Advice and Support

Listing process

The process we follow to assess listing applications and requests for delisting or for a review of an existing listing.

1 Overview

We assess three main types of applications:

  • listing application (designation)
  • requests for reviews of existing listings (amendment)
  • requests for delistings (removal)

Assessing an application may involve a number of detailed steps before we can reach a final view.

In this guide, you can find out about these steps:

  • research
  • consultation
  • completion
  • review of a listing decision

We also:

  • work in partnership with stakeholders to assess larger sites in advance of major development or planning proposals
  • carry out thematic studies of building types, places or the work of specific architects

Find out how to propose a building for listing, delisting or review.

Find out about listing process timescales..

2 Research

When we receive an application we first carry out research to assess the building against the listing criteria. A wide range of sources may be considered, and this stage may also include a site visit. Depending on the type of proposal, this stage can take a number of weeks to complete.

We write to the relevant parties if we find at this stage that the building doesn’t meet the listing criteria.

3 Consultation

Following research, we consider the merit of the building.

If we find that the building may be of interest – or not of interest in the case of delisting and Certificate of Intention Not to List (COINTL) requests – we reach an interim decision on the proposal. This is known as an ‘initial view’.

We then consult with the planning authority and the owner (where possible) about this view.

The consultation period is usually 21 days. For more complex sites or larger projects this stage can take longer.

4 Completion

Following consultation, we consider the responses and make a final decision about whether to:

We will normally tell the owner if a building that they own or occupy has:

  • been listed
  • been delisted (unless it has been demolished)
  • had the statutory address (the legal part of the listed building record) changed 
  • been issued a COINTL

We will also tell the planning authority, and will let it know about all delistings.

5 Review a listing decision

Appeals can be made against a number of decisions made by Historic Environment Scotland, including our decision to include or amend an entry in the list. Find out more about appealing a listing decision.

We will only review a very recent decision to list if there is good reason to do so.

Such reasons might include:

  • loss to the building since its listing
  • significant evidence, not previously considered, relating to the building’s special architectural or historic interest

6 Notification of listing

We will try to contact the owner of a building that is being considered for listing. This can be more difficult for an uninhabited structure such as a bridge.

We will normally tell you if a building that you own or occupy has:

  • been listed
  • been delisted (unless it has been demolished)
  • had the statutory address (the legal part of the listed building record) changed
  • been issued a COINTL

We will also inform the planning authority and we will also let it know about all delistings.

In exceptional circumstances, we may list a building without consulting with its owner.

You can write to us if you want to know who proposed your building for listing. We consider each request individually. Data Protection legislation may mean that we can’t name the proposer.

Send your request to:

Designations Team
Historic Environment Scotland 
Longmore House 
Salisbury Place 

Or email:

See what is covered by a listing.

Find out the criteria for listing.

View the steps in the listing process.

Find out how to make a listing proposal.

7 Service standards and timescales

Our overall aim is to provide a high quality, transparent and professional service within defined timescales.

Designations service standards [PDF, 162KB]

We aim to respond to standard phone and email queries within 3 working days.

Individual designation applications

We aim to complete individual standard listing applications within 6 months.

Some cases may take longer and will depend largely on the scale, type of site or structure or the circumstances of the case. We will tell you if this is the case.

Project timescales

We also work on projects where we look at larger sites, areas or structure types across the country. These can be carried out in partnership with others or by ourselves. We set separate timescales for each project depending on our stakeholders needs, the scale of the project and our priorities.

You can see our current projects on our website. Most projects are completed within a year. Please contact us in advance about potential projects.


We welcome feedback about our service. Please let us know what you think.

Telephone: 0131 668 8716

Or write to us:

Designations Team
Historic Environment Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place

8 Listing criteria

The Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement 2016 sets out the criteria we use to decide if a building merits listing.

Main reasons for selecting a building for listing are:

  • age and rarity
  • architectural or historic interest
  • close historical association

‘Building’ is a term used broadly in the legislation. It can cover a wide variety of man-made structures such as:

  • fountains
  • sundials
  • ha-has
  • statues
  • bridges
  • bandstands

You may find our glossary of architectural terms useful.

Download our Glossary of architectural terms [PDF, 296KB]

A building can be listed even if it no longer has the same purpose as it did originally.

For example, we may list:

  • an industrial building converted into flats with retail units
  • a disused railway viaduct turned into a walkway or cycle path

A building’s condition is only a factor if it has devalued the particular architectural or historic interest such that it is no longer ‘special’.

Download our guide for owners and occupiers of Scotland’s listed buildings [PDF, 1.9MB]. It is also available in Gaelic.