London – Listed Building Cleaning

lillywhites London - Listed Building Cleaning

The Criterion Theatre and Lillywhites, London.

This was one of our larger London projects in 2012.  This beautiful Grade II listed Victorian Theatre is situated on Piccadilly Circus in the busy City of Westminster.

What do the grades mean?

Listed buildings are classified into three grades:

  • Grade I buildings of exceptional interest, usually judged to be of national importance
  • Grade II* are particularly important buildings of exceptional interest and of outstanding importance
  • Grade II are other buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort to conserve them

Special Architectural Interest:

Importance displayed in terms of design, decoration or craftsmanship including intact examples of certain building types (related to both function and form), those demonstrating innovation in style or construction, or those displaying important aspects of historic vernacular tradition. While sometimes certain components of building may be of greater architectural interest than others the over all architectural character and interest of a building derives from an aggregate of its parts.

Special Historic Interest:

Association shown with important aspects of the nation’s social, economic, cultural, or military history and/or having an association with nationally important people. Historic interest extends to the fabric of the building and its integrity as an architectural artefact.

What does listing include?

Listing protects the whole of a building’s fabric (inside and outside, front and back, including any extensions made to it), fixtures (objects or items physically attached to a building including doors, fireplaces, skirtings etc) and any pre-1948 building or structure within the curtilage (including statues, outbuildings, boundary walls etc).

What is the List Description?

Each listed building has a list description. This is principally to aid identification. While list descriptions will include mention of those features which led a building to be listed, they are not intended to provide a comprehensive or exclusive record of all the features of importance, and the amount of information given in descriptions varies considerably. The full list is held by your council and can be viewed upon request.

What requires Listed Buildings Consent?

Consent is required for demolition of a listed building and any alterations which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.  The following is a non-exhaustive list of works that usually require listed building consent unless otherwise agreed by your council:

  • Extension
  • Replacement or alterations of architectural components (e.g. windows and doors)
  • Abrasive cleaning of a building
  • Removal or application of internal plaster, external render, claddings or linings
  • Extensive re-pointing
  • Damp proofing
  • Attachment of signage, external lighting, satellite dishes, alarm boxes
  • Re-roofing including stripping of a multi-layered thatch roof or change in roofing material
  • Insertion of flues and vents
  • Alteration of fireplaces and chimney stacks
  • External painting where a different colour or product is used to that existing, or where surfaces are currently untreated.
  • Removal or modification of structural timbers.
  • Removal or alteration of internal features such as doors, cupboards, panelling, floorboards and staircases.
  • Changes to the plan-form of internal rooms (e.g. blocking-up door openings, removal or insertion of partitions or staircases)
  • Works to to pre-1948 curtilage structures
  • Installation of solar panels or wind turbines

It is necessary for applicants to justify alterations to or demolition of a listed building.  This should be done in terms relevant to an understanding of the impact of the proposed works upon the character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

Other consents

Depending upon the situation Planning Permission or Advertisement Consent may be required in addition to listed building consent.  Where applicable applications should be made at the same time. Where a listed building is also a scheduled ancient monument, Scheduled Monument Consent only will be required.

Works within the curtilage of a listed building involving the construction, improvement or alteration of a building, enclosure, pool or fuel container will require Planning Permission

If considering making alterations to a listed building contact your council who will be happy to provide advice. Pre-application advice may be charged.

Repairs to Listed Buildings

Sensitive repair work does not normally require listed building consent, however it is necessary to contact the council in advance of any such work in order that a determination can be made as to whether works qualify as ‘repair’. As a rule of thumb ‘repair’ involves small scale maintenance works (e.g. replacement of a rotted window sill could be considered repair though replacement of the whole or substantial part of a window would be considered alteration and require consent).

A method statement and specification of materials used to carry out a repair job may be requested in advance in order to ensure that works are executed appropriately.

If considering making repairs to a listed building contact your council who will be happy to provide advice.

Appointing a contractor or agent

Working with listed buildings requires a sensitive and informed approach and application of particular skills. When appointing a contractor or agent (including surveyors, structural engineers and technicians) it is therefore important to ensure that they are 1. appropriately qualified, and 2. have demonstrable specialist experience of working with listed buildings.

A contractor must not go beyond those works for which listed building consent has been specifically granted. Unauthorised alterations or failure to comply with conditions on a grant of listed building consent constitute offences.


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