Listed Building Preservation Works

Company owner and surveyor Dean Webster CSRT, CSSW, ACABE, has over 30+ years of working in listed building preservation and loves specifying systems to remedy damp and timber defects in listed and older/historic buildings.

When talking of older buildings, we refer to ‘Period Properties’, generally speaking, properties built pre-World War I (Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian etc.).

Listed Buildings also form a large part of what makes up, but are not limited to, pre-war built properties, buildings that carry a special historical or architectural significance.

So what does “Listed Building” mean?

A ‘listed building’ is a building, object, or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest and included on a special register called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

There are three categories of listed grades as follows:

  • Grade I is applied to buildings with “exceptional interest” – This is, at most, approximately 2% of buildings listed.
  • Grade II* – applies to buildings with “particularly important and more than special interest” – This is around 4% of the buildings listed.

Leaving the remaining 94% of buildings categorised as:

  • Grade II – buildings of “special interest, warranting every effort made to preserve them”.

What is listed – part or the whole of the building?

This can range from a “part” of a building – like a wall or chimney stack through to the full structure. The local planning office holds this information.

For example, our neighbouring property in Kent was listed in 1979. Although it had multiple extensions, only part of the building is covered by the listing, the “medieval” timber-framed part.

Looking from the outside, it seems like a relatively modern property. However, internal walls date back to late medieval (C10) with following changes in the 13th and 18th centuries, then more additions pre-1979.

When listed building preservation works are required, we work alongside the local council to ensure the works specified are approved. We also refer to the “Listing buildings and conservation areas act 1990” where written consent is required from the local planning office.

Breaking these rules can result in prosecution or even a prison sentence.

Reasons for Listed Building Preservation

Many times we attend to, and survey listed buildings and the issues are caused by poor maintenance or adjustments to the surrounding environment that have occurred over a long period.

On many occasions, pathways or drives have been built adjacent to the building creating damp bridging issues, or the rainwater goods have not been maintained well. They allow moisture to pass into the building, causing internal damage to plasters, timbers, and wall coverings.

Listed Building Preservation Works Process

The first step in a survey is always to review the whole building, including an internal and external inspection and a full assessment. We follow the recently created methodology from RICS and the PCA regarding the surveying of historic buildings.

With old buildings, as well as carrying out a detailed inspection of the building, the materials and techniques used also need to be reviewed, along with any extensions created and changes made to the construction. Only after this full assessment can a specification of works be created.

Any preservation carried out needs to ensure it does not conflict with the integrity of the building, and chemicals are not the first port of call.

On many occasions, for damp issues, we have used “vertical air gap membrane” systems. This is applied to the bare wall using minimal specialised fixings to hold it in place, causing as little damage to the wall as possible. This gives clients their desired decorative finish while allowing the original structure behind to remain damage-free. These systems are also straightforward to remove, leaving the original structure intact.

If you have a building that you require specialist damp advice on, please do get in touch, and we would be happy to assist.

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