Owning a listed building is a tough but incredibly rewarding investment. 75% of estate agents say that a well-looked after property in a Conservation Area adds to the value of other properties in that area as well. So, if you do own such a property, correct and regular maintenance is essential to maximise the health and longevity of your property, as well as positively affecting house prices in the surrounding area. Here are some tips for maintaining a listed property:
- Understand your home
Learn all you can about your property and spend time really getting to know it. The more you understand it, the better prepared you’ll be for spotting potential problems and identifying weaknesses. Carrying out regular maintenance checks and inspections is crucial. Don’t only carry out such inspections when it’s sunny either. Get out and look when it’s raining, so you can easily spot leaks and problems. Check your property after bad weather, looking for any water infiltration or damp spots.
- Keep meticulous records
Every time you carry out an inspection or complete any maintenance, you should record it all. This is important for recognising long-term trends and seeing when areas are due for revisiting. A log book can contain photos you’ve taken and information about what’s been done, where and by who. This also keeps a track of which professionals have worked on your property. This collection of information will help future professionals who come to complete work, potential future owners and provide a detailed history of the heritage property.
- Have a plan
You’ll want to have a maintenance plan to go hand-in-hand with your record-keeping. It helps good discipline when it comes to jobs that need doing and sticking to a time frame. A plan will most likely be influenced by the following:
How your property was built, changes that have occurred over the years and its present condition.
Find the weak points and also anticipate where potential issues might occur.
Consider the entire property as a whole system including the interior, the plumbing, electrics and the surroundings. This can help you to identify problems by looking at the whole picture and not just one narrow part.
Consider the property’s position and elemental exposure.
- Seek permission
If you’re thinking of any work that impacts on the historical or architectural importance of the property, you will need permission. A ‘like-for-like’ repair or replacement will generally not need consent if it doesn’t affect the special interest aspect of the property. Any work that goes beyond regular maintenance will likely need planning permission and listed building consent. For many period properties, adding extensions or porches can be done by using matching, natural materials such as oak. Why not look into the benefits of having an Oak Porch?
- Call in the professionals
Sometimes, you won’t have the required skills for carrying out work on an historic property. This is when you need to call in professionals who have experience with listed and heritage buildings. Listed buildings are constructed differently to modern ones, so you’ll need a tradesperson specially trained in historic maintenance.