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ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Landers
Oxford Circus, Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge – world famous sights line up in London, one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world. It’s home to near on 9 million people in the Greater London area alone, with millions more living in the extended metropolitan area.
Any house within the M25 (and many outside of it) can be considered commuting distance to the inner city, and more and more people are deciding to renovate their homes rather than sell and move. “In recent years home renovations have increased dramatically, along with a decrease in the number of homes for sale in Britain,” says Tom Bentley, general manager of Refresh Renovations UK. “The cost and hassle of moving often far outstrips the benefits.”
However, with many layers of history, a range of different architectural styles and a host of rules and regulations to comply with, renovating in London is no mean feat. You will have several important factors to consider depending on your property type, its location, your budget and many other factors. “Every project is different and needs to be approached as such,” says Tom. “With a renovation, there are so many variables and a lot comes down to the type and location of the house you’re renovating.”
Architectural styles in London are varied, ranging from Georgian, Queen Anne and Victorian period properties through to Art Deco, post war and modern buildings. There is a mishmash of different property types in many neighbourhoods and with so many differing styles spread throughout London, house renovations sometimes need to be sympathetic to their surroundings whilst in other locations they can be a bit bolder and aim to stand out.
These days a great many of the older, larger houses have been converted into flats. And of course many modern buildings, either new builds or newly renovated homes, have joined the ranks. Generally speaking, the population and housing density is high in London. Renovation builders in most cases have to deal with issues including code compliance, building restrictions, and access to the property. Space is usually extremely limited and privacy an important consideration. That’s why adding or converting basements and lofts is a common trend, along with side return extensions where they are possible.
From Harrow and Hampstead through to Clapham and Croydon, the many different and unique communities of London make up the city’s vibrant fabric. Being mindful of the local area in terms of look and feel is one thing, but your house renovation project may also have to comply with conservation area regulations, building regulations, party wall agreements and listed building consent. And of course, many projects need planning permission. Greater London is comprised of 32 council boroughs and the City of London. It’s paramount to the success of your renovation to understand the different building rules and regulations along with the application processes.
Plan on planning, planning and more planning. Embarking on a renovation project, especially a major makeover, too hastily can cost you thousands of pounds down the track, so it really is well worth the extra time and effort to ensure you get it right first time. Tom explains: “Working out the details of your renovation from the get go will help prevent problems down the line when changes to a project can be costly. This is where experienced renovation specialists come into their own. They can help you finalise your plans and take the hassle out of your project by getting all the necessary permits, managing the day-to-day challenges of a renovation and contracting skilled and reliable tradespeople – helping you make the most of both your property and your budget.”
You might be wondering: Why hire a renovation builder for your home renovation rather than a new house builder?
If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.