Guide to eligible works

General principles

All work must respect the character and integrity of the building and the Conservation Area. This is in accordance with the relevant national conservation policies and following published guidance and advice issued or endorsed by Historic England.

All eligible projects have to consider their environmental impact. They should make a contribution towards addressing issues such as energy conservation, recycling and the use of local resources, traditional materials and skills.

A grant will not be paid for work that does not meet generally accepted standards of quality and accuracy in materials or workmanship appropriate to the circumstances.

Tenders should only be invited from contractors known to be able to achieve the high standard of quality required. References will be required from chosen contractors to demonstrate proven ability and experience of conservation projects. The THI Officer needs to approve contractors before tenders are sent out to them.

Eligible categories of work

Repair works to buildings in use

This category includes the structural and external repair of historic buildings which are in use. Repairs can be grant funded alongside reinstatement works.

The objective of the building repair category is to put into good repair the structure and external fabric (envelope) of buildings that make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area. Repairs should be comprehensive in scope, using appropriate techniques or methods of construction and appropriate natural or traditional materials, normally on a like-for-like basis. The environmental impact of repairs must be considered. Substitute or artificial materials are ineligible, and their use is generally unacceptable on grant-aided projects.

Grant rate

70% of the eligible cost.

Eligible repairs may include:
  • Consolidation or reinforcement of the existing structure, using the most conservative approach that is practicable, although limited reconstruction in line with the existing structure is eligible if unavoidable and supported by clear documentary evidence. The survival of vernacular (locally distinctive) building techniques, often found in town buildings behind later finishes, is very important, and repairs should be in compatible materials. 
  • Appropriate repairs to timber frames, roof structures, beams, floor joists and other structural timbers, based on a careful and comprehensive survey of the existing structure. We cannot accept in-situ reinforced resin repairs to structural timbers unless justified on the grounds of avoiding major disturbance of historic fabric. 
  • Dry rot eradication and appropriate conservation-based timber preservative treatments. These must be based on an analysis and specification by an independent consultant with conservation expertise and use non destructive techniques and non-toxic applications. The consultant’s fees are also eligible for grant. 
  • Damp-proofing by traditional methods, but only where damp is causing structural damage to the building. Damp-eradication measures, such as improved drainage, the introduction of French drains or the lowering of ground levels, are preferable where practicable. 
  • Re-roofing in natural materials traditional to the area, normally to match the historic covering. This should be done by using new materials and/or re-using sound existing materials from the same roof where possible. Re-roofing with available but substandard artificial or alternative materials – such as concrete tiles, asbestos cement slates, reconstituted slates or artificial stone slates – is not eligible for grant. Reclaimed stone slates from other buildings should only be used when the source can be proven. The use of roofing felt for flat roofs or lining gutters is also unacceptable. Repairs to the roof structure and high-level external elements should be undertaken at the same time as re-roofing. 
  • Repairs to chimneys, including lining or rebuilding if structurally essential, provided that the chimney is reinstated accurately to the historic height and profile. The replacement of the historic style of chimney pots/cans is also eligible for grant. The retention and repair of existing stacks may be a condition of grant offered to other works. 
  • Repair or renewal of existing leadwork, the provision of weatherings and the re-forming of gutters to adequate falls, normally in line with the details and codes recommended by the Lead Sheet Association in ‘The Lead Sheet Manual’. 
  • The repair or replacement of rainwater goods or a rainwater disposal system in a building to match the historic material and sections. Generally, this will be in cast iron, but occasionally in lead, timber or stone, where appropriate. Aluminium, plastic, PVC or GRP rainwater goods are not eligible. The addition of rodding access for easy maintenance should receive particular attention. 
  • The repair of external stonework and brickwork, including decorative elements, to an appropriate specification. Plastic or in-situ resin-based mortar repairs to brickwork and stonework are not normally acceptable or eligible. 
  • Selective rebuilding of existing stonework and brickwork, if structurally necessary and to an agreed specification. Generally, this will involve using salvaged existing materials and/or new matching materials, and should be preceded by a record survey of the existing stonework/ brickwork. Only re-pointing which is structurally necessary, kept to the absolute minimum required and carried out to an appropriate specification, is eligible, using lime-mortar where appropriate. Comprehensive re-pointing for cosmetic reasons is normally not eligible. 
  • The repair or, if necessary, reinstatement of the historic pattern and detail, in the historic material, of windows, external doors and other external joinery which contributes to the character of the building and/or the conservation area. Where the existing windows and their setting into the external walls allows sufficient space for internal secondary glazing to sit within the window reveal without compromising panelling or shutters, well-designed secondary glazing may be considered. This could improve energy performance with little impact on the appearance of the building. 
  • Repairs to external render and limited areas of renewal (there should be a presumption against total or substantial renewal), to an approved specification. If such a coating has been removed in recent years to the detriment of the performance and appearance of the building, its reinstatement may be the most appropriate form of repair. 
  • The external cleaning of stonework and brickwork is eligible where there is such a build-up of dirt, paint or resin coatings on the surface that this must be removed in order to assess the extent of necessary repair, or where the surface build-up is damaging the fabric of the building due to a chemical reaction. Cleaning for aesthetic reasons is only eligible if it significantly improves the building and conservation area and does not cause damage to the stone-and brickwork. Any cleaning which is confirmed as eligible must be done to an approved specification, based on trials and carried out by specialist conservation contractors. 
  • The repair or reinstatement of retaining walls, boundary walls and/or railings that contribute to the stability of the building, enhance its setting, or contribute to the character of the conservation area.
Ineligible works:
  • Routine maintenance 
  • Redecoration 
  • Internal repairs

We can fund redecoration if it is needed as a direct result of eligible repair and the public has access to the building by virtue of its use, such as a restaurant or shop.

