Listed Building architects
London architectural and heritage guide
Inspiration and ideas
As Listed Building architects our work includes heritage and listed buildings of important historic and architectural significance across London.
George Omalianakis, BA (Hons) B.Arch Pg Dip ARB RIBA is a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and an RIBA Conservation Registrant which means he has expertise, knowledge and skills in working with historic buildings and conservation areas.
It requires passion, specialist knowledge, forensic attention to detail, a deep understanding of historic construction methods, empathy for the time the building travelled, an ability to recognise the changes that happened over this period of time, a foresight of bringing a new lease of life and making a Listed Building compatible with modern living.
When you own a Listed Building you become its custodian and fundamentally responsible for protecting it for future generations. You can always make some alterations to it and often enough you simply need to modernise it to maintain its features, use and character.
A careful modernisation programme of renovations and extensions, after obtaining all relevant listed building consent and planning approvals, will enhance your property and allow it to meet your requirements to the extent these requirements are compatible with the historic and architecturally significant character of the property itself.
We have the expertise and heritage experience to assist you as Listed Building architects, and our typical services will include the following:
- We will carry out a detailed measured and photographic survey of the property,
- We will advise on the alterations, renovation or extension works that are likely to be approved by the planners and the conservation officer,
- We will liaise directly with the planning and the conservation officers at pre-application stage as part of a feasibility study to obtain advice and feedback on our initial proposals if necessary, and
- We will prepare heritage statements, schedules of works, reports and details drawings and make the combined planning and Listed Building Consent application on your behalf.
Below we have hand-picked some of our Listed Building architectural and heritage projects for inspiration and to give you an idea about what might also be possible for your own project.
Listed Building architects and heritage guide – Design aspirations and key considerations
• Understand what you can and what you can not do the property
This will depend on the type of Listing of the property (Grade I, Grade II, Grade II* or Locally Listed) and it will also depend on the specifics of the Listing itself. This means that even when two properties have the same type of Listing Grade different type of alterations might be considered to be suitable depending on the detailing of the fabric of each property and its historic or architectural importance.
A specialist heritage architect should be able to give you an indication about the changes that might be deemed acceptable however it is ultimately for the local authority Conservation Officer to review any submission made and take a view on the suitability of any proposed alterations.
It is important to accept that you might not be able to carry out all the alterations you have in mind. At the same time you might be surprised to find out that contemporary extensions to Listed Buildings might be acceptable when they are sensitively designed. At the same time the replacement of an old door panel or a staircase might not be allowed for the very same Listed Building due to its significance.
This might appear arbitrary however often enough the justification is found in the specific historic and / or architectural importance of each building element and this forensic level of analysis is required across the whole of the Listed Building.
We will be able to advise on what alterations will complement the original historic fabric with traditional or contemporary features and materials.
This includes how to improve thermal and acoustic insulations levels to improve energy performance, what internal finishes will be in-keeping with the historic and architectural character of the Building, and what associated layout changes will be compatible with modern family life and enjoyment.
• Time, cost and complexity
It is advisable that you appoint architects that have a wealth of experience working with heritage and Listed Buildings.
You might also need the additional assistance of specialist heritage consultants who will prepare reports, statements of justification for the changes you are planning to make, detailed descriptions of the materials to be used and construction methods employed, and a evidenced assessment of the existing type of construction and its current condition.
It is not unusual for planners to require on-site inspections to check that they are happy with the materials in-situ, such as lime plastering and samples of stonework. It is also not unusual for the planners to request sample materials and finishes from the Listed Building architects who make the submission to pre-approve at planning stage as part of obtaining the combined planning and Listed Building consent.
During the tendering stage you will need to look for contractors with specific experience, skills and knowledge of working with Listed Buildings and there is a premium to pay for their construction services and expertise.
• All works to a Listed Building will require prior consent, including curtilage buildings, objects and structures fixed to the Building; it is a criminal offence to carry out any works to a Listed Building without obtaining approval first.
The specifics of the Listing of the Buildings will give you an outline of what has been Listed however any alterations will always require prior Listed Building Consent and planning approval too when the alterations are also relevant to separate planning policies.
According to Historic England (Listed Buildings Identification and Extent),
“In general, a structure attached to a building, such as adjoining buildings or walls, will also be covered by the listing if the structure was ancillary to the principal building at the date of listing.
An object fixed to the principal building, such as a shop awning or a chandelier will be protected by the listing if it is a ‘fixture’ according to the established principles of land law.
The key considerations in determining this are:
- The method and degree of annexation of the object to the building, the ease with which it can be removed and the damage caused to the structure or object by its removal; and,
- The objective and purpose of the annexation to the building – whether this was for the improvement of the building or for the enjoyment of the object itself.”
Listed Building architects and heritage guide – Types and options for your home project
As architects who specialised in Listed Buildings we have tried to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions and we hope we can give you some general answers about the types of development possible and the options for your Listed Building and heritage project.
We will assess your requirements, we will provide you with specific advice about what the planners and conservation officer are likely to accept for your project, and how we can help you obtain Listed Building Consent and planning approval as your Listed Building architects for any project across London.
• What is a Listed Building?
According to Historic England – Listed Buildings Identification and Extent, “If a building is considered by the Secretary of State (for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) to be of special architectural or historic interest it will be included in a list of such buildings.
There are around 400,000 listed building entries in England. Listed buildings are classified into three grades:
Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest. Just 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. 5.8% of listed buildings are Grade II*.
