Q & As Dispelling fears about Listed Building refurbishment
Common fears dispelled about works in Listed Buildings
A brief potted guide to answer some of the most commonly asked questions by those who are considering occupying a listed building
So, whether you want to know more about the listing process or what to consider when you want to make changes to your space & fabric, such as updating your windows, installing A/C, adapting the space for your office or shop our experience and this blog will help inform your decision whether to take the plunge with the risks associated with conversion and alterations to a Listed Building. It also covers some of the most common problems faced by choosing as your new office, shop, restaurant or other commercial venture such as dealing with damp.
Although this guide covers some of the most popular topics, HistoricEngland.org.uk website has lots more detailed information on listed buildings
What makes a building listed?
A building is listed when it is of special architectural or historic interest in a national context. Listed buildings have extra legal protection within the planning system.
Listed buildings come in many styles and sizes and range from terraced houses to simple country cottages and stately homes.
There are three categories of listed building, based on their significance:
Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest and only, 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest and just 5.5%of listed buildings are Grade II*
Grade II buildings are of special interest and the vast majority, 92%, of all listed buildings fall into this category. There are around 500,000 listed buildings in England, but it is difficult to be precise, because one listing for example can cover a clock tower and another a row of shops
Not surprisingly, the older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840
The more modern a building is, the more remarkable it will need to be if it is to be listed. Buildings that date from 1945 onwards need to be particularly carefully selected and usually a building must be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing
To help people to understand the selection process English Heritage publish selection guides for many different types of buildings that clearly set out how Historic England recommends a building for listing or not
How to find out about your listed building
A listed building is included on a statutory list – The National Heritage List for England which you can access through a portal to find out why the building has been listed, what aspects are to be preserved and what the status of the listed Grade
Listing started after World War II, earlier listings were for identification purposes only. The more recent the listing the more information should be available
Listing is a mark of special interest in a national context and most owners / occupiers are rightly proud of their special building. Inclusion on the National Heritage List for England means that the building makes a contribution to the specialness of England’s diverse historic environment. It can also increase the value of the property.
What parts of the building does a listing apply to?
A Listing covers the whole of the structure including the interior unless sections are explicitly excluded in the listing entry and will cover any part or structure fixed the fabric of the building and any object or structure within the building envelope which, though not fixed to the building forms part of the land
You should contact your local planning authority to apply for listed building consent or alternatively use a Listed Building Planning Consultant or a Contractor conversant with working on listed buildings to help. Local authorities have a statutory period to decide within 8 weeks though due to stretched resources in most local authorities this can be longer. Select Interiors have extensive experience working on Listed Buildings see link for a small selection of projects. We offer a full design and fit out service which we submit drawings and work in conjunction with trusted and cost effective Listed Building Consultants as a full package saving the headache of dealing with multiple agencies
What would happen if I refurbish a listed building without applying for listed building Consent?
Undertaking unauthorised works to a listed building is a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted. The planning authority can issue an enforcement notice and insist that all works carried out are reversed. You should always consult the authority, your consultant or contractor before any works are carried out. Usually your tenant’s fit out guide / Landlord’s surveyors will require a copy of your application approval for alterations as part of your lease agreement
What differences in construction of older buildings compared to modern methods?
Most listed buildings dating pre- World War I were built with either solid masonry or with a timber frame and in-fill panelling. These types of construction differ from modern buildings in that permeable materials were used which allow moisture – rain, groundwater and internal moisture to evaporate. The introduction of modern heating upsets the equilibrium and creates moisture though condensation. Also no damp courses, cavities, insulation and vapour barriers means that older buildings can hold more moisture
How can we treat walls and floors for damp?
