Architect Your Listed Home – How to Get Around Common Problems

If you own a listing building and want to extend, you will need to decide whether to change it or enhance what already exists. Whichever you choose, you will encounter some hurdles with what the local planning and conservation authority will allow. We'll show you how you can best navigate this with the least hassle.

Surprisingly, there isn’t a specific set of rules and regulations for extending or renovating listed buildings in the UK. Generally, it's down to the opinion of the local conservation officer, which of course can vary by location. Sometimes the local conservation officer may disagree with plans. This is when it’s handy to have an experienced architect on hand to negotiate.

In order to build onto a listed building you will need both planning permission and listed building consent. An architect can help you to get both of these and deal with Planning and Conservation teams to iron out any issues and prevent any delays.

Choosing an architect

A local architect who has first-hand experience dealing with the Planning and Conservation teams within your local authority is a good start. Make sure you pick an architect who is ARB registered, proof that they have completed years of training and the correct membership.

Some architects are able to offer you ‘full services’ covering areas from concept design to detailed construction drawings and specifications. Your architect can also help administer the contract between you and your builder throughout the construction phase. Please note, this is not the same as an architectural designer.

Once you have decided on an architect, you can agree a budget and schedule. Do this before the first working drawings are produced and ensure both parties understand their responsibilities.

Understanding your listed property

There are three categories of listed buildings:

Grade I - buildings of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important - 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.

Grade II* - particularly important buildings of more than special interest - 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*.

Grade II - nationally important and of special interest, 92% of all listed buildings are Grade II & it is the most likely grade of listing for a homeowner.

The application process and requirements differ for each grade, so it’s important to understand what you can and can’t do from the beginning.

Knowing the legal requirements

Listed buildings are subject to criminal law, which means you could find yourself with a conviction if you attempt to make changes to your listed property without seeking professional advice first. Remember, this is different to planning law, which falls under the civil courts.

When planning any home build project, an architect is highly recommended. In regards to a listed property, it would be very unwise to try and carry out the project without the help of experts in this field.

For more information on architecting your listed home, get in touch with Bluelime Projects - we have a team of architects across London and the South East that would be happy to help.

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