We’re always trying to improve our space, whether that’s to increase the sale value or to try and create our dream home. We often find that we are glued to the computer and tv screens looking out for tips from shows like DIY SOS.

However, you’ll be disappointed to hear that it’s not as easy as thinking up your renovation plans and then getting to work. While tasks such as replacing your roof or having solar panels fitted are safe to crack on with (although speaking to your council is still good practice), others aren’t.

Sometimes you’ll come across some factors that will halt the process and grind on your mind that prevents it from becoming a reality. We take a look at some hidden factors on house renovations below.

renovating your home

Is your home a listed building?

When buying your current property you should have been told whether or not it’s a listed building. The chances are that if it is listed that you’ll struggle to have any work carried out without some sort of fight. It is actually a criminal offence to simply go ahead with any work without the authorisation to do so. If you are unsure whether or not your property is a listed building, you can check at British Listed Buildings.


Moving your electric meter and fuse box can sometimes come into play with the work you plan to carry out. You must not do this yourself, however, because doing so is illegal. Usually, if it’s a move of fewer than 15 centimetres, this can be carried out by your energy supplier free of charge. But for larger-scale moves of over three metres, your local distribution company would have to move your mains supply before the electricity meter can be placed elsewhere. If this is something you require, make sure you book the relevant appointments to avoid long delays.

Notify your neighbours

You must notify your neighbours on certain work, this is thanks to the Party Wall Act of 1996. This act occurs when you’re sharing a wall between two houses where your planned work may undermine the structural integrity of the wall. Tasks such as fitting shelves and replastering aren’t included in this Act, however, if you were looking to undergo more extensive work it is something you must adhere to.

It’s very important that you provide your neighbours with a ‘notice’ which should include the details of the prospective work that will be done. This should be presented along with a copy of the act, two months prior to the work being carried out. They will then have 14 days to raise any concerns they may have and provide written approval or rejection. Doing this will cover you if anything turns sour with said neighbour. If they do reject your proposal and it’s impossible to come to some form of agreement, you will be required to assign a surveyor who will then determine what work can be carried out.

Loft conversions

People look to convert their lofts in an attempt to give themselves more living space. However, you must make sure that you attain the correct building regulations approval beforehand. This is required to ensure there is sufficient structural strength to the floor, while also making sure that the existing roof and the structure’s stability isn’t jeopardised.

The timber joints that form the floor of a loft space can be unsturdy in many homes, therefore wouldn’t be capable to support a lot of weight. This can be an issue for your plans if you’re considering turning it into a bedroom, and without official planning and meeting set regulations, this could land you in a heap of troublesome problems. Perhaps surprisingly, any work that you carry out could indeed hinder your future sale if you don’t get the appropriate permission and paperwork. In some instances, you will be required to revert the property back to its former state if you haven’t gone through the correct channels when carrying out the work.

Garage conversions

Generally, you aren’t required to seek planning permission for a garage conversion if it’s not your intention to increase the size of your home or your garage. If your sole purpose is to use the space for personal gain, then you should be able to carry out your intended work so long as you complete the work thoroughly and to the correct standard. However, it’s important to note that planning permission must be sought if you are looking to convert the space into a separate house.


Not everyone understands the impact an extension can have on your property, even though they’re one of the most popular in the renovation world. For example, have you considered the impact an extension will have on your current boiler? Adding extra space will mean there’s an added demand on your hot water system and, in some cases, your boiler won’t be able to cope. Make sure you factor this into any plan.

A building regulation approval is a must – even if you don’t need planning permission using permitted development rights. In some cases, you may also need to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy, so it’s important to check this out prior to conducting any work.

Although renovating your property can have a great looking end product, getting to that point can take some hard work and many obstacles. It’s important to carry out your research as much as you can so that there’s no hidden costs or issues that creep up for any work you’re intending to carry out.