Listed Building Renovation & Historic Building Restoration Tips

by | Feb 23, 2024 | Home Refurbishment | 0 comments

Old houses are full with memories and that’s why they resist to collapse!

-Mehmet Murat Ildan

Old historic buildings are the witness of stories and events that have taken place in the past. In order to preserve the history, there is a dire need to carefully restore the historical places so that they stand as the witness of either glorified or gory past. While planning listed building renovation needs careful considerations, it can get overwhelming and confusing. Moreover, undertaking historic property restoration can be challenging.

You may not be aware of problems coming towards you because the process is not as easy as you think. The Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882 established state protection for Britain’s most magnificent structures. Thus to get started with listed building renovation, keep the Dos and Don’ts in this article on your fingertips.

What Does It Mean If A Building Is Listed? 

A listed building refers to a building that holds a historic affiliation or has an architecture of historic interest.

There are three Grades of listed buildings in the UK.

  • Grade I (exceptional interest- 2.5%) 
  • Grade II* (particularly important- 5.5%) 
  • Grade II (nationally important- almost 92%)

There are around  400,000 – 500,000 listed buildings in England, however, the majority of them belong to Grade II.

How Are Buildings Chosen For Listing? 

Before moving on to the historic property restoration, it is important to determine whether the structure is listed. Older constructions are more likely to be listed, especially those built before or between 1700 and 1840. Newer constructions must be remarkable to be recognized, and they are frequently older than 30 years old. Significant changes or demolition of listed structures require authority under the Planning. (Act 1990)

Listed Building Consent And It’s Approval Time

Image of the Listed Building Consent process, highlighting the approval timeline and key steps for obtaining consent for Historic building restoration.

Strict laws apply to structures that are officially listed by the government. Permission is needed for any modifications to the structure, including the addition, deletion, or alteration of components.

Internal and external repairs are covered by these limitations. Garden structures and outbuildings are included in some buildings. You need to obtain permission from the local planning authority before making any changes. They base their decisions on laws and regulations. It might take between 8-10 weeks to get the permission for listed building renovation.

If you have already got the work done without permission, you would require a “retrospective consent. ” A retrospective consent is required from the authorities if the renovation has been carried out without prior consent. Even if you are looking for minor changes such as window replacements, you would require a permission from the local authorities.

Requesting For Listed Building Permission

To get Listed Building Consent, start by meeting with your local Conservation Officer. You can apply online or with the paper forms available on this website.

If you want to change the structure’s nature, such as adding or removing pieces, you must first get consent.

Working on a listed building without a licence is a serious infraction that may result in fines or legal action. prior approval is necessary before undertaking any work.

How Do I Know My Building Is Listed?

Signs in the neighbourhood stating that a structure is part of a historic district are commonly used to determine its historic status. When you buy a property, it is often specified in the real estate contract that it is historic.

Municipalities may include this information in Point-of-Sale Inspection papers for property purchases, although this is not guaranteed. When a structure or area is suggested for historic status, local officials usually inform the property owners.


  • Make sure to obtain all the correct permission beforehand, even if you want to install a light to the exterior.
  • Stay in touch with your conservation officer as they will guide you throughout the renovation process
  • Ensure you have knowledge about your VAT rights and the renovation process abides by those rights.
  • Get help from chartered surveyors for the assessment of building, their compliance with the regulations and overall project management.
  • Ensure that the listed building has insurance which will cover the work being carried out.
  • You might want to get historic property restoration done according to your vision, but it is important to consider what will suit the building. In order to do this, make sure to contact a professional builder.
  • If you are buying a listed building, make sure to crosscheck all the permissions of previous amendments done to the building. Get the permissions of all the work from the previous owner because you will be held liable once you get the building transferred to your name.
  • You may not be able to remove or alter the original features of the building.
  • Instead of replacing, focus more on repairing.
  • Besides planning permission, ensure the changes you are making while Renovating heritage homes comply with the building regulations too.
  • While listed building renovation, use original heritage materials whenever feasible. This contains lime mortar, real wood, and original-style fixtures and fittings. Using appropriate materials helps to preserve the building’s historic character.
  • Do contact a professional to carry out the procedure with care.


