Listed Property Awareness Week: Living in a house with legacy
- Credit: Archant
With more than 5,600 listed buildings in the borough of Camden, many of which are homes, it’s important to know the challenges you face as an owner and how to deal with them. Listed Property Owners’ Club can help
Oh, the romance of sitting in an armchair beside a bay window, reading Daphne du Maurier and surveying the Heath from your 300 year old Grade I listed home.
There are more than 5,600 listed properties in the borough of Camden. From the Alexandra Park Estate to St Pancras Chambers, Swiss Cottage Central Library to Keats House, the variety is huge. As far as “buildings of special architectural or historic interest” go, we’ve got a lot of them.
This week is the inaugural Listed Property Awareness Week, organised by the Listed Property Owners’ Club (LPOC). All year round, LPOC offers advice and support for many issues surrounding ownership of listed properties. This week they’re spotlighting some of the things you might come up against if you live in a listed building and how to deal with them.
What is a listed building?
An older building is most likely to be listed, but newer buildings of very special architectural interest can also make the cut. Any buildings constructed before 1700, which have survived in close to their original condition, are listed.
The definition of building can be stretched pretty far, so phone boxes, bridges and grave stones can fall under it. This means that the many prominent historical figures buried in the area have had their headstones preserved for posterity.
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Listed status is divided into three ranks: grade I, grade II* and grade II. Grade I status must be of “exceptional interest”, grade II* listed are “particularly important, of more than special interest” and grade II, which make up the bulk, are of “special architectural or historic interest”.
What are the challenges?
While the famous historical sites of worship and leisure may be the most prominent, what do you do if you actually live in a listed building?
It may seem romantic to own a 300 year old house in Hampstead, but there are a number of everyday challenges to consider:
- Making a listed building energy efficient without using double glazing
- Sourcing traditional materials that match those already in situ
- Finding the builders with specialist skills for working on listed properties
- Insurance policies that take into account all of these factors
- Knowing which works will require listed building consent
Windows are one of the biggest challenges, especially as people attempt to be more energy efficient and reduce heat loss. There is a common misconception that double glazing is not allowed, when in reality, technological advances mean the glass can be manipulated to look authentic. On most period windows, however, it is undesirable. What is most crucial, is finding the right person who uses traditional methods and materials to do repairs or replacements.
Traditional work such as this can be expensive, so the correct insurance policy is essential to avoid extra costs. Insurance of listed buildings is specialised and has to incorporate considerations way beyond the requirements of an “ordinary” home. LPOC have a dedicated insurance team to help you out.
For more information visit The Listed Property Show at Olympia London this weekend (Feb 24-25); lpoc.co.uk.