Listed buildings advice

How are buildings chosen/listed?

Most buildings were listed in the national re-survey of listed buildings which began in 1970, and has just been completed. Additions to the list can still be made to take account of buildings or structures that may have been overlooked. This process can take several weeks, or, in an emergency, less than a day. The procedure is known as spot listing, and these buildings have the same status as other listed buildings.

How are buildings chosen for listing?

The main criteria used are:

  • architectural interest: all buildings which are nationally important for the interest of their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques, and significant plan forms
  • historic interest: this includes buildings which illustrate important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history
  • close historical association with nationally important buildings or events
  • group value, especially where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic unity or are a fine example of planning (such as squares, terraces and model villages)

The older and rarer a building is, the more likely it is to be listed.

All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most built between 1700 and 1840. After that date the selection criteria becomes much more stringent with time. This is because of the increased number of buildings erected and the much larger numbers which have survived, so that post-1945 buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed.

Buildings less than 30 years old are very rarely listed, and only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat.

More information can be found on Historic England's website.