Property Renovations and Guidelines for Period Homes

Be it a Victorian London terrace or an Edwardian country house, a period home offers you and your family the potential for a relaxing and satisfying lifestyle. The quality of period homes can sometimes be difficult to pin down. It’s maybe their combination of characterful period features and sense of history that gives these beautiful properties their appeal but whatever your reasons for buying your period home and undertaking a spell of property renovation, you won’t be disappointed with an older property.

period homes

This is not to say that choosing to go ahead with period house renovation is an easy option. With listed statuses, conservation areas, traditional materials and skilled craftsmen to consider, property renovation on your period home can be a complicated affair. We have some useful resources and advice about guidelines on period property renovation to help you.

Listed Building Status

Some period properties in the UK are given listed building status by the Secretary of State. The criteria for this is buildings which are, ‘… of special architectural or historic interest.’ There is a useful and searchable list of such properties on the British Listed Buildings website but in England the list is held by Historic England. There are around 500,000 listed buildings in the UK.

Listed building status in England and Wales is classified as either:

  • Grade I listed buildings (2.5%). These are of exceptional and sometimes international interest.
  • Grade II listed buildings (5.5%). These are of particular importance.
  • Grade III listed buildings (92%). By far the biggest category of listed buildings, these are of special interest and national importance.

The most likely listed status for a private period home is grade III. If you are restoring a listed period home you will be expected to abide by certain stipulations regarding materials or techniques. These can often be expensive so it pays to take advice before you make any final purchase decisions.

period properties for sale

You will also be restricted as to significant expansions or improvements and will need to seek approval from your local conservation officer (usually employed by the local authority) for these. If you own a listed period property you will be compelled by law to keep it in a good state of repair and may find that your insurance premiums are higher.

It is important here to remember however that if you own and care for one of the country’s historic period buildings; you will be helping to preserve our heritage. For more information about listed status and period properties have a look at the Listed Property Owners’ Club ‘Guide to Owning a Listed Building.’

Conservation Areas

Even if your period home is not a listed building it may well be inside a conservation area. Conservation areas are places that contain architecturally or historically important features and being inside one can have an impact on a number of improvements and changes that you might want to make to your property.

For example, should you wish to chop down a tree, add dormer windows for a loft extension or replace doors you may be subject to some constraints. Your local authority conservation office will be able to advise you on these. If you live in the City of London you can use this useful mapping feature to find both conservation areas and listed buildings.

Grant Schemes

Although funding for conservation grants has been cut over recent years there are still some local authorities that are able to offer grants for home renovation. These will usually only be offered in cases where the home is in a very poor state of repair and may be means tested. Historic England sometimes provides grants for listed buildings that are shown on the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

Specialist conservator-restorers

Some of the work on your period property may require very specific skills to sensitively restore your new home. Word of mouth can be an excellent way to find the specialists that you need so get to know your new neighbours.

Another way to ensure that you hire the right professionals for your home is to take a look at the Conservation Register which is operated by UKIC (the UK Institute for Conservation). Tradesmen and craftsmen who wish to be added to this register are required to meet a set of strict standards including training, qualifications, references from 5 complete projects and at least 7 years of relevant period property renovation experience. You can use the register to search for a specific person, a specialism (for example leatherwork) or a specific practice (for example stained glass restoration).

property renovation

You could extend your search for conservation craftsmen by purchasing a copy of the ‘Building Conservation Directory’, which can be purchased from Cathedral Communications. This contains details of over 1,000 individuals and companies with a wide range of conservation skills as well as information on related topics.

If you undertake repair and conservation works carefully and to a high standard, your period home will be a building for your family to treasure for generations to come. The key to ensuring success in your venture into property renovation is planning. Ask as many questions as you can at the time of purchase and be prepared to shop around for the very best in qualified and experienced conservation craftsmen.

At Arlington Residential we have a wealth of knowledge and understanding about period homes and property renovation. Our team of specialists would be happy to advise you on your purchase of period and modern properties in the most exclusive North West and Central London areas.

Feel free to get in touch with the team at Arlington today and start the search for your perfect period property or conservation project.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK TO OUR TEAM ABOUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR PROPERTY SALES, RENTALS OR INVESTMENTS

CALL OUR TEAM +44 (0)20 7722 3322

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