top of page

What is a Grade II Listed Building?

Updated: May 22

There are around 500,000 listed buildings in the UK, according to The National Heritage List for England. Of all the grades, the majority of properties are Grade II listed. Whilst this might seem surprising, Grade II listed buildings are actually much more common than you would think, and make up around 92% of listed buildings in the UK. Let us explore these fascinating structures in more detail.

What is a Listed Building?

In the UK, a listed building is a structure that is of special architectural or historic interest and is of national importance, thus making it deserving of special protection. All listed buildings are recorded on the National Heritage List for England; a free and easily accessible database that can be used to discover listed buildings and their grading. A description of the listed building often accompanies the list entry. Although, it is important to note that some list entries as well as their accompanying descriptions are often more detailed than others.


Listed buildings can be divided into the following 3 categories:


1.     Grade I – Buildings of exceptional interest that are of the highest significance

These make up 2.5% of listed buildings in the UK. Notable examples include: Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral and The Royal Albert Hall.

2.     Grade II* - Especially important buildings that are of more than special interest

These make up 5.5% of listed buildings in the UK. Notable examples include: Battersea Power Station, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and the Cleveland Bridge.

3.     Grade II – Buildings of special interest.

Notable examples include: BT Communication Tower, Abbey Road Studios and the Birmingham Back to Backs.

Historic buildings in the UK

Owning a Grade II Listed Building

Owning a listed building may seem like a daunting prospect, but it's not all doom and gloom. One of the most common misconceptions surrounding living in a listed building is that it will cost you more to live in than a contemporary dwelling. However, this is isn't strictly true. Living in a Grade II listed building does not require you to have special home insurance and interestingly, the same factors are used to determine the premium you pay as are used for a non-listed building.

Nevertheless, because it is usually more expensive to rebuild listed properties, often involves appointing specialist trades and craftsmen, and may take longer based on whether your local planning authority delay works, the sum insured is likely to be higher, which can affect the premium you pay. As a result, some insurers will ask to see a professional rebuilding cost survey to ensure the sum insured is adequate and takes into consideration any special features, materials used, professional fees, and other factors. This will also help you avoid the risk of being underinsured.

Do you live in a Listed Building?

  • Yes

  • No

Altering a Listed Building

Much like any other listed building, Grade II listed buildings must be protected and maintained, to ensure that they can be can be appreciated and enjoyed by generations to come. As a result, should you wish to alter your listed building, or carry out any repair works, you will need to apply for, and obtain listed building consent from your local authority first. Following submission of the planning application, the local planning authority will consider whether the proposed works would adversely affect the character, significance, and appearance of the listed building, as well as whether the works are necessary to ensure proper maintenance and preservation of the building. There are a few things that you can technically do without consent from the local planning authority, such as repairing your Grade II listed home using like-for-like materials. However, it is always safest to check with the local authority first and/or to appoint a suitable heritage consultant to assist you, as even small fixtures and fittings may be included in the listing.

Alterations that you will require listed building consent for include:

  • Removing, inserting or replacing windows and doors.

  • Painting a building and erecting new signage.

  • Replacing a roof or undertaking repairs.

  • Adding solar panels.

  • Adding an extension, porch or conservatory.

  • Erecting any ancillary building within the vicinity of the listed building.

  • Erecting a new gate, fence or wall within the vicinity of the listed building.

  • Exposing original timbers or brickwork.


Failure to consult the local planning authority is a criminal offence and should you undertake works without planning permission, you may receive a fine or be threatened with more serious legal action. You will also be liable for a listed building enforcement notice, which would allow the local planning authority to reverse any work that was carried out illegally. As the homeowner, you would also be responsible for financing the work to change the house back to its original condition.


Living in a listed building doesn't have to be a chore. If you've got a question about your listed dwelling, or need some advice, get in touch today at Blue Willow Heritage are here to help, every step of the way.

40 views0 comments


bottom of page