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Renovated stairwell of a towhouse in Edinburgh West End


About one quarter of the properties in Edinburgh are listed buildings. Whether it is a Victorian villa or a Georgian townhouse, I have been working on these wonderful old buildings since 2009 and in that time I have acquired considerable experience in the skills necessary for successful renovation projects. There is a gallery of my projects at the bottom of the page and this is a list of the main things needed to ensure a listed building is refurbished properly. 

The cost of renovating old properties varies enormously. It isn't possible to apply a simple square meter rate to this kind of work, instead the work must be itemised and individually costed. It is vital to have a contingency fund for refurb projects. I advise my clients to have at least 15% extra set aside in case the contractor finds unexpected items that need to be fixed. So if the construction construction contact is £50k you should have another £7,500 as a contingency fund. 

Some of the things that regularly go wrong on listed buildings include, rotten timbers above the windows, the electrical earth has rusted away, lead pipes need to be replaced, previous owners had sub-standard electrical and plumbing work carried out and that damaged the floor joists. The big one however, is the roof.

If there is one lesson I learned from renovating old buildings, its to repair the roof first. There is no point paying for new electrics, plastering and decoration only for the roof to leak and rainwater to run down inside the building, destroying all the new work. I have worked on projects where modest repairs to the lead flashing and stone pointing around chimneys was all that was necessary. On other projects the entire roof had to be stripped and new slate fitted. I have contracts across Edinburgh who specialise in this work, so you need expert advice I can arrange a quote.

The parts that are usually most in need of repair will vary from building to building, but the common ones are;

Stripping the windows, cills and shutter to repair rot. This sometimes involves upgrading from single to double glazing, which requires the lead weights, ropes, pulleys and astragals to be upgraded to cope with the extra weight.

Stripping internal doors and ironmonger.

Making bowed floors level again. This can sometimes involve replacing structural joits if they are rotten or have been 'notched' by previous work to the drains or electrics.

Repairing cornices and ceiling roses. Stripping back hundreds of years of paint.

Replacing old electrics and heating. This can be very disruptive, as it damages the walls, floors and ceilings to run new pipes and wires.

Renovation work to listed buildings wont usually require statutory approval. Listed Building Consent will be necessary in the following circumstances;
If you plan to change the use of the building (convert a shop to a flat, for example) 
Upgrading single glazed window to double glazing.
Altering the internal layout, no matter how simple.
Changing the external appearance in any way. 

A listed building consent application is assessed by the planning department and I have extensive experience negotiating with the officers in Edinburgh to secure approval for my clients projects. 
If in doubt get in touch on the contact page, I an happy to advise you. 

Good contractors are hard to find, great ones truly are worth their weight in gold. I am fortunate to have an ongoing professional relationship with some great contractors who specialise in renovating listed buildings in Edinburgh. These are small building firms, who only take on one project at a time and are often booked 9 - 12 months in advance. 

I am happy to consider working with new contractors but I always make discrete enquiries behind the scenes to check their reputation and suitability for the project. I have 15 years experience renovating listed buildings in Edinburgh. My network of contracts in the industry is extensive. If your project requires a special material, a unique skill or a bespoke item made to measure, the chances are I know someone who can help. I know many of the best people across Edinburgh and can bring them together for your renovaiton proejct.

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