Renovation project: a close shave with demolition

The trials of working in a conservation area.

Concerns about financial security and a pension pot is something that resonates with a lot of people. Alison Holden-Thandi, featured in the January 2022 issue, was working as an IT contractor in London and although earning a good salary, had concerns about the pension system. In this article, she shares how renovating a property in 2007 piqued her interest in property, leading her to build a portfolio for her future security.

In 2019 a friend made her aware of a complete wreck of a property in a conservation area that had become available. Alison explains how she went on to renovate this into something much more attractive and in keeping with the immediate vicinity.

A property project that didn’t go to plan

As with a lot of property projects, things are not always straightforward. It went to sealed bids, a process that was unfamiliar to Alison; the survey highlighted potential structural issues; and she had to renegotiate the price.

Her plan was to turn the property into a five-bed HMO, adding a double-height extension to the side. The renovations and the extension had reached the point of plastering when Alison received devastating news from the council. The original planning approval had stated that the extension needed to be stepped back from the original property so that it was not flush; unfortunately, however, the builder had not followed the correct plans so there was a risk that the extension might have to be demolished and rebuilt.

In addition, the renovation was being done during Covid and Alison lost one of the original tradesmen, who was required to self-isolate.

Rescuing the project

Not one to be deterred, Alison resubmitted the planning application for the built design and, after some toing and froing with the local housing councillor, to her great relief the revised plan was approved.

Reading this article will keep you on the edge of your seats! It’s one NOT to be missed, as it demonstrates the importance of checking and re-checking that the builders are working to the correct plan! In addition, Alison talks through the financials to reveal the outcome.

YPN writer and property investor
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