Home Talking Revolution Tips for Managing a Building Restoration – London

Tips for Managing a Building Restoration – London


Envision how exciting and challenging it might be to manage a Building Restoration Project in the world’s most resilient city, London.

Tempting high-net-worth buyers from across the globe, Building Restoration Projects in London are becoming increasingly popular. As inflation rises, savvy investors are looking to shield their wealth, with property being a natural choice and London becoming the preferred destination.

The city’s enduring appeal is littered with exceptional period properties full of character, great history, and outstanding features. Furthermore, as Sadiq Khan announces £1.3bn of investment in London’s small businesses and reaffirms his commitment to boosting tourism, the city is undertaking a speedy recovery from the pandemic and building renovation projects are beginning to flourish.

But what regulations do you need to comply with for the building restoration of the diverse historical and architectural style properties? Are there different rules for the building restoration of Victorian and Georgian properties? What about for the Art Deco and modern buildings? And what are the specific challenges and difficulties of renovating these high-end properties in the city of London?

We will discuss:

  • Challenges for building restoration projects in the City of London
  • Practical considerations before starting a building renovation project in the city
  • Key takeaways

resotation projects london

Always a Challenge

Building Restoration in central London is no mean feat. This magnificent city homes over 270,000 people in a region amalgamating period houses, different architectural styles, mismatched neighbourhoods and modern living. With a host of rules and regulations to comply with, building restoration projects need to be sympathetic to their surroundings.

In addition, some of these old properties need contemporary adjustments. So, how do we strike a balance?

Location and the property type are always a challenge, especially considering the high number of Graded properties in London and the regulations governing building restorations for these period buildings. A common issue is combining period features while improving the sustainability and functionality of modern living. Read our blog on How To Renovate a Grade II Listed Property for further insights.

With 32 boroughs and the City of London, each local authority impacts the building restoration works that are permitted in each area. A work approval permit is needed prior to the start of work, independent of the building restoration project requiring planning permission, building regulations approval, or both:

  • Material and equipment storage? Needs work approval
  • Excavation? Needs work approval
  • Roadway occupancy? Needs work approval


Practical Considerations

Be aware!

The first step to your building renovation project is awareness. It is like having an eagle view: you need to be aware of every nook and cranny of the property, your neighbours, your borough, your postcode area, and your street. In other words, sketching a map of information before any work commences and pinpointing things that need doing or considering.

Advice from your local council

The local council should be your first point of contact regarding what is and isn’t possible with the building restoration and can also advise on building consent.

Prioritise Health and Safety (H&S)

London has an array of old properties in need of contemporary adjustments to comply with safety standards. When managing a building renovation project in the city,  it is important to be fully aware of H&S compliance:

  • Fire safety standards
  • Compliance with noise
  • Waterproofing and drainage systems may need replacing
  • Ventilation
  • Insulation

Again, the local council is your first place to find out about these.

Code compliance

Managers of building restoration projects in the city have to deal with building restrictions and access to the property. Space is usually extremely limited, and privacy has to be considered carefully. This is why it is not always possible to include a terrace, balcony or courtyard as part of the project. Instead, adding or converting basements and lofts is now a common trend as well as side return extensions where they are possible.

Limit noise

Thinking of a new games area, music room or private cinema room?

You will often find that in many of the Victorian and Edwardian building renovations in London, the noise between you and your neighbour is a problem. This could either be airborne noise (that is a person’s voice carrying through walls) or impact noise (like the noise from people jumping or walking upstairs). Therefore, consider the noise implication when engaging in a renovation project, especially during the renovation of period apartments and attached properties.

Read further information on acoustic testing here.

Plan, think ahead and plan some more

There are many diverse and unique communities in London and you need to be conscious of the character and feel of the local area.  In addition, your house building renovation project may also have to comply with the regulations of a conservation area, building regulations, dividing wall concessions and listed building consent. Furthermore, many building renovation projects may also need planning permission.


Key Takeaways

When undertaking a building renovation project in London, it is paramount to understand the different and diverse building rules and regulations from your local authorities along with the application processes. Above all,  vision and planning are key.

Different boroughs, distinct neighbourhoods, postcodes, streets and property styles may have specific restrictions when it comes to building restoration.  You need to be sharp and focused.

“A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.”
Ta ‘Shunke Witko.

As renovators, we’re always interested in how residential properties can be improved. Having engaged in a variety of projects including refurbishment, extensions of listed properties and building restorations, we understand that renovating not only restores the house but restores the story of the home and neighbourhood. Contact us if you need further insight and help.

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This blog is based on our own client experiences. Written by Emile Malaney. 13/05/2022.