What is the Difference between a Property in a Conservation Area and a Listed Building?
A listed building can be located in a Conservation Area, but it doesn’t have to be. A Conservation Area is a defined zone where the aim is to keep the exterior of the properties in as original condition as possible, so no stone cladding or odd Romanesque pillars. That doesn’t mean to say you can work on them or refurbish features like the windows but anything you do must be as close to the original design as possible. Conservation Areas or CAs tend to be designated by local councils.
Listed buildings can be located anywhere, they don’t have to be in a Conservation Area. The regulations surrounding a listed building are far more rigorous than those that apply to a CA – this is a scheme run by central government. Essentially you can’t even knock in a nail to put up a picture in a listed building without obtaining consent first.
Managing Sash Window Repairs and Replacement in a Listed Building
The point of listed building regulations is to protect old and historic properties from the whim of what may be just a transient owner. A 300 or 400-year-old property will have had many owners during its life. Listed building regulations treat homeowners as custodians of national heritage rather than private owners. And remember, a property doesn’t have to be very old to be listed, there are other factors which can cause a property to be picked up by a local Listings Officer.
If your Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian listed home has old and draughty sash windows then naturally you will want to repair or replace them. Before you do anything, you will need to obtain listed buildings’ consent – it’s illegal to carry out work on the house without this. Any good sash window installer will know the rules that apply to listed buildings and will be keen to keep on the right side of them. There can be hefty fines for doing unauthorised work and often, illegal work must be reversed at the expense of the homeowner.
Windows are a key architectural feature on any house, even more so on an old or period property. Repairs and renovations on a listed building must use original materials so when that comes to windows, this usually means timber. The local Conservation Officer should be your starting point and they will assess the windows. If they are original and have specific features which demonstrate serious craftsmanship, then there may be restrictions imposed on what you can do. If the windows have already been replaced at some point in the past, then a Conservation Officer is usually less fussy about how much the current windows add to the historical aspect of the building.
Listed Buildings and Energy Requirements
Historic England state that new windows need to comply with minimum energy efficiency requirements as part of Building Regulations Part L. This is usually achieved with double or secondary glazing. Exemptions can be made for houses in CAs and listed buildings where complying with this standard would unacceptably alter the character and appearance of the window.
The moral of the tale is that if you have a home with sash windows that are listed or in a Conservation Area, always speak to the Conservation Officer before you undertake any changes to your windows.
We offer a restoration and repair service for historic homes and can patch in new sections to match the original timber profile, install new pulleys and outer linings and renew cords and beads. We also make quality new wooden sash windows which are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes to retrofit to a period property or for new builds.
Contact us here to find out more about our range of sash windows and restoration services.