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a step by step guide to renovating a building or a property

Property renovation experts in Halifax and West Yorkshire.

Renovating a house is not only a great opportunity to put your own stamp on a house, but it also allows you to incorporate the original character of a property — all whilst working your way up the property ladder.

A house renovation or building renovation can also allow you to afford a house you may not otherwise be able to (whilst you might be able to spot the renovation potential, others may not.)

Renovating a house is never going to be the same for any two properties, but there are various issues and projects that many house renovations have in common — and it pays to be well prepared for what lies ahead.

House renovation projects might be packed with charm, but renovating a house can also bring up a set of issues that will need to be resolved before your dream home can emerge — and these issues tend mean hidden costs. Being aware of these and having a step-by-step plan of action should mean the project remains on schedule and budget.

Here we cover some of the most important parts of renovating a building or a property.

A schedule of works is essential to anyone renovating a property or a building. It basically outlines every single job that needs to be done from start to finish of a project, in the right order. Ideally you also want to include who is doing what and how much it will cost on the list.

Below is a typical schedule of works for a building renovation carried out by JMCD Developments Ltd.

  • Current condition assessment

  • Stop further decay

  • Grants/Tax concessions

  • Statutory consents

  • Structural stability

  • Demolition work

  • Dealing with damp

  • Drains

  • Site access

  • Major building work

  • Weathertight

  • Exterior

  • External works

  • First fix

  • Plastering

  • Drying out

  • Fixed flooring

  • Second fix

  • Decorating

  • Final clean

  • Snagging

What’s the Difference Between Renovating and Remodelling?

The terms ‘renovate’ and ‘remodel’ are often used interchangeably but they do have quite different meanings.

When it comes to buildings, renovation is more akin to restoration than remodelling — that is to say, bringing something back to its original state, to reinvigorate and refresh. Remodelling, on the other hand, essentially refers to changing a building, perhaps through altering its layout or extending.

Of course what most owners of old houses or old buildings end up doing is a combination of the two — returning original features and the bare bones of the property to their former glory whilst playing around with the layout in order to make the house more suitable for modern-day living.

Do I Need Planning Permission When Renovating a building or a property?

There are several consent checks to consider before starting work on your house renovation, including:

  • planning permission

  • building regulations approval

  • listed building consent

To avoid delays we will begin your schedule of works with those projects that do not require planning consent.

Remember, even those jobs that require building regulations approval can be started following 24 hours’ notice of the intention to comply, made to the local authority building control department.

If you are building near the boundary of your house renovation you should check whether or not this work is affected by the Party Wall Act. It is also wise to get your solicitor to check your title deeds or lease — there may be restrictions relating to development of the property.


It should have been made apparent to you at the point of sale if your home is listed, but if you are unsure, you must check, as it is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised work to a listed home. Many buildings built around 1840 or earlier are likely to be listed — and over half a million in the UK are. You can check if your home is listed at British Listed Buildings and if it is, you will need to gain Listed Building Consent for alterations. Even painting a listed home with plastic paint or using gypsum plasters is unauthorised, so always check before you start work.

A home located in a conservation area has another protective status that can affect work to it. Restrictions in Conservation Areas generally affect only the exterior of the property as the intention is to ‘preserve or enhance the character or appearance’ of an area, but your permitted development rights (works that you can usually do without planning permission) will be affected, meaning you may require planning consent for works that are authorised elsewhere.


Once you have your plans, you must identify which aspects of your proposed renovation require statutory consent.

‘Make sure that you understand the different consents that you will need to address,’ advises architect Hugo Tugman. ‘Do you have permission to use the building as a dwelling, or will you need consent for a material change of use? Is it a listed building, is it in a Conservation Area, do you even need planning permission? Even if you don’t, you will almost certainly have to comply with building regulations and you might need a party wall agreement with neighbours. An architect from JMCD Developments can guide you through this minefield.’

If you want to start work immediately, check with your local authority and take on projects that are classed as permitted development (PD), such as converting an existing garage or roof space. If you do need statutory consents for all or part of your proposed works, factor in the amount of time required to determine the application. Planning decisions are supposed to take eight weeks and a full building regulations application five to six weeks.


Bats love the dark, quiet nooks and crannies in old homes — even more so if those homes have been left uninhabited for some time. It is a criminal offence to harm bats or disturb them when roosting, so conduct a bat survey and find out if you need to take special measures with your project.

Bat surveys can be expensive, but the fines imposed for not taking the precautions and disturbing bats are higher, so do your research well in advance as conducting a survey too late could hold up works.


The first stage of any renovation project is to get a detailed assessment of the current condition of the property. It’s really important to know what problems you are up against. A measured survey of the building to give you accurate plans, and a condition survey that will report on issues such as damp, infestation or subsidence.’

Any building left empty for more than a few months will inevitably start to deteriorate. While you finalise your plans, ensure the building is weather tight by covering up missing doors, windows and sections of roof. You may also need to put urgent temporary structural stabilisation in place; this might mean steel ties to stop lateral spread in walls or a roof, or scaffolding to prevent further collapse.

If you have a property or building in the West Yorkshire which needs renovating contact JMCD Developments your local 5 star rated experts.