If you want to set about converting a residential home from a building

originally intended for an entirely different purpose, then there are a number of problems to be considered and overcome. The results, however, can be stunningly beautiful.

I am talking about converting buildings such as barns, churches, schools or commercial buildings here. One crucial step is to obtain the detailed planning permission for your project. You cannot just assume that you will be allowed to convert an old barn, for example. Other factors that need to be considered are whether the building is listed or within a conservation area.

This need not prevent conversion but may well lead to stringent restrictions on what you can and can’t do. You may need to maintain the existing exterior design, for example. You will need to have a detailed survey of the building carried out.

This should be done by a building surveyor who is a corporate member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). An architect may also need to be involved in drawing up relevant plans.

Here is a brief look at some of the different properties you might consider, together with some of their specific problems.

Barn Conversions – building new residential properties in the countryside is covered by strict planning rules and regulations. A
s a result, barn conversions are increasingly popular and are often covered by Permitted Development. There are some requirements that need to be adhered to with barn conversions. The existing roof line needs to be maintained, for example, so no dormer windows are allowed.

Industrial Building Conversions – if you are looking for properties to convert in an urban environment you might consider industrial buildings. These can be anything from factories, pubs and warehouses to old railway buildings, fire stations and even disused petrol stations. It is often possible to incorporate design features such as unique door ironmongery, external staircases and traditional stone flooring to create a distinctive personality for your property.

Church Conversions – redundant churches can provide conversions that are both surprising and unusual. Converting a church will present distinct design issues, however. Local planners will be unlikely to approve external alterations to any major extent and will want the original character of the building preserved through retention of existing doors and windows.

If you are considering such a conversion project in the Gloucester area, do give me a call on 01452 372229 and I’ll be happy to chat through your ideas.