Your Basic Guide To Listed Building Surveys


Listed buildings hold a special kind of appeal for many, and with their charm and variety of unique features, they offer homebuyers the opportunity to settle down in a period property with a rich history. However, taking on a listed building isn’t for everyone, and doing so can come with a whole host of problems that without a detailed property survey, may be impossible for the untrained eye to know anything about until it’s too late.

If you’ve got your eye on a listed building, it should be your priority to schedule a building survey from a local RICS surveyor at the earliest, as this will prevent you from being hit with any untoward and potentially costly surprises when you move in. But how do you choose the right survey for your listed building?

Firstly, let’s look at the definition of a listed building in England

Broadly speaking, a listed building is one that is of particular historic or architectural interest, and considered to be a structure of national importance. Listed buildings appear on the National Heritage List for England. There are roughly 400,000 such buildings listed in England, each of which can be placed into one of the following three categories, or grades:

  • Grade I listed buildings

This grade is the highest and is awarded to buildings that represent an exceptional level of interest

  • Grade II listed buildings

The majority of listed buildings fall into this category, and include those that are of special interest and worth preserving

  • Grade II* listed buildings

Buildings in this category are above Grade II and are of particular importance, while not being quite as important as Grade I listed buildings.

How will a listed building survey help you as a homebuyer?

Once you engage with an experienced local surveyor, they will carry out a listed buildings survey to help you determine which areas of the building are protected; this helps you understand what you’re permitted to do in terms of renovation work, decoration and repairs. Such a survey is essential for helping you understand the property’s condition inside and out, and to enable you to make the necessary plans for repairs or improvements that may be required. The surveyor will advise you of how much repairs are likely to cost, and you can then use that information to help you negotiate a fair price with the seller.

In addition to this, a listed building survey will help you discover whether any unauthorised work has been carried out on the building by previous owners, in the form of alterations or renovations, and which could see you incurring penalties when you become the buildings new owner.

Their advice and guidance can prove invaluable when trying to avoid such penalties in the future, and how you can go about gaining the appropriate permission to make any changes to the property.

What is the right type of survey for a listed building?

Ideal for all listed buildings in England, an RICS Level 3 Building Survey is carried out by someone known as a Chartered Surveyor, and is detailed and comprehensive, detailing everything you could possibly want to know about the listed building you wish to purchase.

What issues might a listed building survey highlight?

The detailed report you receive following on from the Level 3 Building Survey carried out by building surveying services in Salisbury, will highlight any defects detected, and may contain information pertaining to the following:

  • The building’s structure
  • Building materials used
  • Historical development of the building
  • Comments on alterations that have been made
  • The building’s foundations
  • Guidance related to repair work that may need to be made now, or in the future

While the specific types of problems detected in the report can vary hugely from property to property, common defects discovered may include issues with the wiring, concerns about the water source, a leak in the roof and so on.

For anyone buying a listed building in England, a professional survey can prove essential, and is the only way to help you better understand the cost of your investment, both now and in the future.

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