Character and uniqueness make period houses special but they do require more commitment and dedication. Time gives the building character, but also exposes the buildings flaws and faults. When problems are found in period properties, they need to be rectified as soon as possible to prevent further costs. When work is carried out, the original fabric should be preserved wherever possible. Regular maintenance is essential to help stop problems from occurring and identifying them early before they become too serious and expensive.
Period restoration specialists work in a number of individual areas, but if working on your property involves the renovation of a period building, you will no doubt need the skills of a specialist conservator or restorer at some point. For the less challenging restoration tasks, there are actually courses available for the layman to give you hands-on experience, plus a wealth of technical advice from a number of organisations. But unless you have many years of experience working in the period restoration sector, you will save a lot of time and heartache consulting a specialist at an early stage. Finding a professional restorer can be difficult, but there is a database of professional conservation and restoration businesses in the UK which is operated by the UK Institute for Conservation in collaboration with the National Council for Conservation-Restoration and Historic Scotland.
If you hire a specialist that is included on the database, you have peace of mind in the knowledge that all contractors have to pass stringent criteria which include seven years of experience, relevant training and qualifications, plus checkable references from five restoration projects within the last five years. There are a number of other sources for restoration advice including The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, The Building Conservation Directory, the Irish Professional Conservators and Restorers Association and a number of trade associations.
Like any other contractor, you need to do some research before hiring. However you will find that unlike other trades, your local Yellow Pages will not be full of listings for period restoration experts! Restoration professionals are rather thin on the ground, however you should still try and follow the same guidelines, such as getting at least 3 written quotes, checking references and researching previous projects and qualifications. You should never choose any tradesman on price alone, especially in this specialised field. Far more important is the quality of the work and previous experience. Use the "post your job" button on this page to have restoration experts get in touch with you to provide quotes and advice on your project for free.