Nothing is simple when it comes to listed buildings insurance

July 28th 2017

Anyone who has been involved with the renovation of a listed building knows that nothing is simple. From planning permission to builders, from dealing with damp and decay to the precise materials required, there is a prescriptive process which invariably adds complexity to any project. When it comes to listed buildings insurance, a simple household policy will not suffice and it makes life much easier if a specialist with experience in this area is involved.

The latest guidelines from Historic England provide the essential elements required to obtain planning permission and the general rule is that the architectural integrity of the building, and sometimes its curtilage, is preserved. Yet, the precise details will depend on the exact nature of the listing and the specific building involved.

Defined as having ‘special architectural or historic interest’, listed buildings can take many forms. Any building that was constructed before 1700 and is in something that resembles its original state will be listed, as will the majority of buildings constructed between 1700 and 1840. More modern buildings are less likely to be included on the National Heritage List unless they are of significant architectural interest.

Advice on the materials and techniques to be used in any renovation project can be obtained from local councils and, indeed, as the project progresses, the extent of their involvement will be surprisingly wide and thorough. Making any change to a listed building without consent is a criminal offence.

Sometimes planning permission will be dependent on undertaking more work than had been first envisaged. For example, an owner’s hand may be forced by means of an urgent works notice for an unused or part-unused property if it is found that the work has to be undertaken for the building to be preserved. If the work is not completed by the owner, the local authority is entitled to enter the property to undertake the work themselves and recover the costs from the owner.

So while the process of renovation is complicated, it is perhaps no surprise that insuring a listed building renovation is also far from simple. A standard home insurance policy is unlikely to meet the requirements of the project. It is therefore important to discuss listed building insurance with a broker experienced in this field. Lycetts has many years’ experience in listed buildings insurance and can advise on all aspects of cover. From the first arrival of the building team to the necessary steps to reduce future risk, we know and can advise on what is required.

Johnatan Lloyd 3

Jonathan Lloyd

Divisional Director

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