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LISTED BUILDINGS BY DAVID HORNSBY B.Sc., FRICS

By undertaking up to 3 surveys per week on listed buildings throughout the UK I have developed what I have described as a "total" service for prospective purchasers and my reports are significantly more detailed than being just a building report relating to a listed building.

Listed buildings by their definition are properties which display some special interest which makes them stand out as a heritage assets over and above the normal interest of an ordinary property. That special interest can relate to architectural, historic or works of art and the degree of interest of the property is reflected in the Grades of listed buildings(Grade 2, Grade 2* and Grade1 ) Grade1 is the highest order of listing and relate to properties regarded as being of "exceptional interest".

When looking at listed buildings it can be difficult to understand what is special about a particular property which warrants the listing. This is partly recognised by English Heritage in the Publication in March 2010 of "Planning Policy Statement 5 - Planning for the Historic Environment" and it places a responsibility on owners of listed buildings to provide a "statement of significance" should they apply for consent in the future to alter the property. This is a new requirement but reflects the fact that in many cases the actual description of the listing is limited and in some cases inaccurate. "Significance" is regarded as the sum of all the various points of interest which makes the property stand out from being an ordinary property.

Since the publication of the Planning Policy Statement, a number of clients have been able to use my pre-contract historic building survey report to enter into discussions with the local planning authority in terms of later applications with particular reference of ascertaining the "significance" of a property.

Historic building surveys of listed buildings require much more detail and a further level of expertise than a building survey and the following features are present on my service:

1) Evaluation of the circumstances of the original listing and alterations to the listing

2) Analysis of the original construction and subsequent alteration works undertaken

3) Historic documentation relevant to the property including the setting of the property

4) Unlawful alteration works undertaken by current, or previous owners

5) Consideration of the performance of the structure and component parts

6) Schedule of the condition and immediate repairs necessary (having regard to best practice)

7) Consideration of damp and timber issues

8) Recommendations regarding future maintenance programmes

9) Calculation of rebuilding costs for insurance purposes

10) Advice regarding potential alterations requiring a listed building consent

11) Additional advice regarding purchase price and negotiation service by arrangement.

My survey reports are extensive in detail but aim to provide clients with the maximum amount of information that is available, from the limitations of the inspection, in order to make an informed decision regarding the purchase. From this point of view, the survey reports are "total reports" providing clients with a high-quality level of service based on expertise. Where works are recommended an indication of likely cost is given and often this can form the basis of further discussions with the vendors. An important feature of the inspection is being able to understand how the building was originally constructed and how and why it has been altered in subsequent times.