Listed buildings

Guidance on common work to listed buildings

We've put together some guidance on common work carried out on listed buildings. Listed building consent is needed for all work which will change the character of the building. You don't need it for like for like repairs or general maintenance.


Damp is often misdiagnosed in historic buildings. You should try to find and treat the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. The most common source of moisture is caused by faulty ground and surface drainage, which can be found in nearly every building.

We strongly recommend that you get an independent survey done (for example, by a chartered surveyor) to assess the problem and how to treat it.

You can check Historic England for more information on understanding decay in buildings, including how to spot potential problems. 

Brickwork and repointing

Bricks and mortar should match the existing materials where possible. If you need to repoint a wall, a traditional lime-based mortar should be used. Cement-based mortar will damage older buildings as it doesn't let the walls 'breathe' and can lead to damp. Original uncovered brickwork should not be rendered or pebble dashed.

See Historic England's guidance on repairing external walls

Rendering and plastering

Render is a decorative layer of plaster that protects the wall from the weather.

You should use the same mix and strength for repairs as the render already on the wall. Hard cement-based mixes shouldn't be used as they create a waterproof barrier that stops any moisture in the wall from evaporating, causing damage to the building.

Slate, tiles and thatch

Natural Welsh slate is recommended for historic buildings. Some imported slates may be suitable but must be checked by us for colour and quality before you use them. Find more advice on replacing or repairing slate roofing.

Replacing a thatched roof on a listed building must be done with long-straw thatch. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) has more information on thatched roofs

Windows and doors

All original windows should be kept and repaired where possible. In most cases a repair will be possible and you won't need listed building consent, but you will need consent to replace it. Replacements must be a custom-made replica of the original. Plastic (PVC) and aluminium windows aren't suitable for use in listed buildings.

Double glazing is only allowed in exceptional cases as traditional sash or casement windows can't easily accommodate double glazing units. You can improve insulation and reduce noise by draught proofing and fitting secondary glazing behind the original windows.

Find more guidance on windows on SPAB's website

You should always keep and repair an original door. If it's not possible, the new one should have a traditional design, appropriate for the age and style of the building.

Historic England have more advice on repairing or replacing internal and external doors.