Listed Building Surveys

We specialise in undertaking RICS Listed Building Surveys.

We offer one of the most detailed reports you can obtain for your Listed Building purchase. We feel this is essential in understanding the condition of a building and any repairs required.
Contact us for a quote. Scroll down the page for a Listed Building Survey example, or we are happy to send an example survey report following on from initial enquiry.

About our Listed Building Surveys

We provide expert advice in a clear and detailed fashion on the condition of historic and Listed Buildings.

The survey is undertaken by a RICS Chartered Surveyor , highly experienced in dealing with Listed and historic buildings. Our team of surveyors can be seen on the about us page.

Most importantly we have the experience to evaluate buildings on the basis of their condition in comparison to other buildings of a similar type and age. We provide clear and unambigious advice on the buildings condition and what repairs will be necessary.

The Listed Building survey is in excess of the requirements of the RICS Level 3 survey and is “enhanced”  to provide the necessary advice for a purchaser of a Listed Building.

We provide detailed advice on any alterations undertaken to the property and undertake a review as to whether appropriate Listed Building consents are in place.

We use advanced technologies where appropriate such as Thermal Imaging, Humidity and Environment calculations and Drone / Pole Camera roof surveying techniques.

When the survey is completed and report issued, we talk to our clients and make sure we can answer questions.

The Listed Property Owners Club recommends to engage experienced ‘conservation’ surveyors when purchasing a listed building. This is because the surveyor will know of the special considerations and implications for the repair and renovation of the building.bWe are experienced in these areas, we only deal with Historic and Listed Buildings and can give you the right advice. 

The Listed Property Club Owners Guidance on Listed Buildings can be found here . We at Heritage Consulting are approved and recommended by the Listed Property Owners Club.

Some of the beautiful Listed Buildings we have Surveyed;

What is included in a Listed Building Surveys

No Nonsense Expert Advice

We provide expert advice, free from jargon and presented in a clear and easy to understand format. Below are extracts from a survey to show how we break down areas of the building to accurately advise on defects and recommendations for repairs. We do not just report on issues, we explain what the problems are and what needs to be done about them.

Historical Review

We provide a historical overview of the property as part of a Listed Building Survey. Whist one may think this is not strictly necessary for a pre purchase report, understanding the age and development of the building is essential. Understanding the building , how it is built and how it needs to be repaired is very important. An understanding of the development of the building is also key in informing and advising on past and future modifications.

Listed Building Consent Review

We review planning consents and provide an opinion on whether we believe there are any potential issues in relation to Listed Building Consents. In our experience, there are almost always “issues” and items of work that may not have the correct consents, however the key is an experienced person providing advice as to the magnitude of the issues.

Drone and Pole Camera

We use a drone or pole camera to undertake an enhanced roof and chimney surveys. See drone surveys. This enables us to provide a detailed report on roofs and high level areas as part of a pre purchase survey.

Thermal Imaging and Absolute Humidity

We use Thermal Imaging and advanced Thermal Hygrometers to undertake an evaluation of internal conditions and provide advice on dampness and condensation.

More about our surveys

The Listed Property Owners Club recommends to engage experienced ‘conservation’ surveyors when purchasing a listed building. This is because the surveyor will know of the special considerations and implications for the repair and renovation of the building, the perceived “damp problems” and will understand period house structures. We are experienced in these areas, we only deal with Historic and Listed Buildings and can give you the right advice. 

The Listed Property Club Owners Guidance on Listed Buildings can be found here . We at Heritage Consulting are approved and recommended by the Listed Property Owners Club.

Listed building surveys are a specialised field and it is of great importance that the person undertaking the survey fully understands the building. Our surveys look to not only inform a buyer or owner about the condition of the building, but look to advise about the history, materials used to construct it and the original design principles of the building. They are sometimes referred to as a Historic Building Surveys.

