Things to Think About When Working on Listed Building Roofs

One of the most common modifications done on Listed structures is roofing.  It sounds plain and simple, but the process is so much more complex than it appears.  Working on the roof of a listed property could be immensely tricky because you need to preserve the building’s fabric and character. There are regulations to comply with, meticulous planning to do, and issues to address.  However, the result would undoubtedly be worth the effort.  Here are four essential factors you need to consider when carrying out roof work on listed structures.

Types of Listed Building Roofs

The roofs of most listed buildings in the UK have three main parts: an internal timber structure, an outer covering, and the external portion that includes chimneys, spires and gutters. Roof materials vary widely depending on the location and age of the building. In England, for instance, most historic roof coverings are of natural slate, clay tile, or thatch, sometimes combined with leadwork.  Old thatching typically consists of combed wheat reed, water reed, or straw.  Many Georgian-influenced houses feature timber roof structures made of oak or elm and often bear carvings and roofers’ marks.

The external roof features, including chimneys, stone or clay ridges, and ornamental finials, add uniqueness to the building and establish its character.  Be sure to preserve them as much as possible; they can be taken down during the roofing process then re-attached later.

Gaining Listed Building Consent

Any alteration that could affect the character and appearance of a listed building requires consent from the local planning authority.  The strict regulations aim to preserve the original form and historical significance of listed properties. Repairs, changes to the design or colour, upgrade in materials, and other modifications are subject to an assessment.  Be sure to submit a comprehensive and detailed plan along with the application for consent.  Remember that carrying out work on a listed building without permission from the proper authorities is a criminal offence and could result in paying a fine.

Consider Curtilage

Curtilage is the area where the listed property sits on, including the land immediately surrounding it.  Often, if a building is listed, structures within the curtilage are also listed, including gates, walls, garden sheds, summer houses, barns and stables. Dwellings that are attached to a listed building (i.e., semidetached houses) could fall within the curtilage of the protected property.  In this case, homeowners need to get consent to make changes.

Curtilage listing can be quite complex.  It is best to consult with the local planning authority to confirm if the property in question is listed.  Consultation ensures that you do not violate any laws when carrying out work on a possibly listed structure.

Get Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to consult qualified professionals to avoid unnecessary or unsuitable work that could lead to paying a fine, or worse, damage to the property.  Be sure to choose experts who have the technical know-how and proven experience handling older houses or protected dwellings. Find specialist listed building architects who specialise in listed properties as they understand the nature of historic buildings and can use their expertise in designing appropriate renovations, remodels, or extensions.

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