades, consent and costs.

Listed building ready for renovationOwning a listed building is often a double edge sword. On the one hand, you are privileged to own a piece of history, on the other, making alterations and changes can be an arduous process. It’s essential you take extreme care with any home improvements and updates to ensure you don’t damage something priceless. As such, listed building renovation should never be done without permission.

If you’re lucky enough to own a listed building, this guide is designed to assist you when it comes to making changes and renovations. You may be wondering what renovations you can do on a Grade 2 listed building or whether you can make internal alterations to a listed building. So, read on for answers to your burning questions.

Rules for listed building renovations

Once you’ve decided to take on listed building renovations, you’ll need to know the correct procedures and restrictions to follow. The best way to ensure you’re not damaging your listed home is to apply for listed building consent. This is a process where you lay out your proposed changes and these are approved or declined by your local planning authority.

Remember, making any listed building renovations without permission is against the law and puts you at risk of prosecution. If you’d like to learn more, please see our guides on listed building consent and listed building consent costs.

Another important consideration is VAT on listed building renovations. Since October 2012 20% VAT has been added to services and materials that are used for approved alterations. Alternatively, if you’re struggling to raise funds to renovate your home, there are a number of listed building renovation grants that may help. To see these grants and how they work, visit Historic England’s website.

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Listed building alterationsGrade 2 listed building renovations

Listed buildings are given a grade depending on their historical or architectural interest level. For example, Grade 1 applies to buildings of exceptional interest and Grade 2 applies to buildings of special interest. As such, the Grade 2 listed building renovation rules are less strict than they are for Grade 1 buildings.

Despite the guidelines being more relaxed for Grade 2 structures, you’ll still need to obtain listed building consent before making any changes. Check out our listed building consent guide for more information. Generally, you’ll be able to maintain and repair your listed home as long as you use materials that match the originals, but for any changes, you‘ll need consent.

You’ll need consent for Grade 2 listed building renovations in the following circumstances:

  • Internal changes
  • Renovations
  • Repairs that alter your home in any way
  • Extensions
  • Changing to a different type of window

Another issue to consider surrounds Grade 2 listed building renovation costs. It’s important to note that any home alterations will require the correct materials and techniques to be used. This can increase Grade 2 listed building renovation costs by up to 50%. So, always ensure you prepare for this when budgeting.


Listed building consentCan you renovate a listed building?

It’s important to keep your home properly maintained to prevent issues further down the line. But can you renovate a listed building? Often the answer to this is yes, but you’ll need to obtain consent before beginning.

If you want to make drastic changes to a listed building, be prepared as your application may be rejected.

Can you make internal alterations to a listed building?

Surprisingly, it isn’t always only the outside of a listed building that’s protected, but the inside too. That’s why you need to always check with your local planning authority before continuing with renovations. It’s unlikely you’ll need planning permission, but you may still need listed building consent.

Can you renovate a Grade 1 listed building?

You may be wondering if you can renovate a Grade 1 listed building. If your home is classed as Grade 1 instead of Grade 2, the rules around renovations will be much stricter. You’ll still need to apply for listed building consent before beginning any work, but as strong restrictions are in place, you are less likely to get permission for alterations.

What renovations can you do to a Grade 2 listed building?

There are many ways to renovate a home, although if your property is a Grade 2 listed building, you’ll need consent prior to starting. You can usually make minor repairs and maintain your home as long as you use the same materials and techniques as were used originally. Having said that, it’s always safer to get consent first.

How much does listed building consent cost?

A key step in any listed building renovation project is obtaining legal permission. As such, you may be wondering how much listed building consent costs. Generally, applying for consent is free, although if you need planning permission this will cost upwards of £206. To look deeper into consent prices, please see our listed building consent cost guide.

Professional renovations

A great option for anyone who isn’t skilled in DIY is to hire a professional to make any alterations for you. When it comes to renovating a listed building, first obtain consent then look into hiring the best tradespeople for the job. You may need a range of experts who specialise in listed building renovation so why not use our handy search feature to find trusted professionals in your area.

Another important thing to consider when renovating your home is planning permission. Depending on the type of home improvement you plan to undertake, you may need to get this permission prior to starting. Our planning permission guide is full of prices and information that should help you during your renovation.

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