Most ordinary Chartered surveyors are not experienced or qualified to understand these buildings. The reasons are very simple:

A  Listed Building Surveyor needs to fully understand the legislation that protects Listed Buildings.  There is a lot of it, and it constantly changes – from planning legislation to whether any alterations have had appropriate consents. This is not always straight forward and there are often many Grey areas.

To be able to survey a listed building, you also need to understand the building.  This means knowing intimatley your bricks, timber types, mortars, and roofing materials.  Our Technical Advice section give an overview of these materials.

When we advise clients about Listed Buildings, we use our extensive knowledge of the cost of work to them.  We have taken Listed Buildings apart, and rebuilt them.  We know what it costs to repair a heritage building – what materials to use, how to use them, and where to get them.  We never stop learning – attending CPD courses on a regular basis – run by SPAB, Weald and Downland Museum, Historic England, RICS and others.

Listed or Heritage buildings seem to suffer from damp and timber decay problems.  Actually they don’t – its quite often years of inappropriate modifications and treatment which have caused these issues. We can advise on all these issues including recommendations for repairs.

We try very hard to get to all areas of the building and leave no stone unturned.  We have led the way in residential surveying for using non invasive equipment for assessing buildings, such as Thermal Imaging, Thermal Hygrometers , Roof Cameras and Drone Surveys.

What we do:

Listed Building Surveys for buyers -Pre Purchase Listed Building Surveys

We survey the building exhaustively – looking at structure, the materials it is made of, its history and development.

We can confidently advise on the condition of the building and most importantly have the experience to assess the condition of Listed Buildings in relative terms to other buildings of a similar age.

Most Listed Buildings require added care and ongoing maintenance.

So many times we have heard the phrase – its stood for 400 years it will stand for another 400. Not the case. Condition of Listed Buildings vary immensely. Some appearing in good order are costly headaches, while some may look in poor order, but structurally are sound, with mostly cosmetic improvements being required.

We look for any unauthorised alterations or additions the previous owners may have carried out. Don’t forget you will automatically assume responsibility for these if you buy the building – it passes with the building not the person who did the work.  We look at the planning history of the building, and examine all Listed Building Consents that have been approved or rejected to understand what is legal and what may not be.  This can have a substantial effect on any financial negotiations.

We look at the feasibility of any changes you are thinking of making.  Often these may simply not be possible – or by changing the way they are presented, they may be eminently successful.  We know the planning guidelines for alterations to Listed Buildings, and can assist with advice on what will succeed.  We understand the materials to be used.  Unlike other Listed Building Surveyors, we have worked with the materials, used them extensively, and understand what works and what does not.

Listed Building Surveys for home owners.

We work with owners of Listed Buildings to help you understand the history of the building and how it developed over the ages.  This informs our understanding – what has happened since then – what materials have been used, and why.  From this, we begin to build a picture of what may be wrong with the building – why is it damp, why is there decaying timber, and why is brickwork and stonework deteriorating.  We can put into place management plans and maintenance plans over the longer term.

Timber framed buildings require particular expertise.  We have worked on, taken apart, and rebuilt historic timber frames.  We understand wood, and joinery and how to get the best out of Repairs and the various options available. It is this deep seated understanding of timber frame building that sets us far apart from any other surveyors.

Finally – we have all worked with  craftsmen on numerous projects.  Unlike most surveyors, we have run teams of contractors on Conservation projects across the country.  We have excellent connections in London, Kent and the South East.  We will help wherever possible in finding and selecting the right people to work on your building – and making sure they stay closely with the specifications and budgets set.

We undertake Listed Building Surveys all over the UK, Shropshire, Midlands, The Cotswolds, Essex, Surrey, Kent, Sussex and Hertfordshire.

Some frequently asked questions answered……

What changes can I make to a Listed Building ?

As part of our Listed Building Surveys we can offer outline advice on what may or may not be acceptable in terms of alterations.