  • In order to renovate, do not damage the originality of the buildings while heritage restoration. 
  • Heritage property renovation comes with TPOs as well, so make sure you are not harming a tree without consent.
  • Never start a Historic building restoration without an expert.
  • Do not neglect the exterior and outer space while renovating heritage homes.
  • Do not try to make modern changes while period property remodelling.
  • Architectural heritage renewal usually neglects the requirement of insulation in historic buildings. Thus, do not overlook insulation of the building.
  • Do not rush to exterior heritage property renovation before making sure the outside is included in the listing.
  • Do not neglect the underlying structural amendments required for the building and be prepared to uncover underlying issues.
  • You may not want to set a budget for restoration of listed structures because it may cost you more due to old features. 

Tips For Preserving Historic Buildings

Old places are the bearer of many stories and preservatories of culture, therefore, it is necessary to preserve those places. Below are the five tips for preserving historic buildings:

  • Identify the new purpose of the building.
  • Secure funds for the Heritage conservation projects because it might break your bank.
  • Work with preservation professionals to make sure that you are on the right track.
  • Conduct workshops to highlight the significance of preserving historical places.
  • When a property is under threat of demolition, alteration, or abandonment, add it to an endangered list maintained by a local organisation to increase awareness.

Cost Of Listed Building Renovation

The cost of historic building restoration varies substantially based on its size, condition, location, and the extent of the work required. Because of the specialised expertise, materials, and time necessary, it can be far more expensive than refurbishing a modern home. Rehabilitating a listed house costs between £1500 and £2500 per square metre.

Be patient and prepared for any delays. Because of the need for scrupulous preservation, listed building repairs may take longer than those on younger structures.


The most important thing to remember is that any repair process will take time. There are several factors to consider, and while they may seem time-consuming, they are ultimately beneficial.

Knowing your building’s unique history and working with the appropriate team to make your aspirations a reality will almost likely result in a renewed appreciation for your property, which may spark new ideas for your makeover. UK restoration services are most likely to help you and guide you through the restoration process. More specifically, contact team Powerpillar, to get the job done for you in no time!


How do you renovate a listed building?

To maintain a listed building’s historical and architectural significance during renovation, careful preparation and compliance with regulations are essential. Getting the required permits, carrying out in-depth analyses, utilising the proper tools and methods, and collaborating with conservation experts are a few possible steps.

What are the key factors that need to be taken into consideration when renovating a historic building?

When renovating a historic building, it is important to keep the building’s original features intact, adhere to heritage regulations, use sympathetic materials and techniques, preserve the building’s structural integrity, make sure it is accessible, and take energy efficiency into consideration while keeping the building’s historical context in mind.

How do you restore an old building?

It takes work to repair and bring back the original character and features of an old building. In order to do this, it might be necessary to fix any damage or deterioration, restore architectural details, fix structural components, use traditional materials and techniques, and make sure the building complies with current safety regulations.

How can we improve old buildings?

Maintaining historic structures while allowing for modernization is a delicate balance. Enhancing accessibility, preserving the building’s historic character, and repurposing spaces for modern use can all help achieve this goal while improving comfort and efficiency through system upgrades (such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing).

Why is restoring historic buildings important?

Maintaining community identity, fostering sustainable development, protecting cultural heritage, and boosting the local economy all depend on the restoration of historic structures. It creates spaces that improve the lives of current and future generations while paying tribute to the craftsmanship and history embodied in these buildings.

Emmanuel Nwaebo

Emmanuel Nwaebo is the Managing Director at Powerpillar Ltd and has more than 25 years experience in building construction and renovations. He has a bachelor’s in Electronics and Electrical Engineering with certification in Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST). With an experience in managing construction and renovation services for years, he is extremely passionate about property management and loves helping people find their dream property.

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