Building Regulations Compliance: Listed Buildings and Other Heritage Assets

The building regulations (ref. 1) set standards for design and construction that apply to most new buildings and to many alterations to existing buildings, including listed buildings for the purposes of securing reasonable standards of health and safety.  

The building regulations only apply to new work and there is no general requirement to upgrade all existing buildings to meet these standards.  

Where an existing building did not comply with the regulations before the alteration, the work of alteration shall be carried out so that afterwards the building's compliance with the regulations is no more unsatisfactory.

The Building Regulations 2010 are supplemented by detailed technical guidance called 'Approved Documents', which are labelled as Parts A to P and further sub-divided.

Construction law can be complex, and the information below is intended as an overview. Specialist advice should be sought, or the local authority should be consulted, on a case-by-case basis.

Part L: Energy Conservation

One part of the regulations deals with the conservation of fuel and power (Part L of the Approved Documents) (ref. 2).  

Listed buildings, buildings within a conservation area or scheduled monument are exempt from compliance with the energy efficiency requirements of this part to the extent that the requirements would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of such buildings (ie would be harmful to their significance in NPPF terms) (ref. 3).

Separately, the following buildings are also subject to special consideration under part L:

The aim for these buildings should be to improve energy efficiency as far as is reasonably practicable without prejudicing the character of the building or increasing the risk of long-term deterioration (ref. 4).

The guidance given by Historic England from time to time should be taken into account in determining appropriate energy performance standards for building work in historic buildings (ref. 5).

Buildings that are used primarily or solely as a place of worship are exempt from part L altogether, although this does not extend to other parts of the building used separately for offices, meetings, catering etc (ref. 6).

Building regulations compliance is monitored and certified by officers of the local authority's building control department. Their advice should be sought when planning works as to what Regulations will apply and what procedures to follow.

Alternatively, there are accredited professionals who can provide building regulations approved on a 'self-certification' basis. 


(1) The Building Regulations 2010

(2) The Building Regulations Approved Documents (Parts A to P included)

(3) Paragraph 3.7 of Approved Document L1B, 2010 edition (as amended) and Paragraph 3.7 of Approved Document L2B, 2010 edition (as amended) 

(4) Paragraphs 3.8 and 3.9 of Approved Documents L1B, 2010 edition (as amended) and Paragraph 3.8 and 3.9 Approved Document L2B, 2010 edition (as amended) 

(5) Paragraph 3.10 of Approved Document L1B, 2010 edition (as amended) and Paragraph 3.10 of Approved Document L2B, 2010 edition (as amended) 

(6) Paragraph 3.14 of Approved Document L2B, 2010 edition (as amended)