for People with a Passion for Period Property

12 Commandments for surviving property renovations

Dilys Wilson

Renovating a period property can be a particularly stressful experience. The following 12 tips help to provide you with an insight into the problems you may experience as well as providing a broad structure to follow as you venture into this new world.

  • Get a survey done on the property if you're in any doubt about the structure.
  • Get local recommendations for builders, electricians, plumbers, etc. Get three quotes from different trades for each item, to compare.
  • Take a couple of builders round the property prior to contracting anyone - ask their advice and opinion on work required, cost and time.
  • Save 000's by drawing up plans, hire builders, electricians and all sub-contractors directly. If time allows be the Site Manager, the job stays in your control and you'll save 10 - 30%.
  • Check with local council's for Grants, Listed status and Conservation areas - which will affect what you can do to the property.
  • Talk your proposed renovation ideas over with the County Councils Building Regulation and Planning Dept. They will have to approve any major works and will be helpful in the early planning stage, which will save you time and money.
  • Allow at least 15 - 20% extra for both time and money. There are always unexpected delays and extra costs.
  • Scour architectural salvage reclamation yards, small ads. found at the back of lifestyle magazines, timber yards etc. for interesting materials.
  • Ask local estate agents how much the house will be worth at today's value if it was renovated. This will give you a clear idea how much is worth spending on the property.
  • Prioritise, do one room up at a time. I make the bathroom and my bedroom the first priority - that way I can escape the mess at the end of a hard day.
  • Remember the house will be probably get a lot worse, than when you first bought it, before it's finally renovated.
  • Take at least one weekend a month off for yourselves, your relationship, health and sanity! Remember to have fun - Life is not a dress rehearsal.


Dilys Wilson is available for House and Garden Renovation Design Consultancy.


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