The Public Liability Insurance Blog

Listed buildings and business interruption

Some disasters are completely unavoidable. From more predictable-yet-horrific things like fires and floods through to the less predictable discovery upon waking up that your pub has been squashed by a lorry, you never know what the universe is going to throw at you next. If you operate out of a listed building however, the unexpected can cause even bigger headaches.

NagsPublic liability, employers’ liability and general building cover will provide an excellent foundation for peace of mind in the event of most issues, but many landlords neglect to consider business interruption at all, being under the assumption that as long as the building costs and legal costs are covered, they’ll be able to keep themselves in business. Our advisors recommend a minimum of two years business interruption for pub insurance, partly because a lot of pubs are located in hard to reach areas and partly because a vast number of pubs operate out of listed buildings which have many extra regulatory processes associated with repairs that can extend repair work far more than you might think.

AnotherAnyone who has tried to do any modification work to a listed building knows what we mean by this. Things need to be assessed, detailed plans need to be sent off and approved, extra paperwork needs to be completed far beyond the ordinary planning permission routine, papers need to be signed and approved in triplicate, returned, repealed, amended, planned again and then pushed out to sea on a great pyre as a sacrifice the gods of planning.

Some of that might be a slight exaggeration, but irritatingly, the same drawn out and lengthy processes apply if you are merely attempting to restore a property to its original state prior to an accident.

Buildings become listed if they have some form of “special architectural or historical character” and the listed status covers both the interior and the exterior of the building as well as any attached structures. What exactly ends up classifying as a listed building is often the subject of much debate and by all accounts can get rather political, but a lot of older traditional pubs become listed, as are several shops and cafés that are in a town centre that has a significant amount of history under its belt.

In order to make any modifications to walls, roofs and internal fixed features, you need Listed Building Consent from the local authorities. This covers major work such as adding an extension, removing a fireplace, or, frustratingly, making repairs.

OldApplying for this consent requires a lot of co-operation from the local authorities and as is the case with a lot of government processes, this won’t necessarily happen quickly or particularly smoothly. Although it is possible to sidestep the need for listed building consent by making the repairs with traditional building materials and techniques, this can produce its own issues depending on exactly how old the property is. If it’s a slightly more modern property that has achieved listed status, that’s less of an issue, but if you find yourself looking for a thatcher, not only are they a dwindling profession but once you do find one they might have a cluttered schedule and be highly expensive.

Repairing a listed building is enough of a headache without the background worry of your business not being operational. If you do work out of a listed building, business interruption could be crucial and could prevent you from going out of business altogether.

YOUR Insurance specialises in public liability insurance for small and medium sized businesses involved in several trades and professions. You can compare quotes for your business online, or call one of our advisors on 0800 107 8949.