Wednesday, 28 October 2015
How Buildings Get Listed
Anyone can submit a building for consideration to gain listed status. However, there are important steps which need to be taken prior to doing so.
How to get your building listed
Applications are made to English Heritage who investigates every nomination thoroughly. They look for evidence that the property in question is of "special historical or architectural interest", and formulate a recommendation based on their findings. When English Heritage has finished building a case, they put it before the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. Though the Secretary of State may seek other expert opinions before they make their ultimate decision, if and when their approval is granted the building gets included on the list of buildings that hold special architectural or historical interest. This process is protected by the 1990 Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act.
The initial assessment carried out by English Heritage is carried out over three stages. The first is a preliminary assessment of the information provided in an application, to establish whether the building in question has enough potential special interest to warrant further investigation. Assuming this stage is passed to a satisfactory standard, English Heritage undertakes additional research to confirm, bolster or disprove a property's interest credentials. The second stage might involve a site visit as well as a desk study, depending on how much information was revealed in the application and desk study. Usually the owner of the property will be consulted over an initial report, as will the local authority and applicant. Response will usually be required within 21 days, at which point (if no problems are found) the third stage involves producing a final recommendation for the DCMS.
Once the decision has been made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the owner, applicant and local authority are contacted to be informed of the outcome of the decision. Once a building becomes listed it falls under the jurisdiction of the planning system, meaning that more thought and consideration will go into making decisions about its future. Being listed does not necessarily prevent a building from being modified, extended, repaired or even demolished (in certain circumstance), but the decision to undertake any of these works will not be made at all lightly. A listed building's architectural or historical significance must always be weighed against any deficiencies in purpose or condition before a decision can be made.
Factors to consider
There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account when a building is being chosen for listed status. Lots of buildings might be interesting and old, but these facts alone may not be enough to get them listed. Age and rarity are big factors and any buildings that have survived since the 1700s (or earlier) in anything close to their original state are likely to already be listed. As time goes on, the criteria for choosing become stricter. Buildings built within the last thirty years need to be exceptionally special to achieve listed status, and buildings under ten years old are not eligible at all. Architectural interest can take the form of buildings that are important on a national scale, either as a result of their design, construction type or craftsmanship. Historic interest can be demonstrated because a building illustrates important aspects of national history (economic, cultural, social or military) or when they are closely linked to a historically important person/event.
Listed buildings might be harder to cover with listed building insurance from a standard insurance provider. Because listed buildings will typically be of non-standard construction or significantly older than the norm, the perception is that they are at elevated risk of being overly expensive to repair/rebuild when damaged. Whether this is right or wrong, home insurance for listed buildings is vital even though it might be harder to secure. With homeprotect you can get an online quote for listed buildings insurance at a competitive price, or even Grade 2 listed buildings insurance when need.