We can fund internal repair works if these are necessary for structural stability.

Reinstatement and restoration of architectural features

The reinstatement and restoration of architectural features is only eligible where the building is otherwise in good repair, or will be repaired as part of the project and clear documentary evidence is available. The restoration of architectural features can, if necessary, include the reinstatement of missing details. Reinstatement and restorations can be grant funded alongside repair works.

Grant rate:

75% of the eligible cost.

Eligible works:
  • The repair to the historic pattern and detail of distinctive architectural features, for example architectural sculpture, tiling and other historic finishes and decorative ironwork such as roof finials, balconies, canopies and railings. 
  • The repair of applied details and features such as cornices, string courses, window architraves, columns, pilasters and rusticated rendering. These should be repaired carefully and accurately to the historic form or profile, and as closely as possible to the historic composition. Joinery to historic patterns. 
  • Other whole elements or parts of elements of the exterior fabric which are essential to the design and character of the building. These include shop fronts and windows.
Ineligible works:
  • GRP or similar replacement mouldings are not eligible for grant, nor are proprietary in-situ resin-based repair techniques. 
  • ‘Conjectural restoration’ works – works for which there is no firm historic evidence surviving on the building or recorded in photographs or drawings. 
  • Works involving the reversal of alterations that are themselves of quality and interest.

Bringing vacant historic floor space back into use

Works can be grant aided for vacant floor space in historic buildings or vacant floor space within partly used historic buildings, for example, unused upper floors over shops. Proposals for such works must respect the character and special interest of the building internally as well as externally. Vacant floor space grants cannot be offered alongside repair and reinstatement grants.

To be eligible for grant, vacant historic floor space should be vacant because of poor condition or because the historic floor space fails to meet the needs of modern users.

For a vacant building to be brought back into use it will normally be necessary to have a future user in place. If there is a clear justification for speculative conversion, there must be a demand for the relevant type of property in the local area.

Grant Rate

This will depend on the outcome of the development appraisal (explained in Advice Note 1). The grant from the common fund will be limited to the ‘conservation deficit’ – ie the difference between the cost of repair and conversion and the value when converted. Grants cannot contribute to the cost of fitting out space for a specific use.

Eligible works:
  • All aspects of the physical works of conversion are eligible, including necessary internal and external alterations, basic provision of heat, light and power, and basic decoration. 
  • Some proposals to bring vacant historic floor space back into use may involve an element of new-build. You can include the costs of these works in the development costs against which you work out the THI grant needed (conservation deficit calculation).
Ineligible works:
  • Furnishings and fittings, such as kitchen units and appliances, bathroom units and plumbing, shop fittings, restaurant fittings, and so on. 
  • Services beyond the basic provision of heat, light and power.

Professional fees

Eligible fees:
  • Expenditure on fees for qualified professional advisers. This is eligible for grant, provided the adviser belongs to a recognised institution. For example, architects will be members of the RIBA, and chartered surveyors will be members of the RICS with an appropriate level of specialist experience. Structural Engineers should be MICE or MIStructE registered. If the grant contribution to a project is more than £32,800, a qualified professional with relevant conservation expertise must be used to plan and oversee the works. 
  • Full professional fees for architectural services. These are only eligible if the professional adviser inspects work in progress and is responsible for its certification on completion, ie the service involves the inspection and certification of works on site up to completion and not just design. Full professional fees as defined by the RIBA are ‘the provision of design services from RIBA Stage C (outline design) to L (after practical completion)’.

Planning fees

These fees must clearly relate to the eligible project and eligible conservation works the grant is being used for.

Eligible fees:
  • Fees associated with planning permission 
  • Fees associated with building regulations 
  • Fees associated with listed building consent 
  • Fees associated with advertisement consent


Some building projects involve preparatory work, or ‘preliminaries’. Preliminaries are a fundamental part of the cost of the work and are therefore eligible in principle.

Eligible preliminaries include:
  • Contractors setting up the site before building work starts 
  • Ensuring site security, for example putting a fence around the site 
  • Ensuring health and safety requirements are met 
  • Putting up scaffolding 
  • Installing Portaloos 
  • Erecting temporary buildings

Archaeological works

If archaeological work is required prior to alteration works, it may be eligible for a grant.

Eligible works:
  • Recording and analysing historic buildings of early origin or complex evolution as a basis for devising repair or conversion works, and monitoring during those works. 
  • Archaeological assessment, evaluation, excavation and monitoring, in connection with alterations. 
  • Analysis and publication of the results, and appropriate archiving, if necessitated by works which are themselves eligible within the scheme.
Ineligible works:
  • Archaeological works not associated with THI projects are not eligible for support.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Eligible VAT:
  • VAT may be payable on eligible repair costs and fees, and, where it cannot be recovered, it is eligible for grant.

Guidance on VAT and listed buildings is contained in VAT Notice 708 Buildings and Construction available from the local VAT office. This document refers to other relevant VAT Notices.

Building surveys

Eligible surveys:
  • If a survey is vital for the project to develop it may be eligible.
Ineligible surveys:
  • Stand-alone condition and structural surveys are ineligible because there is no guarantee that these studies would result in actual work being carried out to a property.

For further advice on making your application and for an application pack, please contact us.

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Contact details

Landscape, Design & Conservation Team
4th Floor Britannia House
Hall Ings

Phone : 01274 434551
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