About historic buildings

Listed buildings account for just 2% of the total English building stock - approximately 375,000 buildings. Of these, 92% are Grade II listed, 5.5% Grade II* listed and a tiny 2.5% are Grade I listed. Although these numbers are relatively small, the most desirable period and historic properties are likely to be listed and there is a clear cachet in owning one of these properties. However, along with this prestige comes responsibility and limitations as owners of listed buildings are custodians for future generations.

Unauthorised alterations to the interior or exterior of any listed building can be a criminal offence. This includes other ‘curtilage’ buildings on the plot as well as objects fixed to the building. There is a common misconception that internal alterations can be carried out to Grade II listed buildings without requiring consent. However, this is not the case as all features of listed buildings are protected, regardless of whether they are mentioned in the listing description. Nevertheless, there is an acknowledgment that listed buildings must adapt in response to changing social and economic demands. Indeed, in our view this is the only way to ensure their survival. With sensitive handling, conversions, extensions, alterations, and improvements are often possible.

Work involving listed buildings requires expert skills due to the specialist techniques and traditional materials required. Skilful design, specification, project management and attentive cost control are essential for any projects on listed buildings. This is where Carter Jonas’ experienced historic buildings specialists can help.

Advice Carter Jonas can provide with regards to historic buildings

Our experts can provide a comprehensive whole life service for historic building owners, starting with pre-purchase advice, negotiations with Conservation Officers, sensitive design, assistance obtaining the necessary consents, detailed specification and project management through to completion. Also, our service does not end at that point as we can plan and schedule future maintenance to help aid with cash flow and avoid unwelcome surprises.

Our specific range of period and historic building services include:

  • Pre-purchase advice on the potential for alterations and improvements
  • Full and partial building surveys by our historic building experts
  • Feasibility studies
  • Architectural design
  • Obtaining planning and listed building consent, including supporting research, surveys and reports
  • Detailed design and building regulations approval
  • Detailed specification of the works
  • Energy advice specific to historic buildings
  • Fire safety, detection and alarm system advice specific to historic buildings
  • Disabled access advice specific to historic buildings
  • Security advice specific to historic buildings
  • Specialist historic building valuations and insurance rebuilding cost assessments
  • Project management, including obtaining competitive tenders, preparing contracts, regularly inspecting the work, monitoring and managing progress, certifying payments and undertaking ‘snagging’ inspections at handover, and final sign-off

Why choose Carter Jonas to provide you with historic building advice?

Our building consultancy professionals are located in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds and London. Our designated teams contain highly qualified and experienced chartered building surveyors who consistently provide a professional, effective, and personal service.

Our expert architects and building surveyors understand the unique demands of historic building works and are familiar and comfortable with the correct conservation and construction techniques. We consider it a privilege to have worked on a wonderful range of historic buildings, from grand colleges and houses to more modest cottages and barns. As we are based in historical cities, we are inspired by the many historic buildings of world class importance on our doorstep, however we are fully prepared to provide advice across the country and so we offer a truly national service.


Richard Love is a Partner, Head of Building Surveying in our London Commercial Team. Richard joined from Watts Group PLC where he worked since 2010, most recently as director in it's project consultancy group. Richard's role is to provide building consultancy services, including relocation management, contract administration, design, strategic procurement and conservation advice with our clients.

Career Highlights:

Ealing Town Hall:
Full external restoration of Grade II Listed Victorian Gothic town hall building. The project arose from a survey identifying incidences of dangerous stonework and the project incorporated extensive masonry repairs, reroofing, redecorations, stained glass replacement, access improvements and drainage improvements.  Works on site were delivered over an eight month period during which the town hall remained fully operational.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists HQ Relocation:
Project management services in respect of all aspects of the HQ relocation for this prestigious medical college.  The relocation centred around moving into a 50,000sq ft 1980’s office building and delivered a comprehensive strip out and refurbishment including the creating of canteen and catering facilities, conference space, library including antique book collection and sublet space.  The relocation was delivered in 9 months (inception to completion) and Richard also handled dilapidations matters on exit.

Career developments
Being appointed to the board overseeing the expansion of the Carter Jonas Commercial Division, which took place in early 2017. Also, managing the expansion of the Architecture and Building Consultancy team. The service line has doubled the number of specialists working within it in the last two years, becoming the largest team within the division. Further growth plans are currently in place for the next few years.

I can provide advice on:
Find me on Linkedin

Matthew is a Chartered Building Surveyor in the Chapel Place office. Matthew has undertaken various Building Surveying services to a diverse portfolio of clients, including Royal Mail, Salvation Army, Winchester Working Men’s Housing Society, Aurora Fashions and Network Rail.

His primary skills cover: Schedules of Work, Schedules of Condition, Party Wall matters, Planned Maintenance Repair and Refurbishment Contracts of various properties, Schedules of Dilapidations, Insurance Valuations , Fire Insurance Valuations, Contract Administration, Defect Diagnosis and Prognosis, Statutory Consents, Budget Costs and Pre-acquisition survey.

Career Highlights:

  • Shortlisted for Young Surveyor of the year in 2016.
  • Leading on Party Wall matters for whole Thameslink project over 5 year period.
  • Defending dilapidations claim on behalf of Tenant, resulting in a reduction of the Landlord’s claim from £4.9m to £1.45m
I can provide advice on:
Find me on Linkedin

Career Highlights:

  • Securing a portfolio insurance assessment in 2016 for over 150 assets in Greater London and Scotland.
  • Delivering a £700,000 CAT B fit out to fifth floor offices on Paternoster Square overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral in the Summer of 2015. 
  • Providing Lead Consultancy advice to major financial institution for CAT A refurbishment of 20,000 sqft offices in central Bath.
I can provide advice on:
Find me on Linkedin

Matthew Ellams is head of our project management team. He has considerable experience within the sector and has worked across a wide range of projects, servicing many different types of clients.

I can provide advice on:

Keith is a Partner in the commercial team and is based out of our Cambridge office.

I can provide advice on:

Career Highlights:

  • Project Management of the UK’s first retrospective fire pressurisation system on Grade II* listed tower building.
  • Conservation and Restoration of Grade II* listed 18thC Summerhouse.
  • Award Winning Conversion and Refurbishment of a Grade II listed farmhouse and range of traditional barns into a mixed use development.
I can provide advice on:

Keith is a Partner in the commercial team and is based out of our Cambridge office.

I can provide advice on:

Our latest publications

Building site with 'Building Consultancy' text overlay
Building Consultancy Brochure
Download PDF

What are the statutory requirements that can derail the reroofing of heritage buildings?