SALLY COULTHARD’S RESTORA­TION TIPS

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

Get into the right mind-set. Restora­tion is not the same thing as re­fur­bish­ment; a flat­pack kitchen and a lick of paint are not go­ing to suf­fice. You’ll need time, money and ex­per­tise.

Know what’s out there. There’s an al­most end­less va­ri­ety of pe­riod prop­er­ties to choose from, but Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian houses are al­ways a solid and rea­son­ably priced choice. Farm­houses and Ge­or­gian prop­er­ties tend to be in the high­est de­mand and com­mand a sig­nif­i­cant pre­mium. Barns and chapels are also get­ting harder to find so it’s also worth con­sid­er­ing un­usual build­ings such as work­shops or cine­mas.

Build a bud­get. Tak­ing into ac­count pur­chase price, pro­fes­sional fees, re­pairs and a healthy con­tin­gency fund (at least 15 per cent for a pe­riod prop­erty). If you plan to keep the prop­erty, you’ll also need to cal­cu­late the on­go­ing main­te­nance costs.

Get a proper sur­vey. Pe­riod prop­er­ties are full of idio­syn­cra­sies. A nor­mal build­ing sur­vey – es­pe­cially one com­mis­sioned by a mort­gage com­pany – may not take into ac­count the spe­cial na­ture of old build­ings and rec­om­mend in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­pairs. Find a sur­veyor at www. build­ing­con­ser­va­tion.com

Em­ploy ex­perts. Some of the jobs on a restora­tion project, such as thatch­ing or stone­ma­sonry, should be left to the ex­perts. Learn when to DIY and when to call in the pro­fes­sion­als.

Do your home­work. Im­merse your­self in books about ar­chi­tec­tural his­tory and tra­di­tional build­ing con­struc­tion. You might not want to do any of the hands-on restora­tion your­self, but you should be knowl­edge­able about the sub­ject and fully in­volved in de­ci­sions.

Learn what to leave alone. More dam­age can be done in over-restor­ing a prop­erty than un­der-restor­ing it. If an ar­chi­tec­tural fea­ture is bro­ken or dam­aged, al­ways try to re­pair it rather than re­place it.

Use au­then­tic ma­te­ri­als. Mod­ern build­ing ma­te­ri­als are of­ten in­com­pat­i­ble with the needs of old build­ings. In­stead of us­ing ce­ment, use lime ren­der which lets your build­ing breathe, ab­sorbs con­den­sa­tion and al­lows damp to evap­o­rate. And as lime is a rel­a­tively soft ma­te­rial, it can ac­com­mo­date the slight move­ments that build­ings of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence.

Love your lo­cal plan­ner. Whether the prop­erty is Listed or not, it’s im­por­tant to keep up a good re­la­tion­ship with plan­ning and con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cers. They can make or break your plans.

Set up a con­tacts book. Spe­cial­ist builds need spe­cial­ist help. There are hun­dreds of or­gan­i­sa­tions out there. These in­clude The Listed Prop­erty Own­ers’ Club (www.lpoc.co.uk), the So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of An­cient Build­ings (ww.spab.org), Pe­riod Prop­erty UK (www.pe­ri­od­prop­erty.co.uk), and the Con­ser­va­tion Reg­is­ter (www.con­ser­va­tion­reg­is­ter.com)

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