Simply introducing for example insulation & vapour barriers introduced for example within a replacement floor slab can result in moisture being driven into adjacent walls / construction. Similarly injecting modern chemical damp course products into solid walls to solve the damp will be detrimental rather than solving penetrating or rising damp. Surface treatments to seal masonry will also be ineffective and will tend to trap moisture in rather than sealing moisture out
To illustrate our approach to the above question I include below 3 case studies:
A few Case Studies on how Select Interiors approached Grade II listing below:
1. How we worked with Manchester City Council, The National Lottery Fund and Didsbury Heritage Trust to sympathetically refurbish and treat damp within the Grade II Listed Old Parsonage in Didsbury
The above process included hacking off damp plaster to 1000mm high throughout ground floor which includes:
- Isolation and removal of period radiators
- Removing and replacing dry & wet rot infected timbers & joists
- Thorough cleaning of exposed masonry, treating with salt retarder and installing a tanking membrane through to void joists
- Additional air bricks were installed to further ventilate the floor void to help any penetrating / rising damp evaporate naturally
- The render was replaced with traditional Lime based mortar and skim finish
Removal of the original plaster which was retaining moisture due to ingress and activated hygroscopic salts in conjunction with the membrane which incorporated air pillows within the structure solved the damp problems. We also excavated a French type drain to the front & rear elevations filled with limestone crush to help wick away the rising damp. The combined treatments were modern interventions that solved the damp issues without compromising the period features
Removal of the original plaster which was retaining moisture due to ingress and activated hygroscopic salts in conjunction with the membrane which incorporated air pillows within the structure solved the damp problems. We also excavated a French type drain to the front & rear elevations filled with limestone crush to help wick away the rising damp. The combined treatments were modern interventions that solved the damp issues without compromising the period features. See images of completed project below
2. Case Study: How we designed & refurbished a 3 storey unit within the Grade II Listed Barton Arcade for Sync
The interior design and complete refurbishment of a Grade II listed building for GBM Group in Manchester’s premier retail site Barton Arcade on Deansgate. The project brief was to design, conversion & refurbish of a Grade II listed (both external envelope and internal structure) retail unit, the unit has three floors, a basement, ground with a single shop front on Deansgate and a double frontage to the 1st floor. The basement was converted to a high tec. workshop, the ground floor was converted to retail unit and the 1st floor a Boardroom, Breakout and Training / Conference facility
Works included: Demolition, structural waterproofing, electrical, mechanical, sprinklers, environmental control, structural works, general building, bespoke joinery, Oak woodblock flooring, decoration, glazed partitions, furniture, desks, storage and bespoke graphics & signage. Select Interiors provided a full ‘turnkey service’ including full drawings & design package submissions to Landlord, Listed Building and standard Building Control departments through to completion
Design drawings and rebrand from GBM to Sync by Select Interiors, branding by Jam Creative in partnership with the Select team
Draft 3D render of proposed fit out to include updated branding & graphics by Select Interiors Ltd
Completion of a Design & Refurbishment of Grade II Listed Building within the Barton Arcade, 63 Deansgate, Manchester by Select Interiors Ltd for Apple Partner GBM / Sync Ltd
3. Case Study: How we designed & refurbished a Retail unit within the Grade II Royal Exchange for Amaranth
The interior design and complete refurbishment of a Grade II listed building for Amaranth in Manchester’s Royal Exchange on St Anne’s Square. The project brief was to design, conversion & refurbish of a Grade II listed (both external envelope and internal structure) retail unit
Works included: Demolition, electrical, LED lighting, mechanical, environmental control, structural works, general building, bespoke joinery, Limed Oak LVT flooring, decoration, bespoke retail units & sales counter, storage and bespoke graphics & signage. Select Interiors provided a full ‘turnkey service’ including full drawings & design package submissions to Landlord, Managing Architects, Listed Building and standard Building Control departments through to completion
Before requiring demolition – dilapidation works prior to starting the project
Completion of a Design & Refurbishment of Grade II Listed Building within the up market Royal Exchange, St Ann’s Square, Manchester by Select Interiors Ltd for expanding nutrition health & beauty shop and treatments centre
We at Select Interiors ensure that the design and planning process is as painless as possible. We also, as illustrated above take a practical approach to solving the challenges of refurbishing Listed Buildings using the latest innovations, technology and materials to not compromise the integrity of a structures’ Listed Status
Talk to the experts about your listed building project, call the Select Interiors design team on 0161 445 4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org