The Ultimate Guide to Reconstructing Your Damaged House

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The Ultimate Guide to Reconstructing Your Damaged House

Rebuilding your house lets you adjust the parts of your house that you want while also not destroying it entirely. But it does come with a lot of potential difficulties, so we will go through some of the things you need to be prepared for when approaching house reconstruction. Let’s get into it.

Regulations

First and foremost, the regulations. Before you begin any planning remember to look over your local regulations so that you know what you are allowed and not allowed to do. It would be an immense waste of time for you to work out all of your plans and then realize that you can’t do any of them because they aren’t in line with the local regulations. Not to mention, you will also need building approval from your local council before you go through with the reconstruction. This is all the more critical if your building has any historical heritage value.

Planning permission will come up as an obligation as well. Although, not every renovation project will require it, and it mainly depends on the scope of the project and the parts of the house you are altering. If you want to work on the roof, you will most definitely need planning permission. 

The New Design

Arguably the most important part of the process – the design. You need to thoroughly think over what kind of new layout you want your house to have, and whether it is even doable. Will you be able to have natural lighting in the important parts of the house? You will need to go over a lot of factors and then see whether your budget can support it. The bright side is that most of the time, changing the design of your home is cheaper when rebuilding than when undergoing a full-scale house demolition.

Budgeting

Got your budget set? Great! Now add 20% more on that. Countless little factors contribute to the expenses that you will have (more on this later). So, it’s extremely important to be ready for more hidden fees as time progresses. This will be obvious as soon as work starts, as your builder is always going to bring up more and more things that need the additional payment. Another thing to consider is to have some spare money to spend if something didn’t quite turn out the way you envisioned it, this way you can rework it. Better to spend some extra money now than live in a house filled with regrets.

Assess the State of the Drainage

If your house is in bad shape due to neglect, chances are that there will be something wrong with the drainage as well. Check the drains via the closest manhole to spot any irregularities, damage, or accumulated water. All homes are required to have a Legal Point of Discharge (LPOD) that is connected to the main sewer. If your current LPOD is inadequate then you will need to spend your money to fix it before renovations can commence. If you are uncertain about the location of your LPOD, contact your local council.

Notify the Neighbors

It is mandatory to notify your neighbours when doing any type of wide-scale renovation that can potentially affect their property. They can voice their concerns which would result in the delay of your project, but such is life. If you know any neighbours that have undergone renovations, it would prove helpful to ask them for any advice on the matter. And if you are planning on getting rid of the old fences and erecting a new fence, mention it to the neighbours so that you don’t end up damaging any of their property.

Remember to Disconnect All Services 

Before commencing the work, remember to disconnect all active services. This can mean a variety of things:

  • The water supply
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Streaming platforms such as Netflix
  • The TV and any other electrical devices
  • Stormwater drains (up to the legal point of discharge)

Reconnecting some services will be required for works to continue, most notably the water supply and electricity for the power tools. Care must be taken when respecting any of the services. The first thing to do is to inform all workers and family members. Forgetting to do so might bring about catastrophes especially in case of gas and electricity services. Also, before reconnecting a service make sure they haven’t been damaged as this might put the workers in great danger.

The Fees

Be ready for a ton of fees ranging from legal costs to foundation repairs. These expenses might vary depending on the size of your project as well as the region in which you live. Normally, running any construction project comes with some legal expenses. You will have to pay for multiple legal expenses such as hiring a solicitor, paying for council taxes, and fees for a valuation report. 

Discovering Damp

It can be really painful when discovering dampness in an area, as it will set you back both on time, work, and money. Damp is more common in older houses and almost 100% of damp issues come from condensation and a lack of proper ventilation. The importance of having proper ventilation cannot be stressed enough, not only is it important for the well-being of you and your closest, but also for the home itself. There are 2 common types of dampness:

  • Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp is the most common damp, it can occur in both old buildings and new ones (but primarily in old ones) and it is the result of water entering the property through an external wall. The best ways of treating it are by fixing the roof, guttering the windows and doors, and replacing missing hung tiles.

  • Rising Damp

Rising damp is the rarer damp, and it occurs when moisture travels from the ground and up through the walls by capillary action. This way the groundwater that contains salt is stored in between the tiny tubes in the bricks. This can become a problem if the lower levels of the walls don’t have a proper damp-proof course (DPC). The damp-proof course serves as a barrier built into the walls to protect the property from dampness. The best ways of dealing with rising damp are by improving the ventilation, improving ground drainage, or lowering the outside ground levels.

The Flooring

When you are implementing the flooring, keep in mind you will need to thoroughly dry out the plaster before bringing in any timber products (primarily the flooring) into your house. This process can safely last up to about six weeks. The other possible option would be to opt for a dryline instead of plaster, and timber floors that are suspended rather than concrete. 

Be Prepared for Unpredicted Problems

No matter how detailed and concise your plan is, there is always the potential for unpredicted problems. Heavy machinery working around your house might cause damage to some parts of it, workers might get injured. Weather conditions might stop you for several days, etc. Therefore, it’s better to have a secondary plan in advance and reschedule parts of your plan if necessary. 

That is it, there are many things to worry about when doing such a large-scale project, and you have to be aware of builders trying to scam you for your money. So keep your head up and plan ahead for any possible problems and you’ll do fine.