Restoration Castle

GUEST ARTICLE: Why building restoration makes good business sense

  • 22 Oct 2019

This guest article from Richard Walker, National Technical and Development Manager at Peter Cox, explores why building restoration can be a wise option from a business point of view.

Almost half a million buildings in the UK have heritage protection. This status is awarded to castles, stately houses and other buildings across the country, for the role they’ve played in history and because they are architecturally significant.

Maintenance of these properties can be difficult if they aren’t in regular use, as neglect often leads to structural issues.

For this reason, it often makes sense to renovate the property so it can be used for commercial or residential purposes.

Due to planning restrictions and listings, property developers will often have to ensure the façade of the listed building is kept intact and use renovation methods that are in keeping with the way the property was originally constructed. 

Restoration and renovation is also financially rewarding for property owners, as many consumers want to live in or rent properties that have character – and business owners often desire an office location in a well-recognised place. 

The challenges of restoration and renovation

Issues such as damp, dry rot and infestations of woodworm are more common in older buildings. They have faced the weather’s elements for a long time and poor design detail and the cost of maintenance can lead to defects occurring.

Understanding the history of each property is crucial and each renovation case must be assessed individually before work is done.

For example, if a building has an array of different period styles then it can create a complex restoration process, while other buildings may consist of different materials, owing to various repair works that have taken place across their lifetime.

There may also be the added challenge of repairing a building with significant damage. Unlike modern buildings, older properties will not have relatively sophisticated methods of weather proofing, meaning that they are more likely to suffer from damp, and associated fungal decay and insect and infestation which can impact upon the structural integrity of a building.

A residential case

In August this year, Peter Cox undertook landmark residential renovations to Georgian terraces in Northumberland Square in Newcastle.

The properties were built between 1810 and 1816 and after extensive inspection of the terraces, experts found that rain penetration had caused damage to internal walls and plasterwork and a serious outbreak of dry rot.

There was also rising damp on the ground floor, numerous other timber decay issues throughout the premises, and evidence of a Common Furniture Beetle infestation in the joists and floorings.

Technicians recommended a bespoke service that involved installing a damp proof course, fitting new roofs and completing additional dry rot treatments to prevent further spread within affected areas.

The finished houses will become modern homes that come with a guarantee of assurance that these issues won’t re-occur.

A commercial case

Our technicians were also recently involved in the restoration of Stanford Hall in Nottinghamshire which was renovated by The Defence and Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) so that injured military personnel could receive treatment and rehabilitation back into service or ‘civy’ life.

Originally built in 1558, the Stanford Hall restoration required careful consideration to ensure the building retained its character because various building materials had been used over the centuries.

The DNRC also wanted Stanford Hall’s basement to be habitable, and so we carried out a bespoke waterproofing job onsite. A Type ‘C’ system under BS8102 “Cavity Drainage Membrane” system was installed to ensure the spaces were watertight and habitable.

This detailed approach to the complete restoration of the building has meant it has retained its historic character while accommodating up to 300 injured servicemen and women – yet the system is reversible and can be removed if the original structure needs to be revealed given the buildings’ historic and ‘listed building’ status. 

Why complete restoration is effective

Renovation and restoration is a complex process – the type of building, its former use and its intended use must be carefully considered.

With vast experience working on projects including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Peter Cox are the experts in property preservation.

As well as fungal decay treatments, Peter Cox can help with problems such as rising and penetrating damp, woodworm infestations, structural repairs and basement waterproofing.

Whether you own a listed building in need of restoration, or a property in disrepair, get in touch with an expert who can help to advise you on next steps.

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