When considering the purchase of a listed property, there are many more items to consider than purchasing or altering a more modern property. What type of historic property are you looking to buy? Has the previous property owner carried out any unauthorised alterations? Do you know the current condition of the property? What is the property history? It is important that you consider all this and more before making a decision.
A listed building is a property that is considered to be of special architectural or historical interest and as such, the building as a whole is protected in regards to demolition, alterations and extensions. Any changes made to a listed building must be made following the acquisition of Listed Building Consent (LBC). However, it is important that clients looking into the purchase or renovation of a listed property receive professional support when looking at their financial and legal options.
Chiltern Associates have years of experience in advising on such properties and so can personal advice. This will ensure that you are well-informed regarding the legal ramifications and your responsibility to the property itself. When working with a listed building it is important that you request a consultation on your property before even starting the planning phase of any proposed works.
Altering a Listed Building and Listed Building Consent
If the homeowner wishes to alter or extend a listed building in a way that affects its character or appearance; Listed Building Consent is required. It is better never to risk carrying out anything other than basic repairs and general building maintenance without first obtaining valid LBC. However, before applying for LBC, it is important that property owners are able to see the potential effects of any plans they have by speaking to a licensed professional.
When you purchase a listed property, you also inherit the responsibility of any alterations or renovations made without Listed Building Consent by previous owners. Unauthorised alterations to listed properties often come with a hefty fine from your local Conservation Officer, so it is essential that you are made aware of these alterations in order to avoid any unexpected home visits.
What We Offer
Chiltern Associates specialises in listed and historic building surveys in Suffolk, having surveyed listed properties of all types throughout our 30 plus years of experience in the property industry. With a detailed knowledge of the nature of listings, including the difference between Grade I and Grade II listings and many additional controls imposed by local authority, our team can advise on suitable ways to comply with listed building control. Chiltern Associates draws from comprehensive experience dealing with a wide range of issues commonly found in listed properties in order to provide clients with accurate, helpful advice every time.
Chiltern Associates offer experienced advice covering the concerns raised when work is being considered on a listed property. Our consultation service helps clients decide whether or not their plans are beneficial to the building in the long term, whether they will have any difficulty in obtaining LBC and much more. We can also offer insight into the history of the property, looking at period features.
By speaking, at length, with one of our experts, we can help you to make an informed decision on purchase and works needed afterwards.
Common Features in Historic and Listed Properties
Historic properties often contain older or unused features in comparison to more modern properties. As we learn more about proper construction materials, insulation and building houses in an economically and environmentally beneficial manner, many older construction methods are no longer in use today. It is, therefore essential that you are able to get advice from a professional with experience in maintaining and preserving these features, for historical significance. Examples of features commonly found in historic buildings are;
- Timber – Timber frames are one of the oldest known methods of building, with countries across the world utilising timber frames for centuries. In the UK timber framing experienced a surge in popularity during the Georgian period. Timber framed properties can suffer from damp or rotting timbers and termites that can lead to structural issues if not properly dealt with.
- Wattle and Daub – A method of constructing strong, weatherproof walls using thin branches or slats that have been weaved together (wattle). The daub is then created from a mixture of certain ingredients and then applied to the wattle and left to dry. Wattle and Daub is one of the oldest construction materials used, it is still used in many parts of the world.
- Cob – A building material that has been in use since the 17th It was traditionally a clay-based material made from sand, straw and water. It was ladled onto a stone foundation and trodden onto the wall by workers using a process known as ‘cobbing’. The thick walls provided good insulation and protection from weather conditions.
- Stucco – A material used as a decorative coating for the exterior of building walls, made from aggregates, a binder and water. It is applied wet and hardens to a dense and weather resistant coating. The material was also used for property interiors and ceilings, although it is more commonly known as plaster in this form.
- Thatch Roofs – A form of roof covering that uses reeds, straw or heather. A well-constructed thatch roof should last between 10-14 years and will need re-thatching several times throughout the property’s lifetime.
- Sash Windows – A popular form of window in the 18th and 19th century, Sash windows are made from one or more movable panels or ‘sashes’ that form a frame to hold panes of glass. These panes are often separated other planes by muntins or moulded strips of wood.
- Bay Windows – Later Victorian and Edwardian property builds took advantage of the change of building regulations to incorporate window spaces projecting outward from the main walls of a building. The ‘bay’ in question was often square or polygonal and was designed to create the illusion of a larger room.
More information regarding Historic Buildings can be found directly from the Historic England Website. You should read up on your responsibilities as a listed building owner before considering any alterations.
Examples of Common problems:
- Woodworm and death watch beetle
- Rising and penetrating damp
- Historic versus current structural movement; cracks, walls, floors, door frames
- Breathability of the structure
- Thatch and older tiling
- Fire risks of wood burning stoves
- Use of lime based mortar versus modern hard render
- Failure in jointing of the historic frame and suitable repairs
- Older floors and suitable treatment
- High water table in the surrounding area
All of the above need specialist advice and specialist treatment. In addition, the Conservation Officer will require the use of matching materials in many cases, which can raise the cost of repairs and renovation.
Getting professional advice prior to planning construction on a listed property is essential. We are always happy to offer consultation to clients where needed, so get in touch today to discuss any plans you might have regarding the buying of listed properties. When considering a property for purchase, or you already own a listed property, relevant expert advice is invaluable.