Can Listed Buildings Be Restored? A Complete Guide

Learn more about listed buildings and if and how they can be restored with Dale Joinery.

What is a listed building?

A listed building is a historic structure that is of particular interest due to its historical significance and distinctive architecture. Buildings are classified as Grade I, Grade II*, or Grade II. The majority of listed buildings are Grade II, indicating that they are of particular interest. Buildings with Grade I designation have outstanding historical significance, whereas buildings with Grade II* status have considerable historical significance. Unless it is well beyond its original condition, any structure that predates the 1700s or was erected between 1700 and 1850 is likely to be a listed building.

Why do you need permission to restore a listed building?

When the government places a building on the National Heritage List for England, it becomes subject to the UK’s statutory planning system, which requires listed building consent for any form of work that may change, extend, or demolish the structure. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each have their own list of heritage sites.

Renovations and repairs to the listed building’s interior and exterior are subject to planning restrictions. Outbuildings and garden constructions are also included for many listed buildings.

You must obtain permission from the local authority planning department before making any changes, additions, or, in some situations, demolitions to your historically significant structure. This department bases its judgments on government planning guidelines and listed building consent. A conservation officer may be appointment to handle your plans individually.

It is feasible to make improvements to your listed building, despite the extensive instructions and the fact that judgments are based on factors such as the property’s viability, utility, and local significance.

Before you decide to restore or clean a listed building, you should be aware of these seven essential things you can and cannot do.

Restoration of a listed building: what you can and cannot do

Restoring a facade

Even if modern techniques may be more appealing, you must employ traditional techniques, colours, and materials for any repairs, listed building cleaning, or alterations if you want to preserve the history of your building.

Simple listed building maintenance tasks like cleaning, painting, roof repairs, window repairs or replacements or rendering may be subject to guidelines in order to preserve the structure’s original quality and appearance.

Similarly to this, you will probably require authorisation if you plan to add any external decoration to the structure, such as lighting, solar panels, signs, or satellite dishes.

Original Features

Since a listed building’s elements contribute to its distinctiveness, the majority of them are strictly safeguarded.

These priceless building components, including fireplaces, doors, windows, floor tiles, interior walls, stairs, chimney stacks, iron work, and stones, distinguish the structure. Therefore, you may anticipate firm advice regarding any alterations or maintenance work on these intricate or fragile architectural aspects.

On the other hand, painting inside walls is typically OK. However, it may be wise to first get approval from your local conservation officer.

Roof restoration

Similar to this, roof repairs are a typical component of routine building maintenance if you own a property. There are several regulations to follow, nevertheless, if you want to restore or renovate the roof of a listed structure.

For instance, extremely detailed guidelines and consent fully cover repairs, replacements, or alterations to roof materials, roof timbers, roof structures, or chimney structures.


A contemporary addition can be made to a listed building. In order to fulfil the specific instructions for your building, you will need to collaborate closely with your conservation officer and a qualified architect. The majority of additions to listed buildings are simple, basic designs that honour the original structure’s components and materials without taking anything away from it.

Minor fixes

You probably don’t need to get permission for every small repair if you own a listed structure. It is usually a good idea to check with your local conservation officer before taking any action because each building has specific requirements for the kinds of repairs that require permission.

It may be preferable to consult a professional if you are unclear about how to handle the repair work in some regions, particularly if you want specialised access services to make any exterior repairs.

How long does it take to get consent?

Local governments aim to respond to applications for relatively small works within 8 weeks. Remember that this is a target and that, like all government targets, it is subject to failure.

The eight weeks include a 21-day consultation period with your neighbours and other interested parties.

It is suggested that you schedule a pre-application meeting with the local conservation officer to ensure that the application process goes smoothly and has the best possibility of success. For this service, some agencies impose a fee.

Although the numerous constraints on listed building renovation may seem frustrating at first, it is possible to make alterations to your listed building that you are happy with after you get a handle on the key points of conflict. Listed structures are required by law. If you want to prevent long-term costs, delays, damage, the danger of legal action, and worse, you must be aware of what you can and cannot do in advance.

At Dale Joinery, we’re proud to work with listed building owners regarding replacing timber windows or doors, and we understand the significance of preserving the authenticity and distinct appearance listed buildings provide. Please get in touch with our experts for further information on your listed building.