Principles of selection for listing buildings

This document sets out the general principles applied when deciding whether a building is of special architectural or historic interest.



Not all these principles will be relevant to every case, but a particular building may qualify for listing under more than one of them.

Architectural interest

A building may be considered important for its:

  • architectural design
  • decoration
  • craftsmanship

Special interest may also apply to:

  • nationally important examples of particular building types and techniques, for example buildings displaying technological innovation or virtuosity
  • significant plan forms

Historic interest

A building must:

  • illustrate important aspects of England’s social, economic, cultural or military history
  • have close historical associations with nationally important people
  • normally have some quality of interest in its physical fabric

When making a listing decision, the Secretary of State may take into account the extent to which the exterior contributes to the architectural or historic interest of any group of buildings of which it forms part. This is generally known as “group value”.