There are nearly 500,000 listed properties in the UK and many will require a renovation, whether now or in the future. However big or small the project might be, the detail and research that goes into altering a listed building is no easy undertaking. One thing that stands out to us here at the Listed Property Owners Club, is the usefulness of documenting the procedure of a renovation – and the same applies for any self-build, conversion or extension.
Saying “take photos” may sound obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people forget to! Taking pictures at every stage of the project, particularly before you start any work, is one of the most useful ways to document it. Images can also be taken along to meetings with conservation officers, architects and other professionals involved in the project.
One of the most common issues encountered with a property project is unplanned costs. Budgeting for a project on your listed building is essential, as costs can easily get out of control. When putting together a budget source, get a range of quotes for the work involved, so you can account for a best and worst case scenario. Note every detail, and refer back to it regularly.
Record every detail
Your neighbours are a good starting point for information. They may have previously looked into the history of your street or area, or their own house history. As well as helpful tips on their own experiences of local tradesman, they may also have some useful information about the area you live in and local historians and architects, as well as their own experience of dealing with the conservation officer.
Understanding your house history is important before moving forward with any plans. Discovering the antiquity of a home is growing in popularity, as investing in a listed property means buying into its past, stories and legacy. Looking at the home’s history can provide renovation or conversion inspiration. Start by looking into the title deeds and archives, but professional house historians can also help.
Keeping a diary of your experience is a great way to document your project, and also provides an outlet for your achievements, frustrations and progress. A diary will also help you to stay on track with the original time scale, document how long each part of the project takes and any reasons for delays – this will make it easier to re-estimate a finish date and make up for time. Many owners now choose to keep an online diary via a blog or website, which enables their experiences to be shared.
Should any legal issues concerning your project arise, having detailed records of all aspects of the work will be a great help. A log of your contact with the local conservation officer will be especially important should the permission for work undertaken come into question.
Finding the right suppliers of traditional products and methods suitable for your property’s needs is essential to a successful renovation or conversion. It’s worth keeping a record of everyone that you spoke to throughout the process, including names and contacts for conservation officers, architects, suppliers and tradesmen. A great list of contacts is essential, as you may need to call on their services again later in the process. Plus, another building owner with similar requirements may also need their services, and recommending good suppliers online through reviews will help their own research.