In accordance with planning guidelines, here are some changes one can make to a Listed Building:

1. Minor Repairs and Maintenance: You can carry out minor repairs and maintenance work without needing any permission from the local authority.

2. Internal Alterations: Changes to the internal fittings and fixtures can usually be made without the need for consent, provided they don’t affect the building’s character. Changes to layout and partitions / walls will usually require consent.

3. Painting and Decoration: You can repaint, redecorate, and refresh the interior and exterior of the property with suitable materials that match the existing colours and textures.

4. Roofing Repairs: Essential roofing repairs can usually be carried out without needing listed building consent, provided they match the original materials. However, local authority’s have differing views on the extent of “repairs” that are permissible.

5. Replacement Windows: Listed building consent is usually required to replace windows.

6. Extension or Alteration: Any extension or alteration to the building will require listed building consent, and you must submit a listed building consent application.

7. Change of Use: If you want to change the use of the building or convert it into a different type of property, you will usually need to apply for listed building consent.

Remember, before making any changes or alterations to a Listed Building, it is essential to consult with the local authority conservation officer, who will guide you on what can be done legally while preserving the building’s heritage value.

The Listed Property Owners Club offers good advice on changes to a Listed Building – Changes to a Listed Building 

Can I upgrade the energy efficiency of my Listed Building ?

Put simply … Yes. However to what extent this is possible and what methods of upgrade will depend on the buildings construction type.

Generally speaking, it is possible to upgrade the energy efficiency of listed buildings with careful planning and the right approach. Historic England offer the guidance note energy efficiency in historic buildings which offers good consumer advice.

There are many ways to improve the energy efficiency of a listed building, including installing insulation, upgrading windows, draft proofing, and adding renewable energy sources.

We foresee that renewable energy production will be an area that has far greater importance in historic buildings in years to come.

Who is responsible for unlawful alterations to Listed Building ?

If you buy a listed building, you take on the responsibility for any past unlawful modifications. This is why it is important to understand if there have been any changes or modifications that are at risk of future enforcement at the pre purchase stage. We provide this advice as part of our Listed Building Surveys.

You should be aware that when you purchase a listed building, you become responsible for any un-authorised alterations carried out by previous owners and putting them right if need be. It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without obtaining the necessary consent required and the local authority can enforce unauthorised works to be put right, however, they cannot take enforcement action when they do not know if the works were carried out before or after the building became listed.

Enforcement is a complicated, case specific area. We can provide detailed advice if required and there above should be used as a general guide. For detailed guidance follow Historic England unlawful works to a Listed Building 

Can I install double glazing in a Listed Building ?

Installing double glazing in a listed building is usually resisted by conservation officers and the local authority, as the changes could alter the appearance and character of the building and therefore impact its protected status.

However, in some cases, double glazing may be permitted if it can be installed without harming the building’s character or heritage value, or it yields a net improvement. A net improvement may be replacing a uPVC window with a traditional timber window with well detailed double glazing.

In our experience the opinion on the “acceptability” of double glazing varies across local authorities and there is unfortunately not much consistency.

However, times are changing. There is a climate emergency and a greater need to make buildings more energy efficient. So, my belief is that whilst the current most stringent conservation officers who resist double glazing in all instances, in the future will need to yield slightly and relax the rules.

Can I extend a Listed Building ?

The short answer is yes, the longer answer is it depends on the scheme.

Just because a building is Listed does not mean it cannot be altered or extended. There have been many fantastic schemes undertaken on Listed Building to make the buildings more “workable” for 20th C living.

The alterations and extensions will however require Listed Building Consent which will attract a greater degree of scrutiny and review than a typical extension on a non Listed Building. The extension will need to not harm the host building or its significance. Historic England offer good advice on extending your Listed Building. Historic England – I want to extend my house. 

Where do you undertake Listed Building Surveys ?

All across the South East – see map in contact

We have offices in; East Sussex, Kent, Stow on The Wold, Cotswolds, Essex and Hertfordshire.