A Guide to Building Regulations for Doors and Historic Buildings

Many towns and villages have buildings that don’t meet the criteria for statutory listing but they are of historical significance to the local area. They may be relatively recent 20th century buildings or even street furniture but are considered important either on their own or as part of a group and so any additions or changes to such structures need to be regulated. This may seem overly bureaucratic but all buildings contribute in some way to the architectural landscape and help define the character of an area.

In some cases it may not even be the actual building that is of special interest but a previous inhabitant of it. A good example of this would be the particularly undistinguished and ordinary 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, the childhood home of Sir Paul McCartney. Many homeowners have found to their surprise that their home has never had any famous residents but is protected against certain changes to the exterior or interior. Indeed, if you fell in love with your house from the outside the chances are so have others and they will want to safeguard its contribution and influence on the local area.

This article is a guide to aspects of building regulations for doors, specifically regulations that apply to the replacement of doors at a property considered historically significant by the local authority. Each area has different guidelines so this is not a definitive list of rules and regulations and you should consult your local authority at the planning stage of your renovation if in any doubt.

Local authorities may not insist that buildings of historic interest are preserved exactly. The general intention for non-listed buildings is that alterations can be carried out so aspects can be modernised for contemporary living requirements but the style of new doors should be made in sympathy with the surrounding home or area. Doors and doorways are considered one of the main factors that give a building its distinctiveness so these are frequently specified as ‘like for like’ items on the recommendations made to home renovators.

Examples of Traditional Door Types

Building regulations for doors - Ledge and Brace Ledge and Brace


This is a ledge and brace door, a well recognised country cottage style door that was popular throughout Britain due to its simple construction. High quality suppliers such as UK Oak Doors can provide superb examples that will satisfy strict historical regulations for this type of door without sacrificing build quality, avoiding the problems associated with them, such as warping.


Building regulations for doors - 4 Panel Victorian Four Panel Victorian



The Four Panel Victorian was first seen around the 1830's and soon became widespread. The image on the right shows an interior door but many are still seen as front doors. By the 1870's it was common to see glass inserts in the top half of the door. Care must be taken to ensure modern replacement doors match the style and construction of original doors.


Building regulations for doors - Six Panel Oak Six Panel Oak


This is an example of a Georgian six panel though they were often seen in five or seven panel arrangements. This meant a horizontal panel was added along the bottom above the bottom rail.





Building Regulations For Doors: Further Regulations for Doors and Door Furniture

Of course it’s not just the build style of a door that makes the look but the finish too. If 10 Downing Street repainted its door from the striking black to white and removed the sleeping copper next to it anyone would be hard pushed to recognise it. Traditional external Victorian and Georgian doors and doorways have always been painted. If they are situated within a crescent or terrace then there may be an unofficial colour scheme to the doors that the local authority will want to keep. Doors need to be re-painted every four or five years to maintain a clean bold look.

When it comes to internal doors the architraves are often as cherished as the doors and these are particularly sacred in listed buildings. If an historic home is being renovated for single family private use then there may not be any further fire regulation additions other than the sensible precautions applicable to any home. However, if an historic building is being converted say, into flats, then there will be additional fire restrictions that need to be adhered to. It would not be possible to list them all here so you will need to contact the local authority which of course is the advice that applies to any doubts you may have concerning your renovation.

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