Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Architectural salvage: Licences


Many local authorities (all in Scotland) require businesses which trade in second-hand goods to register with them and obtain a second-hand dealer's licence, for which there is generally a charge. Applicants must be deemed fit to hold such a licence and must not be disqualified from doing so. Other licensing criteria may also apply, such as the requirement for premises to be suitable. Licence holders must stick to the terms of their licence - for example by keeping appropriate records. Contact your local authority to get details of any licensing requirement in your area - and to find out about any relevant exemptions.

The Export of Goods (Control) Order requires an export licence to be obtained for 'cultural objects' and antiquities over a certain age and value if they are to be exported from the UK. Full details are available from the Arts Council Export Licensing Unit. The Arts Council provides several guidance publications for exporters - you can find out more and download publications from the Arts Council website. More information is also available from the Cultural Property Advice section of the Collections Trust website.

The Money Laundering Regulations apply to 'high value dealers', including architectural salvage dealers, who accept or make cash payments of 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent in any currency) for any transaction involving goods. If you handle transactions of this size you must register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and put in place anti-money laundering systems. More information is available on the Gov.uk website.

Depending on exactly what you do, you may need a licence or licences required under various pieces of environmental legislation. For example, while architectural salvage is generally exempt from waste management licensing, the position could change if, for example, your business transports or stores general building or demolition waste as part of its salvage and demolition operations. If your business transports or stores building waste other than reclaimed materials, you should contact the following to find out more:

  • the Environment Agency in England
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • the Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland

There's more information about waste management and recycling on the Gov.uk website.

You should also be aware of the following:

  • if you plan to play background music in your outlet you'll probably need to obtain a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website
  • businesses that use goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight need an operator's licence and drivers must also be appropriately licensed. More information is available on the Gov.uk website (Great Britain) and on the Transport Regulation Unit (TRU) section of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) website (Northern Ireland)
  • skips placed on a public highway require a highway permit from the local authority. In some cases, controlled parking permission is also required. If you hire skips for demolition and clearance work, ask the hire company who is responsible for obtaining the necessary licences and permits

Voluntary certification

The trade organisation Salvo has a voluntary code for architectural salvage businesses that want to demonstrate their integrity. The code focuses on taking steps to reduce the possibility of handling stolen goods - whether knowingly or unwittingly.

Although it's not mandatory for operators of demolition machinery and demolition workers to hold a skills registration card, it's a good way of showing that your business complies with the requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act for plant operators to be suitably trained. More and more contractors, clients and sites only permit plant operatives who hold a valid skills registration card or 'ticket'.

The industry skills body CITB offers one of the best known card schemes, the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS). You can find out more about the CPCS on the CITB website. There's more information about the certificate of competence card scheme for demolition workers on the National Demolition Training Group (NDTG) website.