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Secondary Glazing for Listed Buildings

When a building has been listed it is protected by law and Listed Building Consent might need to be obtained before any changes are made to it.

Repairs that match exactly may not need consent, but examples of work, which may do include changing (or adding) windows and doors, as the effect of any repairs is not always straightforward.

The owner of a listed building carries the responsibility of applying to their local authority for Listed Building Consent.

The first step should be to ask the authority’s Conservation Officer if your proposals are likely to be accepted before making a formal application, saving you the time and money of an unsuccessful application.

Your local authority will give you the appropriate form for making your application.

Usually, you will be required to replace ‘like with like’ in all aspects – materials, construction and finishing – although you may be allowed to upgrade the specification to include insulated sealed glass units and draught-proofing, subject to respecting the character of the building and taking proper account of the original case for the preservation order.

Local authorities have control of applications for Listed Building Consent and over minor changes but have to notify English Heritage when they first receive applications affecting buildings of outstanding national interest (normally those listed as Grade I or II).

English Heritage advises local planning authorities and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on the most important applications.*

Local authorities may refuse any Listed Building Consent, but subject to local variations, can grant consent for works to Grade III listed buildings.**

You will usually have to wait 6-8 weeks for a decision on your application. If consent is refused, you have six months to appeal to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

*Since 1993, agreements have been made between English Heritage and a number of London boroughs, delegating responsibilities to them for dealing with proposals for minor alterations to Grade II listed buildings.

**In Greater London, English Heritage has additional powers, inherited from the former Greater London Council, to direct the decisions of boroughs on all Listed Building Consent applications.

English Heritage can be contacted at

To contact your local authority visit

Conservation Areas

When a property is located within a designated Conservation Area (covered by an Article 4 Direction) then Conservation Area planning permission might need to be obtained before secondary glazing is installed.

Although the regulations allow for the use of any suitable material (e.g. wood, metal or uPVC), in practical terms this is not the case.

The considerations here are aesthetic and most modern materials cannot comply with the requirements to match as exactly as possible the dimensions, features and decorative mouldings etc. of the original.

You may not need to replace ‘like with like’ where the windows cannot be seen from a public thoroughfare, but you will need to discuss this with your local authority before submitting your application.

Your local authority will usually be able to send you a design guide for your area as well as give you the appropriate form for making your application.

To contact your local authority visit

Secondary Glazing for Listed Buildings FAQ’s

How do I know if my building is listed?

You can simply search the National Heritage List for England. Here you will find out if your home is listed and if so, at what grade.

What are the different grades of listing?

There are three categories of listing as follows:
  • Grade I for buildings that are offer historical significance or outstanding architectural interest.
  • Grade II*
  • Grade II the majority of listed buildings fall into this group, listed for special interest.

How can I get a building listed?

Contact Heritage England as the first port of call. They will require the application to be supported with new evidence relating to the historic and/or architectural interest of the building. You do not have to be the owner of the building and there is no right of appeal against a listing.

Does listing cover the entire building?

Yes, the listing covers the full interior, unless explicitly highlighted as being excluded in the list description. This also means any additional extensions or fixtures and structures that may be attached. Any land attached to buildings developed before 1948 will also be included in the listing under the term ‘curtilage.’

How does living in a grade listed building affect me?

There are limits to the changes you can make without receiving the appropriate building consent from your local planning authority. Listed Building Consent is usually the best starting place.

What work can I carry out on a listed building?

Building consent is only generally required when it involves altering the character of the building or the removal of historic material. ‘Like for like’ repairs and standard maintenance do not require building consent. For example, internal decorating and painting would not require building consent, but painting the exterior of a building could, because it may alter its character. The removal of fireplaces or doors would require building consent while replacing a new bathroom or kitchen would not.

Do I need Listed Building Consent to install secondary glazing?

In the vast majority of cases, you will not need to gain permission, which makes this an ideal alternative to double-glazing, as that is more often than not turned down. It is always worth remembering that under Building Regulations, listed buildings are exempt from energy efficiency requirements.


Please note that the information above is by no means comprehensive and is intended to provide only initial guidance for occupiers of Listed Buildings or properties within a Conservation Area. Should you require any further assistance, please feel free to contact one of our team members.