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 could be relatively recent 20th-century buildings or even street furniture and everything in between.

Whatever they might be, if they are considered essential either on their own or as part of a group, then any additions or changes to such structures will need to be regulated. This may seem overly bureaucratic, but all buildings contribute in some way to the architectural landscape, which helps to define the character of an area.

In some cases, it may not even be the actual building that is of particular interest but rather a previous inhabitant of it. An excellent 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 still protected against specific changes to the exterior or interior. Indeed, if you fell in love with your house from the outside, the chances are, so have others, therefore its contribution and influence on the local area must be safeguarded.



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 historical 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 distinctive quality, so these are frequently specified as ‘like for like’ items on the recommendations made to home renovators.

The Original Front Door



If you’re thinking about replacing the external door, first check if it could have some historical significance. If so, it should be kept the same wherever possible, including the hardware – commonly a knob, knocker and a letterbox.

There are several good reasons for this, firstly the door was made for your home and is one of the most critical aesthetic features of the exterior of the house. Secondly, it was purpose-made to fit the doorway, which is highly unlikely to be the same as the standard sizes. And lastly, it offers an authenticity, in other words, it's always been there.

Consider Style

If your front door is not an original, then you may wish to consider replacing it with a style that fits with the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

Replacing an inappropriate front door with a historical style will improve the look of the home and restore its time-honoured allure.

If your house is listed, you might require Listed Building Consent to take out the old door and replace it with a new one, and if you are in a conservation area, there may be Article 4 directions (which restrict work you can typically do without planning permission).

Internal Doors

Some of the above principles may apply to the doors within the home. Internal doors are a big part of the aesthetic appeal of a room and are often chosen with specific interior design and style considerations in mind.

Examples of Traditional Door Types

Ledge & Brace Door

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.

Four Panel Victorian

The Four Panel Victorian was first seen around the 1830s and soon became widespread. The image above 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.

Six Panel Oak

This is an example of a Georgian six panel though they were often seen in five or seven-panel arrangements as we. 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 a 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 a 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.


If you have any questions about interior design or any of our traditional doors, then give UK Oak Doors a call today on 01455 501612 where one of our helpful sales team will be happy to help. Or better yet, why not visit our showroom to take a look at all of our products in person.

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