I’ve recently purchased a large Victorian period property which needs… a lot of work.

As the roof needs some attention I’m biting the bullet and replacing much of the roof tile with solar panelling; the subtle ‘looks just like slate tile’ variety so as not to distract from the character. I’m also going to install under-floor heating throughout so will be removing much of the central heating infrastructure. The electrics are not to regulation and will also need replacing, as will the ancient plumbing. And because much of the plaster is blown, I’m going to do a complete rip out and interior refurb, taking it back to the bare brick and updating from there.

Looking for a company willing to oblige isn’t my problem at the moment. My problem concerns original features. I have no idea what’s what; there are several fireplaces with ancient tiling but I wouldn’t know antique from B&Q. And I am so very keen to maintain features where possible. Is there such a thing as an independent specialist who I could hire to do a walkthrough? If there is, what are they called? My considerable Google search efforts are thus unrewarded.

Thanks guys!

  • Lindsey Davis

    Hi Stephen,

    There are a few groups you can contact for help. SPAB http://www.spab.org.uk (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) are dedicated to the conservation of old buildings and have courses for homeowners or ‘guardians’ of old homes. They can also give you advice on which professionals will be able to help you, perhaps with a home visit.

    You could also try the Heritage Skills Hub who have a heritage and conservation register (http://www.heritageskillshub.org/resources/advice/heritage-conservation-registers/). On here you can again find professionals who can tell you which are original features.

    Finally, try and find tradesmen who have experience of period property. Even if you just need someone to plaster a wall, they need to know they are using the right types of material for your structure as a lot of damage can be done to older properties when modern materials are used which don’t allow the building to ‘breathe’.

    I hope this is helpful,

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