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How to Properly Make Repairs to a UK-Listed Building

If you own or manage a listed building in the UK, you know that there are certain restrictions in place when making repairs or alterations. 

However, just because your building is listed doesn’t mean that you can’t make necessary repairs – you just need to follow the proper procedures.

In this quickfire guide, we’ll show you how to properly repair a listed building so you can keep your property in good condition while still complying with the law.

Step #1 – Get to know your listed building

There’s no denying that owning a listed building is an honour and a privilege, contributing to your home’s unique history. 

That said, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Before you consider any alterations and repairs, the best way to understand what changes can be made is to start by researching the history of your listed building, as well as discovering all the alterations that have been made in the past. 

Knowing these key details ahead of time will help ensure that any future designs are both authentic and appropriate for your property, so don’t forget this important step – get to know your listed building first!

Step #2 – Understand the difference between Grade I, II* and II listed buildings

When dealing with listed buildings, it’s important to be aware of the different grades. Grade I is the highest category, given to buildings that are considered of national importance; this could include monuments and architectural structures such as castles. 

Grade II* buildings represent special interest buildings, while Grade II buildings have special historical or architectural interests that merit consideration. 

Each grade has its own unique criteria when considering any repairs or redevelopment, so it is vital to check what kind of grading your building has before doing any work. 

Don’t worry, though – having a listed building isn’t a bad thing, and the building can be enjoyed for many years to come whilst protected from alterations or redevelopment by listing laws!

Step #3 – Work with an architect or surveyor who specialises in listed buildings 

Working with a conservation specialist is essential for preserving your listed building. 

They have the expertise to guide you through each step when tackling any renovation project, from knowing how best to preserve the existing features to understanding regulations that may apply. 

Not only can they help ensure that your plans fit within the confines of what’s allowed for listed buildings, but they also help bring out their true historical potential and character. 

Doing so will make all the effort worthwhile, leaving you with a beautiful end result and many happy years in this special place.

Step #4 – Make sure you have all the necessary permissions and approvals before starting work

Failing to obtain permission and approval before the work begins can put you in a tricky spot – one that can cause hefty fines and an unsuccessful project rollout. 

Make sure you’ve properly consulted with the stakeholders, local authorities, legal representatives, etc., to gain full comprehension of what is required in order for your project to succeed. 

Thoroughly checking boxes on the permissions side leaves fewer roadblocks down the line when launching into any type of new activity. The success of your endeavour starts by taking care of details from the very beginning!

Step #5 – Use traditional materials and methods wherever possible

Preserving the character of a building is an important part of protecting its identity and history. Step #5 encourages you to use traditional materials and methods where they are suitable to maintain the building’s original look as much as possible.

In many listed building projects, this is a legal requirement you must follow through with. You’ll need to spend time sourcing people and companies that can provide these resources and services. 

From selecting the right type of bricks to using authentic tools, these small details will create a completely unique and special atmosphere for residents and visitors alike. Using traditional techniques not only respects the character of your building but also honours the people who came before us by keeping their incredible work alive in the present.

Step #6 – Be prepared for unexpected problems

Nothing ever goes exactly according to plan – and that’s totally ok! 

Life can throw us some unexpected curveballs, which is why it’s essential to be prepared. Step #6 of our strategy is to have a plan in place for potential problems you may face – that way, if something does arise, you’ll be able to tackle it head-on. 

Think of it like having an insurance policy for your project–it’s always better to be safe than sorry!


All in all, working with a listed building can be nerve-racking, but it doesn’t have to be. With being well informed on the steps you need to take and what you’ll need to do to meet the requirements that’ve been set out for you by English Heritage, planning your listed building project should be easier and more manageable.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or daunted by your next listed building project, don’t hesitate – get help from JG Molley

We’ll advise and handle everything for you at every step of the way, ultimately ensuring your listed building project runs as smoothly as possible. 

So what are you waiting for? Contact our experts today – we look forward to working with you!