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Top Tips To Design Your Listed Building Extension

  • Be Sure You Want to Own a Listed Building: When you buy one of Britain’s 450,000 listed buildings, you are acquiring part of our national heritage, not just a new home. You become a custodian of your property on behalf of the nation. That not only brings you pleasure and interest in the architectural and historic associations of the building but considerable responsibility to look after the property for future generations.  You will be limited in terms of what you can do to alter or extend the building, and you will need, in virtually every case, to obtain listed building consent before making any changes. Listed building consent can take much longer to obtain than normal planning permission so you’ll need to be patient. You will also need to carry out maintenance and repair works using materials and skills that are often in short supply, and therefore more expensive

  • Take Advice: Consult an architect with the relevant experience and expertise before you think about altering or extending your building in any way. The earlier you do this the better to avoid rework and disappointment. An experienced architect will help you to stamp your own personality on your listed property, adapt it to suit your individual needs and make it more energy-efficient, whilst ensuring everything you do complies with the relevant legislation

  • Obtain Listed Building Consent: It is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised work to a listed building without consent. Remember that listed building consent is different to planning permission and often you will require both. When assessing the acceptability of a design, a Listed Buildings Officer will look at specific criteria. Do the proposals result in an unacceptable loss of an important part of the existing building? Are the changes proposed sympathetic? Does an extension harm the setting of the listed building? This can apply even to a separate building

  • Be clear about your brief - what you want to achieve. Make a list of the things that are important to you, but don't try to design the works yourself - leave that to the Architect. Take account of internal original features like staircases, fireplaces, windows and other historic features. They all form part of the listing including the garden, trees, walls and other external features

  • Think about what you need from a lifestyle point of view, What do you you want to use the extra space for. A bigger kitchen? Extra bedrooms? A light-filled family area with doors onto the garden? More space for older children or elderly relatives?

  • Design for the long term - think about the future as your needs change. We all know that children grow up frighteningly fast and your needs will change with them

  • What’s the right amount to spend? You don’t want to spend more than the house is worth, but at the same time, you want an extension that you will enjoy every day and that will hold its value when you do come to sell. Look at house values nearby - what does another house that has already been extended cost?

  • What's a realistic budget?  Seek help from your Architect about the likely cost of the work as early as possible and make sure you include VAT and professional fees. It might be possible to phase the work to make it more affordable over a longer period, but keep in mind your master plan and long term vision. Be prepared to scale back your aspirations by setting your priorities if the costs of your initial brief are too high

  • Choose The Best Architect You Can Afford: Architects are well worth the cost because with thoughtful evaluation and design they can meet, and often exceed, your expectations. The right Architect will add significant value to your project from the very first stage, so think of the Architect’s fees as an investment that will improve the value of your home

  • Work closely with your Architect to fully understand the design in detail before construction starts. Changes on site tend to lead to expensive variations, wasting time and money

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