The List of buildings is a register recording all types of structures, ranging from grand houses and cathedrals to warehouses and the smallest buildings. Statutory listing of buildings began in Northern Ireland in 1974 and the First Survey took over 20 years to complete.
We are currently engaged in a Second Survey of all of Northern Ireland's building stock to update and improve on the first List of buildings of special architectural or historic interest, to be completed by 2016.
Surveyors have been employed to undertake the Second Survey fieldwork and accompanying historical research. The new records are more detailed than those of the First Survey and as comprehensive as possible within the survey timetable. They include a description of the whole building, inside as well as out, and of its setting. Once all the relevant information has been gathered, our staff evaluate the buildings and other structures. The Historic Buildings Council and district councils are then consulted on any amendments (additions and deletions) to the List and their advice considered. After a final evaluation, the owners are notified of buildings being added to or taken off the list and Planning Service is advised so that the building can be protected by appropriate planning control. Surveys of buildings that do not end up as listed but are recorded as having some interest is kept so that the widest pool of information is available to inform and educate about the historic environment. Our paper entitled The Listing Process (.PDF 37Kb) explains this in more detail.
The lists are amended on a district council basis as the records are evaluated and, of the 26 council areas in Northern Ireland, four have been second surveyed, several other council areas have been partially surveyed and in total 147 out of 526 electoral wards were completed by April 2009. The Northern Ireland Buildings Database enables you to access the information as we progress with the survey.