Buying and Maintaining a Listed or Historic Building
Buying an older property can be a daunting prospect but purchasing a Listed Building also comes with the added burden of statutory obligations to maintain and repair the building in an appropriate manner.
Listed Building Consent (LBC) is needed for any works that ‘affect the character or appearance’ of a listed building. This can cover a wide range of work and this has included changing the colour scheme on the exterior of a house, cleaning stonework and repointing rubble walling. The need for LBC is not merely confined to the exterior of the property but also extends to the grounds and any outbuildings that are within ‘the curtilage’. There are fairly draconian penalties for breaches of listed building legislation, which in extreme cases have extended to prison sentences, and these can be applied to subsequent owners who may not have carried out the offending alterations.
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Historic buildings constructed using traditional materials and techniques have to be maintained correctly so that the fabric can function in the manner in which the original builders intended. Inappropriate repairs and improvements can result in unforeseen problems arising. It is essential that the correct approach is adopted to repair methods and that the pitfalls of Listed Buildings legislation are avoided.
The employment of a surveyor with the appropriate knowledge and experience is essential to provide sound and informed advice. Richard Wood gained a Diploma in Architectural Conservation in 2001 and a Master’s degree in the same subject in 2005 from the University of Bristol. He is a member of the RICS conservation forum and a trustee of Stroud Preservation Trust.
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