Making alterations to a listed building

Making alterations to a listed building

If a building is listed you must get consent to demolish, alter or extend it in any way that would affect its historical character.

If a building is listed, you’ll need listed building consent to make changes to:

  • the inside and outside of the building
  • any object or structure fixed to the building
  • any object or structure that forms part of the land and has done since before 1 July 1948

What you can and can’t do to listed buildings

Listed buildings are considered nationally important and have extra legal protection within the planning system.  This means you’re restricted over what changes you can make to a building's interior and exterior, and making changes without consent is against the law.

Listed Building Consent will be needed for most types of work that affect the 'special architectural or historic interest' of the building, like changes to the original layout, loss of historic fabric, or changes to historic features.

Regular maintenance and some relatively minor work might not need listed building consent. If this is the case you can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness.

Apply for listed building consent or get a Certificate of Lawfulness.

Repairs to roofs

As long as the repairs you’re carrying out use the same materials and construction methods and you’re only removing damaged items then it’s likely that the work can be covered by a Certificate of Lawfulness. These are also known as ‘like-for-like’ repairs.

Replacing windows

If you need to change your windows then you’ll probably need either Listed Building Consent or a Certificate of Lawfulness.

It's unlikely consent will be given if you use non-traditional materials such as uPVC or aluminium where it replaces traditional timber joinery, even if it follows the same glazing pattern.

Adding secondary glazing that doesn't involve the loss of original fabric can usually be covered by a Certificate of Lawfulness.

Replacing single with double-glazing might be acceptable in some locations but not in more sensitive locations or where the traditional glazing bars are too narrow. Secondary glazing or an alternative solution may be needed.

See our Traditional Windows: Guidance on their repair, upgrading and replacement (pdf, 1.4MB) (opens new window) for further advice.

Using new materials

You’ll probably need Listed Building Consent or a Certificate of Lawfulness if you’re introducing new material to the building or removing original fabric.  This includes painting, re-rendering, cladding, re-roofing, and changing windows and doors.

Energy saving and renewables

Low impact energy saving measures like draft proofing, loft insulation and boiler upgrades that will have minimal impact on the building but provide a big energy saving benefit can be covered with a Certificate of Lawfulness.

More disruptive work like internal or external insulation will usually need Listed Building Consent.

Adding renewable energy solutions like solar panels or air and ground source heat pumps might be acceptable but you must check with us first.

Find out if you need consent

You should check with us to see whether you’ll need consent to do the work, especially if you’re planning major alterations or extensions. Contact us at conservation@bristol.gov.uk or 0117 922 3000.