Have you ever seen a vlog of people renovating an old stately home, or perhaps even an old convent in Melbourne? You see devastation and ruin when the camera first enters, and encounter layers of dust on everything. Then, slowly but surely, you witness the building’s transformation. First there’s the cleaning, then the commercial plumbing Melbourne residents are so mindful of. And bit by bit the structure and interior come together to create a stunning space again.
If you’re planning such a project, we’ve got a few tips. Please note that this article can’t contain all the steps required to renovate a building. This simply notes some important items to help you along the way.
Test For Diseases
Firstly, you’ll need to test for diseases. Old buildings can contain harmful pathogens that breed in airless conditions. If you find any, you’re going to have to get specialists to deal with it. No use carrying on renovating at a danger to your long-term health!
Decide on the Purpose of the Rebuilt Structure
You’ll need to determine what the building is going to be used for before starting anything. Based on its size and structure, decide what kind of building you want to have eventually. Apartments? One big home? Office suites? A shopping or sports complex?
This will establish how much knocking down of walls and building construction you’ll require.
The most important aspect of your renovation is your budget. It does determine how much you’re able to do. Expect to go over budget or add a substantial buffer amount for safety.
Examine for Structural Damage
The next step is to test for structural damage. Walls, floors and ceilings must be tested. See if they may collapse on your head as you work, or you’ll fall through the floor to underlying layers. If there is damage, you’ll need to repair that first, carefully constructing other support to prop the structure up as you work.
Check Building and Renovation Regulations
There may be building restrictions in your area, or limitations on what you can do to a listed building. Check how much you can build on or renew.
Many of the regulations also cover how much noise you can make and factors such as neighbours that object. You have to put up a notice of intention on the edge of the property for some time so that anyone can naysay your plans should they wish to.
Give a Thorough Cleaning
Give the building a thorough cleaning. Not only will that give you a clearer idea of what needs to be done, bust will also give an indication of further structural injury.
This includes sweeping the floor, washing walls and ceilings, and peeling away crumbling paintwork—all done at a perfunctory level. This will give you the ability to visualise your renovation more clearly too.
Work on the Plumbing
One of the next steps is to redo the plumbing. Old buildings have plumbing that follows outdated regulations, and you’ll probably have to start from scratch to construct plumbing that suits modern systems and standards.
Bigger buildings require commercial plumbing, rather than household plumbing, so take this into account. You’ll also require a mechanical plumber for the air-conditioning, ventilation and heating.
Work on the Electrics
The wiring is similar to plumbing. Not only does it fall under new regulations, but it’s likely to be broken and unusable. You have to rip it all out and install new systems according to regulations. This includes new electric boxes. The lights have to wait until the ceilings and floors are more or less complete.
Rebuild the Walls
Now you can reconstruct the walls. Determine whether you have to knock some walls down and commence building from the beginning, or whether you can use the old bricks. This decision depends on the structural test earlier, and the plan of what you want to do with the building.
Repair anything that’s broken and build new features or divisions to suit your plans.
Now is the time to put in new ceilings. They can now rest on the reconstructed walls, and you can start to add light fittings.
Renew the Plasterwork
If you are going to add plaster, this is the time to do it. You can add decoration, build up a feature, or simply lay a foundation for the paintwork.
At some stage, the roof and walls will be open for you to install insulation and fireproof cladding. This is essential in any modernised building, because you want to reduce your heating and cooling costs, and make sure your place is fireproof.
Paint and Decorate
This is the time to have the greatest fun. Add cupboards, taps, baths, sinks, stoves, showers and more. It will start to give your building life.
Paint will further add colour and harmony to the structure.
Renovating an old building can seem somewhat daunting, but it’s very rewarding and fulfilling. Take it one milestone at a time and a dream can become a reality.
You’ve seen it on TV. Why can’t you try it too?