Grade II buildings are of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them. Over 90% of all listed buildings are in this grade.
The special interest may arise from the contribution the building makes to the architectural or historic interest of any group of buildings of which it forms part (group value). Many buildings are interesting architecturally or historically but in order to be listed a building must have special interest.”
• What is a Locally Listed Building?
According to Historic England – Locally Listed Heritage Assets, “There may be many buildings and sites in a local planning authority’s area that make a positive contribution to its local character and sense of place because of their heritage value.
Although such heritage assets may not be nationally designated or even located within the boundaries of a conservation area, they may be offered some level of protection by the local planning authority identifying them on a formally adopted list of local heritage assets.
Whilst local listing provides no additional planning controls, the fact that a building or site is on a local list means that its conservation as a heritage asset is an objective of the NPPF and a material consideration when determining the outcome of a planning application.
[…] However, local listing provides a sound, consistent and accountable means of identifying local heritage assets to the benefit of good strategic planning for the area and to the benefit of owners and developers wishing to fully understand local development opportunities and constraints.”
• Where can I find Listed Building guidance for my project?
Neither your London local authority nor Historic England prepare appraisal documents and guidance on what alterations are acceptable to each of the 400,000 Listed Buildings across the country.
This is because each Listed Building is considered to be unique with a distinct character, history, heritage or architectural importance. Listed Building architects will be able to assess the heritage Listing of the property and give you initial advice about the alterations that might be accepted.
Any alteration, extension or demolition to the exterior, interior or grounds will require consent from the planning authority. This includes the shape, the geometry and use of specific rooms across the property, including the creation of openings between rooms.
It will always come down to the local authority Conservation Officer to review any detailed and evidence-based submission made and to take a view on what alterations are necessary for the longevity of the heritage assess and on what alterations are indeed in-keeping with its distinct historic and architectural character.
• Should I engage with my local authority before making an application?
Yes, this could be useful. It will help us understand, at an early stage, what alterations will be acceptable, what alterations will be not acceptable, the extent of the modernisation programme we will be able to carry out, matters of cost, time and complexity that need to be explored and resolved ahead of making a combined planning and Listed Building Consent application for approval.
• Listed Building house extensions – Is it possible to extend my Listed Building property?
Most likely, yes. We have carried out a number of extensions to nationally and locally Listed Buildings and you can find examples of our work in our Portfolio page.
This includes a two storey rear extension to a Listed property at EC1, a rear extension to a Listed property at WC1, and a vaulted curved roof contemporary extension to a Listed house at N1.
• How can I check if my property is Listed or not?
For Locally Listed Buildings some London local planning authority websites will allow you to carry out an online search if you enter your postcode and address details. If ever in doubt please email your planning department with your address and ask them to confirm if your property is Locally Listed and / or a property of heritage value.
If your property is nationally Grade I, II, or II* Listed then it is likely that you know this already at the time of purchase, and a solicitor would usually identify if a building is Listed when it is purchased due to the additional legal obligations of ownership.
To find if your property is listed in England please search through the The National Heritage List for England.
BOROUGH SPECIFIC ARCHITECT AND PLANNING GUIDES FOR YOUR HOME PROJECT
Your local Council will have in place design and planning requirements for your home project and you will need to obtain planning approval for a wide range of extensions and alterations to your property.
When you get in touch we will offer you detailed advice about what is likely that your Council will approve and in the meantime we have prepared the following architectural and planning guides that include extracts of the relevant planning policy and examples of our projects in our Borough.
Barnet residential architect and planning guide, Camden residential architect and planning guide, Enfield residential architect and planning guide, Hackney residential architect and planning guide, Hammersmith Fulham residential architect and planning guide, Haringey residential architect and planning guide, Hounslow residential architect and planning guide, Islington residential architect and planning guide, Kensington and Chelsea Conservation architects, residential and planning guide, Lambeth residential architect and planning guide, Lewisham residential architect and planning guide, Newham residential architect and planning guide, Redbridge residential architect and planning guide, Richmond residential architect and planning guide, Tower Hamlets residential architect and planning guide, Waltham Forest residential architect and planning guide, Wandsworth residential architect and planning guide, Westminster residential architect and planning guide
See our guides for ideas, inspiration and architectural advice for your home project.
Side extensions London residential guide, Rear extensions London residential guide, Kitchen extensions London residential guide, Roof extensions London residential guide, Residential renovations London guide, Mansard roof extensions London residential guide, Contemporary extensions London residential guide, Flat extensions London residential guide, Garden flat extensions London residential guide, House extensions London residential guide
We have prepared a guide on the type of Architectural plans you will need for your home project, and another guide for Terraced house extension plans that includes advice on detached and semi-detached properties as well.
See what we can do for you.
Introducing GOAStudio London residential architecture limited
“George Omalianakis Architecture Studio – GOAStudio London residential architecture” was set up in 2009 to provide architectural services and assist home owners with their residential projects across London.
George Omalianakis is a multi-award winning chartered architect with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB), and has extensive experience in working on a variety of residential, commercial and educational sectors.
Which? magazine residential expert and contributor. Ideal Home magazine residential expert and contributor. Member of the Green Register of Construction professionals.
We are creative problem solvers who will deal with any construction, planning, and design issue relevant to your home project.
GOAStudio London residential architecture limited, 86-90 Paul Street, EC2A 4NE, Hackney
t: 0203 984 3005