listed building

What is a Listed Building Survey?

If you’re buying a listed building, it’s essential to arrange a building survey by a RICS Chartered Surveyor. This will ensure there are no nasty, potentially expensive surprises once you’ve got the keys to your new home. But what exactly is a listed building and how do you choose the right survey for this kind of property? Let’s find out…

What is a listed building?

A listed building is a building that is of special architectural or historic interest. These buildings are considered to be of national importance and can be found on the National Heritage List for England.

Types of listed building

There are approximately 400,000 listed buildings in England, and they are categorised into three grades:

  • Grade I buildings: the highest grade, given to buildings of exceptional interest.
  • Grade II buildings: signifying a building of special interest and deserving of every effort to preserve it. Most listed buildings are in this category.
  • Grade II* buildings: above Grade II, buildings in this category are particularly important.

If you are purchasing a listed building, your surveyor will be able to find out which parts are protected, helping you understand what you can and cannot do in terms of renovations, repairs, and decoration. You should note that your responsibilities as an owner of a listed building may extend to outbuildings, garden walls and other features.

Why do I need a specialist listed building survey?

You need a listed building survey (sometimes called a historic building survey) to fully understand the condition of the property and make plans for any works that need doing. Your surveyor will offer a guide to the cost of any repairs and this can then be taken into consideration if you want to negotiate the contract with the vendor.

With the listed building survey report, you’ll also find out what will be expected of you as the owner of the property. You’ll discover if any unauthorised renovations/alterations have been carried out by previous owners, which you could be penalised for when you assume ownership. On that note, your surveyor may be able to provide you with expert evidence to avoid penalties/fines in the future.

You could also use this opportunity to ask your surveyor about future works, discuss what might/might not be accepted and how to get permissions.

What survey do I need for a listed building?

A RICS Level 3 Building Survey is perfect for listed buildings. Carried out by a Chartered Surveyor, this survey is comprehensive and will detail everything you need to know about the listed building you’d like to buy.

What defects can be found in a listed building survey?

Following your Level 3 Building Survey, you will be given a report detailing any defects discovered. The surveyor will have checked the house from roof to foundations, including:

  • Structure
  • Building materials
  • History and development of the property
  • Comments on any alterations
  • The roof
  • Interior and exterior walls
  • The foundations
  • Advice on necessary and potential future repair work including a guide to costs.

The kinds of defects that could be revealed are varied but include structural problems; wiring issues; water source concerns; leaking roof… the list goes on. The only way to find out if there are problems is to book a survey.

Listed building may be more susceptible to damage as a result of poor maintenance. It is important that you understand how to maintain the building fabric based on its material and construction. Your survey will provide relevant advice.

Get in touch

If you’d like further advice or are ready to book a RICS Level 3 Building Survey for a listed property, please get in touch. Our experienced team will be happy to talk you through the process and answer all your questions.