5 Things To Consider When Renovating A Period Property

Renovating a period property is no easy feat; and it can summon a whirlwind of emotions; from excitement and pride to confusion and anxiety. Pre-existing buildings may have been subject to numerous revamps over the years, or may not have been maintained properly at all and, so, whether you’re experienced or whether this is your first renovation, the key to making it successful is being as prepared as possible.
To help, we’ve put together our top 5 things to consider when renovating a period property.

Speculate to accumulate

And by that, we mean it’s worth investing in a proper house survey and CCTV drain report to avoid any pitfalls later on. Getting a specialist to look in to electrics and heating is also worthwhile, as Jacobs Steel Consultant, Matt West, discovered when he was renovating his period home in Worthing.

“We began taking things out and began to notice extra work that needed doing as we went, including some cabling that had been done wrong which meant we had to re-wire.” says Matt.

“If you’re aware of the current state of the house and what needs to be fixed and when, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.”

Check the building isn’t listed

As well as the usual Planning Permission and Permitted Development rules, you will need to look in to whether the building is in a Conservation Area or is listed, as there will be an extra dimension to Planning Permission if it is. Listed Building Consent, for example, must be sought on top of the usual Planning Permission.

Many buildings built around 1840 or earlier are likely to be listed; and it’s important to note that it may be a criminal offence to fail to apply for consent when it’s required, so be sure you do all the relevant checks.

See if your property is listed

Have a contingency plan

Don’t assume the job will be straight forward. And a contingency plan means a contingency budget. Even through solid planning and budgeting it can prove difficult to have a clear idea on how much the full project is going to cost.

Luke Gladdish, Assistant Manager for Jacobs Steel West Worthing has been renovating a period property with his girlfiend and said,

“Even though we budgeted and prepared extra diligently, things still came up that we weren’t expecting.”

We asked Luke what advice he would give to anyone looking to renovate a character property.

“We were focussing on restoring the property and it’s features. It’s a huge personal investment in time and emotion as well as financially, so be sure to give yourself a break and a pat on the back every now and then.”

Secure the right Insurance

It’s important that you check that your home contents or buildings insurance can provide cover for extensive building work being carried out; and ensure that it does cover you before you start the work, otherwise it could end up being null and void. There is specialist renovation insurance available from most providers.

Also, be aware that a construction site is a dangerous place, so if you want to show friends around, make sure you check with the contractor in advance, so they can prepare the site accordingly.

History speaks volumes

Remember why you chose a period home in the first place. There will no doubt be an abundance of original fixtures and fittings of the era that you can restore, whilst modernising other elements of the property.

Jacobs Steel Sales Consultant, Matt West, had a pleasant surprise when he found some hidden original features in his home.

“When we moved in, we noticed that the bathroom had a dropped ceiling.” he said. “So, during our renovation, we removed it and discovered all of the old cornicing which is just beautiful and is now proudly on display.”

Matt advised that when choosing a contractor, it is important to choose one with extensive knowledge of period properties.

“ Old features don’t always respond very well to the constant vibration caused by renovation work, but the right contractor will know exactly how to look after your home during the work.”

Luke's Journey: Case Study

Over the past couple of years, our very own Assistant Branch Manager for West Worthing, Luke Gladdish, has completed a magnitute of restoration on his very own Victorian semi-detached property.

Luckily for us, they've tracked the whole process into a neat little blog. Luke and Steph (Lukes partner) launched their blog focusing on home renovations, advice and general property know-how.

They've lived it, breathed it and restored it all and to say it honestly, check out their blog from the link below, for real insight into what it takes to complete a victorian property renovation.


@a_roof_over_our_heads on Instagram and Pintrest

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