How to… Renovate a period property

renovatingWhether you’re renovating a period property for personal use or capital investment, www.MyBuilder.com expert Martyn Blair has some sound advice for first timers:

Period features?

One of the first decisions to make is whether to carry out works in sympathy with the structure or to replace with modern equivalents.  From an investment perspective it is generally wise to preserve period features wherever possible.  There will however be a cost implication; replacing or repairing a sash window could cost between £600 – £1400, whereas fitting a new UPVC window would come in at between £250 – £500.

Is the property listed?

This may affect your ability to make changes affecting the overall character of the property.  Any building work will require ‘listed building consent’, according to the Planning Act 1990. Even minor works, such as painting or simple repair work in some circumstances, falls under the scope of this act.

Is there a damp proof course and what is its general condition?

In the past builders and property owners did not have access to the materials we use today, thus in some older properties there was no damp layer.  If in doubt, bring in a damp specialist who has experience with your age of property.

Woodworm?

The issue with woodworm is you don’t know you’ve got a problem until you can see it!  For properties that come with woodworm guarantees, bear in mind that this only covers the area they treated at the time and that companies come and go – it’s an insurance backed warranty you’re after.

Use professionals

Always use professionals for jobs reliant on specialist skills, or those with legal regulations.  Ideally use those who have experience in older and listed buildings.  Cut corners and you will generally pay in the long run!

Surveys

Think carefully about which surveys you need when buying an older property. A structural survey is normally a given but you may also want to add electrical and gas surveys depending on the age of the property.


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