Everything You Need To Consider When Modernising A Home

Check out our top tips on modernising with a home renovation

Traditional early 1900s build property

Home renovations often take the form of modernising properties – particularly in the UK when there are so many period properties or older houses on the market. While homes built in days long past have many attractions, they were often not designed with modern and contemporary living in mind and so in order to futureproof them as family homes, they require some form of modernisation.
Modernisation makes up a large percentage of home renovation, refurbishment and rebuilding projects and so renovation experts such as Refresh work with them a lot. However, such projects do require a little extra planning and there many aspects to these jobs that homeowners overlook or don’t realise form part of the project scope. Before planning ahead on your property modernisation, be sure to inform yourself of the following and to seek advice on how best to proceed.

Relevant Development Permissions

Older properties are more likely to be built in conservation areas or to hold listed status than newer ones, and so may be subject to more formal administration permissions in developing, refurbishing or extending their structure. Many renovations can be carried out under Permitted Development Rights; the automatic rights granted to homeowners in order to modernise and extend their home providing the works fit into a set criteria. However, should formal planning permission be required, the homeowner or renovation project manager will be required to submit formal plans to the Local Planning Authority ahead of any work beginning and have this signed off for completion. This process is not always straightforward and may require some time delays, project revisions and appeals to be filed. In the case of those working with Refresh Renovations, the designated project manager will manage the planning permission process in its entirety as part of the standard service package. Regardless of planning permission stipulations, all renovations must adhere to legal building regulation guidelines and legal obligations.

Aesthetics

Every Local Planning Authority has differing requirements for homeowners and in some cases, automatic rights for development as well as planning permission to be granted is dependent on the way things look in keeping with the local area. For example, a homeowner wishing to modernise their home by painting the exterior bright pink when the rest of the street’s properties are cream is unlikely to find their request accommodated; but should they choose a shade complementary to the other properties and considered ‘sympathetic’ to them, it is likely to be granted. Similar aesthetic requirements can also apply for extensions (upward and outward), outbuildings and anything exterior to the property. What neighbouring houses and others in the area have had granted in permission provides a good indication of what homeowners can expect.

The Protection of Original Features

For many of those who own an older home, one of the main attractions of the property was its original features and quirks; the idiosyncrasies that simply can’t be found in new-builds. Modernising such a home needs to be done while protecting such features where possible to best maintain the character and charm of the property. Even if cherished features are damaged or neglected, there may be a way to include them in renovations – and consulting with a reno expert will help ensure that this is done however possible. Some creativity may be required but where possible, a property’s characteristics will be worked with, and not against.

Infrastructure

Older properties may have outdated plumbing or electricity infrastructure in place – which may prove incompatible with modernisation activities. If possible, structural drawings and plans detailing such set-ups should be located and passed to renovation contractors in advance of a formal project plan being drawn up. This way, if re-wiring is required or new plumbing should be installed, this can be factored in to the overall project’s timeline, responsibility allocation and budget.

Insurance

While newly built homes often come with a timed guarantee that any work completed will be covered by the original construction company should something go wrong, the fact that houses being modernised are considerably older often dictates that such a guarantee period has long passed. It is often recommended that homeowners seek out renovation insurance in these cases to give them peace of mind – or work with a fully insured specialist firm such as Refresh Renovations.

Potential Grants or Discounts

Many local authorities don’t wish the older properties in their area to fall into disrepair and so act sympathetically to homeowners under their jurisdiction which look to improve the state of their house. In some locations, there are funding grants available to help cover the costs of a modernisation renovation as well as VAT concessions and reductions on certain buildings. It is always worth enquiring with the local authority to see what, if anything, is applicable to a renovation project.

Waste Removal

The materials to be removed from the renovation of an older home may include those that are now considered hazardous or need specialist disposal. It is imperative that a waste removal company with the sufficient facilities to dispose of such material safely, appropriately and legally is chosen and their services procured well in time for the requirement of such disposition; particularly if this is likely to include asbestos removal. When working with Refresh Renovations, such contractors are hired and managed by the team as part of their standard service.
Modernising an older home can be a challenge but it needn’t be something for homeowners to shy away from. With an expert touch, a little creativity and a willingness to try new things, homeowners can hugely benefit from updating their home and can future-proof it for their families for many years to come… creating not just their dream home, but their forever home.

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