Conservation Advice

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I have to pay VAT on repairs on my listed building?
A.
Yes. VAT has always been payable on repairs to all buildings but until 2012, if your building was listed, you might not have had to pay VAT on approved alterations. However, in the 2012 Budget the Government announced that VAT would be charged on all works of repair and alteration to listed buildings. The SPAB and other conservation bodies continue to lobby Government on this issue but as yet there is no hope of a change in the regime.

However there is a grant scheme for Listed Places of Worship that offers a ‘refund’ where VAT has been paid on worked to historic churches. In addition the HM Revenue & Customs website offers various VAT notices and information sheets.

Q. Does the SPAB offer grants towards repairs or maintenance?
A.
The SPAB is not a grant giving body. Indeed it relies on fundraising itself, and any donations would be most welcome. The Society does have one or two small funds for specific purposes, the significant ones being The Thomas Hardy Memorial Fund for repairs to buildings associated with him, particularly in Dorset; and the Misses Newcombe Bequest for repairs to almshouses in use. If you have a project that might be eligible from either of these specific funds, please write to the SPAB for an application form and further details.

Q. How do I find out about grants for a listed building?
A.
Grants for repairs to listed buildings are increasingly hard to find as money for them is extremely short. Do not rely on obtaining one. This is specially true for newly acquired buildings, where generally the grant making body will assume that the purchase price took into account the cost of any necessary repair and modernisation works. Policies may vary slightly in different countries of the UK, but are broadly similar. For private owners the main possibilities can be identified via two online databases:

Q. Where can I get advice on energy efficiency issues?
A.
If it is necessary to consider the thermal upgrading of your property then great care will be required in order to ensure that the chosen materials and techniques do not trap moisture within the fabric.  There is a substantial risk of interstitial condensation occurring if the materials are not specified appropriately.  Further advice on responsible approaches to upgrading the fabric of older properties can be found on the following websites and we strongly recommend that building owners make use of these resources:

The SPAB has also been carrying out some research into the energy efficiency of traditional buildings. More information can be found in our dedicated Energy Efficiency section.