The UK is renowned for its historic architecture. In England alone, there are as many as 500,000 listed buildings. Almost every village and town in Britain has buildings with a Tudor, Victorian or Edwardian twist. Today, companies large and small are choosing to do business from historic buildings which are now being used as commercial properties. There are now approximately 142,000 businesses trading from listed buildings across the country. However, the upkeep and maintenance of these buildings can be a difficult task. As a result, many historic commercial buildings eventually require restorative works.

Historic buildings

Commercial buildings can be anything from corner shops, large department stores, local pubs, Victorian gin palaces, simple chambers, or huge office blocks. Some of the UKs specialised commercial buildings appeared in the Middle Ages, while others came into being in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The range and scale of these buildings were transformed in the nineteenth century, making a significant impact on Victorian towns. This trend continued into the twentieth century, most commonly seen in British cities. There’s long been a high value on commercial architecture, and this has seen some of the UK’s most splendid public high street architecture. However, it has also resulted in continuous change, particularly shop fronts and fittings.

Restoring a historic commercial building

Restoration is the process of returning part or all of a building to the way it previously looked. If the historic commercial building’s design is of a specific period and a fundamental building element is damaged or missing, restoring it could help to enhance the building’s significance. However, any restoration project requires careful consideration to ensure the preservation of a building’s heritage. When you are looking to clean, repair or restore a listed building, you’ll find a minefield of complex rules and regulations. However, there are some key things you should know to help you when restoring a historic commercial building.

Pay attention to building regulations

Before you make any changes that could affect the building’s appearance or character, or even if you intend to restore the commercial building sympathetically to its original style, you still might need listed building consent or planning permission. Designers, building managers, and planning officers should be involved early in the project’s planning. They need suitable time to investigate any issues and challenges that may arise with the restoration works.

Research building’s history

The building may have undergone various changes over the years to reflect changes in architectural style. Meanwhile, repairs made over the years may have used a variety of different types of materials. This can make restoration all the more complex.

Restoration must be based on solid evidence of what the building looked like in its earlier period. Therefore, any restoration project requires a good understanding of the building’s history. You may discover that some elements of a building’s design, such as pinnacles, balustrades or windows, may have been lost in previous years. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should add all these elements to your building simply because they were typical of the period. Instead, it would be best to choose what is most appropriate for the building as it is today.

Retain as much as possible

When it’s necessary to make repairs to a historic commercial building, you should approach it by following the fundamental conservation principles of retaining as much of the building’s original fabric as possible. Every time large parts of the original material are removed, the building will lose its historic integrity. The details and materials inside the building are just as important as those on the outside. The original plasterwork stairs, floors and fireplaces, joinery such as skirtings and window encasements all contribute to the value and history of the building. Anything that’s still sound should be protected and left in situ wherever possible or carefully removed and placed in safe and dry storage before putting back into the building.

Planning restoration works for your commercial building

Any changes or upgrades made during the restoration should always be sympathetic to the original design and installed in such a way that avoids damage to the building’s façade, character-defining features, and finishes. You must try to work around the historic building fabric as much as possible. Any restoration should match the original building’s design, colour, texture, and materials as closely as possible.

For a commercial building restoration project to succeed, you need a good team of qualified professionals behind you, especially when it comes to cleaning. Our specialists have the knowledge, skills and experience to sympathetically clean and restore your historic commercial building so it can be used and enjoyed for many years to come.

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Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business. They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far. Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school. We are delighted with the results. You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

have worked with Building Transformation on several projects within the hospitality industry and have found
them to provide high levels of professionalism and workmanship.


e will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

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