Eager to renovate your home? Before you get started, it could be important to make a few checks to make sure that your project is legal and feasible. Below are some of the big things that could stop your renovations going ahead – including how to check for them and what you may be able to do to work around them.
Some areas of the UK – including national parks and areas of outstanding beauty – have strict laws in place prohibiting certain developments in order to preserve the natural beauty of the area. In other cases, towns or neighbourhoods may have conservation rules in place to protect the identity and heritage.
If you think that you live in such an area, it’s worth seeking planning permission before making any renovations. Extensions and noticeable exterior improvements that are carried out without permission could result in costly fines and you’ll usually be forced to stop work and tear them down. Interior improvements are unlikely to be affected by these rules – if you need extra space in your home, consider whether converting a loft, garage or cupboard under the stairs is a viable option.
Things That Could Stop Your Renovations Going Ahead: Protected Building Features
Some buildings are protected, which means you may be limited as to what renovations you can make (both to the exterior and interior). Most buildings constructed before 1850 are ‘listed buildings’ and may have such restrictions – this could be something to consider if you live in an old house. Other buildings may be seen to have architectural significance and may also carry development restrictions.
Seek out planning permission if you think your home could be affected. In some cases, you may still be able to make extensions and conversion providing that no original features are destroyed (and providing that any new features fit the architectural style).
Disturbance to Wildlife
Renovations can sometimes be banned if they have a negative impact on local wildlife. An attic or barn that is home to bats may be protected. Trees may also be protected if they are home to birds.
If you have bats in your home, it’s worth carrying out a bat survey using services found at sites such as batsurveys.co.uk. If you’re thinking of removing a tree, you may have to hire a certified arborist to assess it first. In some cases, it may be possible to relocate wildlife safely in order to carry out renovations, however, this may not always be the case.
Neighbours can sometimes object to renovations. This is particularly the case if an improvement infringes on privacy, blocks out sunlight or affects views. Some neighbours may even object to renovations simply on the grounds of noise.
It’s a good idea to always check with your neighbours before carrying out any renovations. If you think neighbours are objecting unfairly, you may be able to appeal to your local planning committee. Generally, if an improvement does not go against planning regulations and is not being contested by multiple neighbours, a planning committee will vote in your favour and allow your improvement to go ahead. This post at self-build.co.uk discusses more about neighbour objections.
Things That Could Stop Your Renovations Going Ahead -Unplanned costs
Poor budgeting is a common roadblock. You may find that you’re able to get started on the renovation if you don’t have to pay the money all upfront, however once the money runs out, any labourers you have hired are within their rights to stop working. This could result in a half-finished renovation.
Once you have a detailed plan of all the costs, consider whether you are able to realistically fund the whole project. Budget for 10% more than you need – this will cover any unplanned costs such as last minute adjustments, disruptions due to weather or increases in energy bills during renovation.