Owning a listed building is almost like taking on the role of custodian and making sure that your little piece of history remains in excellent condition.
However, if you own or live in an historic building, there is no reason why you have to live with 18th Century-style draughts as well, and as the building ages and the repair work mounts up, it is important to know the right procedures for change so that you do not fall foul of the law.
There are three categories for listed buildings, Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II, with 92 per cent of listed properties falling into the latter category. Listing means that there is extra control over what can and cannot be done to a building’s interior and exterior.
Scotts of Thrapston has been at the forefront of timber construction for nearly 100 years offering a range of doors, windows and specialist timber products. Tom Barfield from Scotts said: “It is important that people know the right steps to take when making changes to a listed building as there are plenty of pitfalls that people can fall into.
“We would always recommend maintaining and keeping what you have if at all possible, as that’s the general policy for a listed building – but only if it is original, authentic or maintainable.
“Very often, inappropriate replacements have been introduced or the originals may be beyond repair and, in such cases, responsible replacements are advisable. If consent is granted, it’s an opportunity to upgrade to double glazing, if done properly, with almost zero variation in appearance from the single glazed original.
“It is possible to provide a faithful replica of the original sliding sash or casement windows, combining the charm and character of the traditional windows with modern, compliant levels of insulation and security.”
Homeowners need consent for all work to a listed building that involves alteration, extension or demolition where it affects the architectural or historic interest of the property, according to Historic England.
Therefore, if replacing a window or door affects a building architecturally and was done without the proper consent, it could be a breach of listed building control and the owner may be vulnerable to enforcement action. In fact, it can be a criminal offence to alter a listed building without the right consent.
Tom added: “It is always wise to check with your local council conservation officer before any works get under way.”