Restoring a Heritage Property: What Not to Do

16 October 2018

A historic or listed building is one which is considered one of national or eveninternational importance, whether this be down to its architecture or its history. According to the charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage, there are currently around 1500 ofthese properties in the UK, with at least 100 being added each year.Historic property renovation has become somewhat of a hobby for many people in theproperty development industry. Such a project requires not only hard work, but theknowledge to understand how to avoid costly mistakes. These are buildings that comewith restraints, and in a lot of cases, even minor changes to the exterior may not bepossible. It is not something to go into lightly.

Patching Up vs Replacing

While it may seem like a small hole in the wall or a tiny crack in the bricks can bepatched up easily, this is often the first sign of a much bigger problem that will demanda lot more time, attention, and money if you let it progress. For instance, cracks canhighlight issues with the building’s foundation, and crumbling bricks may be a sign thatthe structure needs to be reinforced by a professional.

Irreparable Damage

There are heritage buildings that have not been lived in or used for decades, sometimeseven centuries. When these properties were designed and built, they were done so withmaterials that are irreplaceable. That means today’s physical and chemical constructiontools will permanently damage or destroy parts of the building. Using the correct tools isparamount to the success of your restoration.

Inappropriate Additions

One of the most common pitfalls in heritage property restoration is unwelcomeadditions. Modern or historically inaccurate additions to the building will undoubtedlymean that it loses some of its historical value. Removing elements of the building canalso have the same effect. If you want to make changes that are described as ‘MaterialChanges’ (such as taking out a wall or removing a chimney breast) you must apply toyour Local Authority for consent. However, in many instances, changes to things suchas windows and doors can be done if you don’t disrupt the overall character of thebuilding. The Benenden Conservation Range by The Heritage Window Company accuratelyreplicates the appearance of traditional steel windows, while delivering exceptionalperformance.

Modern Building Codes

Safety is the number one reason that modern building codes exist but what you mustremember is that these have been formulated with today’s construction methods and

materials in mind. Heritage buildings were built very differently, therefore overcomingcertain building codes to prevent any irreparable damage to the building may requiresome creative thinking on your part.