Conservation Architects and Builders in London

A house renovation is a great investment for your London home. Renovating your property creates the feeling of living in a new home on a far lower budget, and without all the known hassle associated with moving. 

Our partner architects focus on conservation and sustainability with a modern approach. We highlight distinctive features and add architectural value to the building with modern details derived from the original and interpreted for the future generations.

What is Conservation Architecture?

What is Conservation Architecture? 

Conservation Architecture specialises in designs for heritage buildings and areas that have historic value for the local communities.

Conservation areas are areas of special architecture and character interest. Listed buildings are individual buildings particularly designated for their historic value to the local community.

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What is Conservation Architecture?

What is Conservation Architecture? 

houseUP works with Conservation Architecture firms that specialise in designing in line with the strict rules that apply to heritage and listed buildings; our focus is on keeping features and creating new ones that respect and enhance the value and the meaning of the building for the local community.

In Greater London there are more than 1000 conservation areas, with several boroughs where almost all streets and buildings are listed or located inside a conservation area.

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Conservation and Heritage Design Services


    We always appoint partner architects with experience of conservation projects in the same area or in the same council. Our architects have a vast range of experience with conservation architecture in London.


    In preparation for the design, it’s important to know everything about the conservation area and the local character. Understanding the materials used locally, the surrounding properties and the history of the area help create a proposal that preserves and enhances the local character.

  • 03DESIGN 

    Creating drawings for a heritage building requires the perfect mix between the client’s needs and the local authorities’ requirements. With the conservation area appraisal in mind and with feedback from the planning officer and the local community, we create a design respectful of the local history and character and is in line with the local vernacular.


    Our conservation architect teams create and submit the planning package, including all plans and elevations, the mandatory design and access statement, heritage report, listed building consent and all other relevant documentation. Often we approach the local authorities through the pre-planning process, where we can have feedback from the planning officers before filing the full application. This increases the success rate of the planning process

Planning Applications

Planning Applications 

The planning process for buildings in conservation areas and listed buildings is not radically different from a standard planning process.

Usually the planning officers get much more involved in the process and full engagement with the officer is key to a successful application. Our partner conservation architects use their in-depth knowledge of the characteristics of London architecture to ensure great communication with planning officers throughout the process.

When proposing new features and modern additions, the design and access statement becomes a great opportunity to explain the reasons behind the design and the choice of shapes, materials and features.

A great example is the fully glazed rear extension in this end of terrace house in Greenwich.


Questions and answers

Collected questions that we often hear from you

  • How much will my refurbishment cost? 

    Every good building company will tell you that it is not possible to estimate the cost of refurbishment for a flat or a house before all the details have been defined. But we understand that it is important to have a reference figure before embarking in the process for budgeting purposes.

    We suggest a conservative estimate of £1,750 per square metre as the absolute minimum, and an average of between £2,000 and £3,500 per square metre.

    However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are details that can impact the cost significantly, the most costly being basement excavations or extensions of existing lower ground spaces; inclusion of very large or high spec glazing; very high energy performance materials.

    Additionally, some finishes can increase costs significantly, like paint, tiles or flooring, especially if the surfaces are very large,.

    In general, kitchens can be installed from as low as a few thousand pounds to hundreds of thousands, too.

  • How long will my refurbishment take? 

    As per the duration of a project, it cannot be estimated without the full details. If you want to plan ahead, for alternative accommodation for example, we recommend at least:

    For smaller flat refurbishment, approximately 4 to 6 months. For house refurbishment, approximately 6 – 8 months These estimations relate to straightforward refurbishments like loft conversions or rear and side extensions. More complex work like basement excavations can only be estimated with more details, especially if access to the property is a consideration. Composition of the soil etc are also important factors.

  • Can I live at the property during the refurbishment? 

    We always recommend that you arrange for alternative accommodation during the project.

    Some of our clients choose to live at the property during the work, and, of course, we make that possible. However, please be advised that this arrangement comes with a significant increases in stress, cost and duration of the project.

  • I want to do everything with one company, can you do design and refurbishment for me? 

    Yes we can. We partner with the best London architects to create designs that suit you and your needs. We will match you with architects who have specific experience in your area, share your vision and style for your refurbishment project.

    Doing the design and build with us gives you a view and control of the projected costs of your refurbishment from the very first day. You will be able to make well-informed choices for your design while understanding the cost implications and opting for the best solution for your investment.

    Check out our Design & Build page for more information.

  • I have all the drawings ready with my architect, can you do the building works for me? 

    We certainly can! We work with the best architects in London through a tender process, for clients that choose to have the designs for their refurbishment made by an independent architect.

    We can provide quotes in our own very detailed format or in your architect’s preferred format.

  • Do I need planning permission for my refurbishment? 

    You won’t need planning permission for most refurbishment projects. If you are not changing the external appearance of your flat or your house, you won’t need planning permission. In many cases, you can make a loft conversion or a rear/side extension within permitted development rights. You can find all the details on which type of extensions are allowed under permitted development here.

    However, if you are planning to refurbish a listed building, you may need permission.

  • What works make the biggest difference in the final cost of my refurbishment project? 

    Typically excavation to extend or create a basement under an existing property is one of the most expensive types of work in construction. The cost of finishes is another big factor in the final cost of a flat or house refurbishment.

  • I am buying a property, can you help me estimate how much the refurbishment would cost? 

    When you buy a new property, it is very likely that you’ll plan for a refurbishment. You can find some very good deals on the market, where you can buy a property for a good price when it needs some work done.

    By offering an estimation on work to be done, we can help you make the right decision and offer the right price for the potential property.

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Get in touch for your conservation project

Contact us for a chat about your heritage project, and find the best way to preserve the special character of your property

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