Building Surveys

About Our Listed Building Surveys

Listed building surveys are detailed inspections of buildings deemed as being of special architectural or historic interest. They identify defects or problems with buildings, and make recommendations for repairs or improvements.

Our surveys consist of two parts, a physical inspection of the property and a detailed report. This describes the condition of the buildings and other issues that may affect your purchase or occupation of the property. These surveys are suitable for traditionally constructed, historic buildings and provide the greatest level of detail.

Surveying listed, historic and traditionally constructed buildings requires experience, academic training and considerable mental agility. Making sense of what may be an amalgamation of different building phases can be challenging!

“Choosing the right surveyor is important, choosing the right survey is essential. At Nicholson Price Associates we deliver the right type of survey for your building. Our professionals are here to help you all the way!”

Our Approach

We are mindful that every building is unique and that it is likely to have been subject to later alterations using materials and techniques that can sometimes have unintended consequences.

Great care is taken to identify and record historically or architecturally significant fabric and explain the cause and implication of any defects that may be present.

Nearly all listed building surveys are non-destructive. Our training and experience allows us to provide a balanced realistic assessment of the risks posed by the potential presence of latent defects, and advise whether further destructive surveying may be appropriate.

“We understand that different building phases can have very specific age related defects, and that what may be considered a defect in one building, may be a normal characteristic in another”.

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“Our listed building surveys are usually undertaken by two people, this allows us to gather more site information and provide you with a more accurate and detailed report”.

Listed Building Surveys


What is a Listed Building?

A listed building is one that is on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The list is maintained by Historic England in England, Cadw in Wales, and Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland. Listed buildings are protected by law, and any alterations must be approved by the relevant authority. They are graded according to their significance. Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest. Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. Grade II buildings are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them.

What Sort Of Survey Do I Need?

This depends on the age and the structure of the building. If you are considering buying an older building which is pre-Victorian, there is a good chance that it may be listed. If the property has been substantially modified from its original conditions then it may not be. Many towns and villages around the UK have listed buildings, so it is worth searching the list here. If you find it is listed then you are advised to commission a listed building survey. If it is not then a full structural will suffice.

Should You Get A Survey on A Listed Building?

If you are thinking of buying an older building that is listed building, then you should commission a listed building survey. This is carried out by a specialist Listed Building Surveyor. This is a highly detailed and bespoke document that describes the condition of the building, and crucially, reveals whether any unauthorised alterations are present. Once you buy the building, you become legally liable for removing or making good any any unauthorised alterations.

It’s important to understand the condition of the building if you are planning to carry out any building work. The survey is vital in giving you all the information you need before commencing. If you want to make any changes to a listed building, you need to obtain Listed Building Consent from the local authority.

When it comes to insuring your listed property, a listed building survey helps the building insurance company to understand the risks, and ensure that the level of cover is correct

What is included in a Listed Building Survey?

Listed building surveys describe the condition of both the exterior and interior of the building, and any other ancillary buildings or curtilage structures. The only elements that is not inspected in detail are those that are out of sight, or those that require other specialists. Typically this includes underground drainage, electrical, mechanical, oil and gas appliances.

Unless you own the property to be inspected, all surveys are non-destructive, but the surveyor is normally able to offer an accurate assessment of condition without the need for any invasive surveying.

It is very important to contextualise the property and any defects to ensure that the report is well balanced. This means reflecting its age, type of construction and characteristics. An explanation of the architectural phasing, a description of materials, and any age or material specific problems are included, Also, how the building may have developed as a result of social, economic or other influence is also included.

Does the Survey Include A Report On Previous Permissions and Consents?

There is a thorough investigation to ensure that the appropriate permissions and consents have been obtained by the current or previous owners. More than 90% of the listed buildings have unauthorised alterations. Most aborted purchases occur because of unresolved planning matters rather than serious defects. The planning history is compared to the current condition of the building to identify any unauthorised changes, variations from planning conditions, and poor quality or inappropriate repairs. This requires a detailed knowledge of architectural history, historic construction techniques, materials, interior design, and the statutory legislation and guidance that protects listed buildings.

What Will A Listed Building Survey Reveal?

This comprehensive, non-invasive report is a different level to a full structural survey. It enables you to make a fully informed decision regarding the purchase, management, or development of the property. There is no requirement for any additional surveys for dampness, timber condition or structural defects.

How Much Does a Listed Building Survey Cost?

The cost varies depending on the size and complexity of the building. Every building is different, so please contact us using the form on this page for a no obligation survey discussion.

