Planning for a Historic Home Renovation

written by:
July 18, 2014
  • 
  As the Client, Where Do I Start? Describe the finished historic home renovation. What will the renovated house look like? This can be based on photos, renderings, ideas, existing buildings, or other model. The “final product” usually changes several times during the planning process as possible ideas are integrated into the design.  Photo by Jason Madara.   This originally appeared in Modern Victorian House Preservation in Oakland.

    As the Client, Where Do I Start?

    Describe the finished historic home renovation. What will the renovated house look like? This can be based on photos, renderings, ideas, existing buildings, or other model. The “final product” usually changes several times during the planning process as possible ideas are integrated into the design.

    Photo by Jason Madara.
    This originally appeared in Modern Victorian House Preservation in Oakland.
  • 
  Identify what to keep. What should be retained as an historic artifact, functional structure or interesting feature? Does the item need to be protected during the historic home renovation, can it be removed during renovation for safety reasons and later replaced, or does it need to be renovated or duplicated off-site? At the same time, identify what to remove. What materials, wiring, pipes and structures need to be (or can be) permanently removed during the historic home renovation? Removal reasons include technical obsolescence, deterioration of materials or redesign of the house to a different floor plan.  Photo by Jonas Ingerstedt.   This originally appeared in Matali Crasset Renovates Monory Farmhouse.

    Identify what to keep. What should be retained as an historic artifact, functional structure or interesting feature? Does the item need to be protected during the historic home renovation, can it be removed during renovation for safety reasons and later replaced, or does it need to be renovated or duplicated off-site?

    At the same time, identify what to remove. What materials, wiring, pipes and structures need to be (or can be) permanently removed during the historic home renovation? Removal reasons include technical obsolescence, deterioration of materials or redesign of the house to a different floor plan.

    Photo by Jonas Ingerstedt.
    This originally appeared in Matali Crasset Renovates Monory Farmhouse.
  • 
  Identify what will be changed. Does the historic home renovation require new walls, doors or windows? Will there be new wiring, piping and HVAC ducts? Will there be new stairs, baths or a kitchen? What about garage space, a patio or a roof deck? All of this information will be used to develop the budget and schedule documents.  Photo by Brent Humphreys.   This originally appeared in Hillside Mid-Century Home Renovation in Texas.

    Identify what will be changed. Does the historic home renovation require new walls, doors or windows? Will there be new wiring, piping and HVAC ducts? Will there be new stairs, baths or a kitchen? What about garage space, a patio or a roof deck? All of this information will be used to develop the budget and schedule documents.

    Photo by Brent Humphreys.
    This originally appeared in Hillside Mid-Century Home Renovation in Texas.
  • 
  Does the Budget Match the Funding? Most people use a spreadsheet to generate a preliminary budget for their historic home renovation, which is based on previous or current costs from manufacturers, local artisans, or retailers. Using item-by-item costs will create the most accurate budget, but that process also requires the longest time to finish. Using a previous project similar in size and scope can quickly provide approximate budget amounts, which can be adjusted for unique aspects of the new project. Many projects get stalled at this point due to calculated costs exceeding the funds available. Costs may be reduced by using lower priced materials or making fewer repairs during the historic home renovation.  Photo by Richard Powers.   This originally appeared in Victorian Secrets.

    Does the Budget Match the Funding?

    Most people use a spreadsheet to generate a preliminary budget for their historic home renovation, which is based on previous or current costs from manufacturers, local artisans, or retailers. Using item-by-item costs will create the most accurate budget, but that process also requires the longest time to finish. Using a previous project similar in size and scope can quickly provide approximate budget amounts, which can be adjusted for unique aspects of the new project. Many projects get stalled at this point due to calculated costs exceeding the funds available. Costs may be reduced by using lower priced materials or making fewer repairs during the historic home renovation.

    Photo by Richard Powers.
    This originally appeared in Victorian Secrets.
  • 
  Develop a Sequenced Schedule A schedule is a list of work activities in logical sequence with a duration, a begin date, and a finish date. To minimize the risk of delays for your historic home renovation, task durations should not be longer than two weeks. Large tasks spanning more than two weeks can be broken down into two week sub-task packages.  Photo by Brett Boardman.   This originally appeared in An Airy Renovation in Sydney.

    Develop a Sequenced Schedule

    A schedule is a list of work activities in logical sequence with a duration, a begin date, and a finish date. To minimize the risk of delays for your historic home renovation, task durations should not be longer than two weeks. Large tasks spanning more than two weeks can be broken down into two week sub-task packages.

    Photo by Brett Boardman.
    This originally appeared in An Airy Renovation in Sydney.
  • 
  Planning Saves Time and Money For small projects (<$15,000), a seat-of-the-pants decision style may be appropriate. However, experience has shown that medium to large historic home renovation projects (>$20,000 to $1 million) benefit significantly by applying project management processes. In most cases, tasks can be performed in parallel, and assignment of skilled trades can occur smoothly without overlap or delay. Large expenses can be identified in advance, enabling better funding. As the historic home renovation become more complex and expensive, the project manager becomes as critical to the success of the project as the mason, electrician and historian.  Photo by Rene Mesman.   This originally appeared in Vertical Challenge.

    Planning Saves Time and Money

    For small projects (<$15,000), a seat-of-the-pants decision style may be appropriate. However, experience has shown that medium to large historic home renovation projects (>$20,000 to $1 million) benefit significantly by applying project management processes. In most cases, tasks can be performed in parallel, and assignment of skilled trades can occur smoothly without overlap or delay. Large expenses can be identified in advance, enabling better funding. As the historic home renovation become more complex and expensive, the project manager becomes as critical to the success of the project as the mason, electrician and historian.

    Photo by Rene Mesman.
    This originally appeared in Vertical Challenge.
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