How Long Does a Listed Building Survey Take?

The survey itself typically takes one full day, followed by a post survey telephone discussion. The preparation of the report normally takes between five and seven days to complete.

What Happens After You Have A Listed Building Survey?

Once you have had a listed building survey you then need to decide whether to implement the recommendations. If you decide not to then you may be liable for any damage that occurs to the building in the future.

Are Listed Building Surveys Worth It?

If you are going to spend the money on buying an historic building, then it make sense to spend a relatively small amount to understand what the risks and opportunities are. Some defects are obvious but many are subtle and involve considerable expense to rectify. The cost of this type of survey is a tiny fraction of the property value.

Managing a Listed Building

A listed building survey is an important step in owning or managing a listed building. The survey helps you to understand the condition of the building and to make informed decisions about repairs or improvements. If you are considering buying, selling, renting, or making changes to a listed building, it is important to have a survey carried out by a qualified individual.

Further Reading including more information at the Listed Building Owners Club:

What is a Listed Building Surveyor?

A listed building surveyor is a professional who specialises in the surveying of listed buildings. They have expertise in building conservation, historic architecture, and building materials, which allows them to assess the condition of a listed building, identify any defects or areas of concern, and provide advice on how to preserve the building’s historic fabric. They can also help you understand the restrictions and regulations surrounding listed buildings.

They can be employed by individuals or organisations that own listed buildings, as well as by local authorities, heritage organizations, and conservation bodies.

Why Should I Employ a Listed Building Surveyor?

There are several reasons why employing a listed building surveyor is essential. Firstly, they have the expertise and knowledge to identify any defects or areas of concern that may not be immediately obvious. They can provide you with advice on how to address these issues, which can save you time and money in the long run.

Secondly, they can help you understand the restrictions and regulations surrounding listed buildings. This can be particularly useful if you are planning any alterations, extensions or renovations to your property. They can provide you with guidance on what is and isn’t allowed, and help you ensure that your plans are in compliance with the regulations.

Thirdly, is gives you peace of mind. By having a comprehensive survey conducted, you can be confident that you understand the condition of your property and any potential issues that may arise.

Why Choose Nicholson Price Associates?

We look carefully for signs of unauthorised or badly executed repairs and alterations. Importantly, we alert you to the legal and practical consequences – including a desktop planning audit. This involves researching the historic environment records and Planning Authority records. We look to see whether applications for planning permission or listed building consent have been submitted. Armed with this information we have a good idea of what the building should look like when we arrive for the inspection.

Keep in mind that there may be a requirement to remove or make good any alterations that have not received consent or have not been executed in accordance with the approved specifications or conditions. If alterations were made after the building was listed, regardless of who made the alterations, you as the incoming owner become fully liable.

Your legal representative, usually a conveyancer, issues a TA6 form to the vendor. This includes questions regarding any alterations or repairs that have been carried out. Unfortunately this cannot guarantee that the property is free from illegal alterations. Commissioning a survey from a qualified surveyor such as Nicholson Price Associates ensures that the possible presence of unauthorised alterations has been thoroughly investigated.

Our listed building surveys are bespoke, clear, concise. They provide well informed and pragmatic options for dealing with any defects. The conclusions and recommendations are based on sensitive and intelligent surveying. We understand the expected performance standards for the type and age of the building being inspected. In most cases we avoid deferring to others on important issues, and ensure that our clients receive the most comprehensive report possible.

Check out our article on Inside an historic roof

Call Us: 01978 447101

    "Choosing the right level of historic building survey is important, finding the right Surveyor is essential."

    “We understand that different building phases can have very specific age-related defects. What may be considered a defect in one building, may be a normal characteristic in another”.

    Get Expert Help

    Surveying listed buildings requires experience and academic training. Some buildings have long and ambiguous architectural developments spanning several centuries. Establishing what is a normal characteristic and what is a serious defect is one of the key skills of an organisation like NPA. When to intervene, monitor or simply do nothing and explain the reasons are important requirements.

    We have worked exclusively with Listed and Historic Buildings for almost twenty years. At NPA Heritage, we have high level academic training which has allowed us to develop a strong reputation as one of the leading historic building practices in Northern England and Wales.

    A family business with a low-cost business model providing high quality competitively priced listed building surveys.

    See Meet the Team for Consultant Profiles.

    “Our building surveys are usually undertaken by two people. This allows us to gather more site information and provide you with a more accurate and detailed report”.