Frequently Asked Questions » Can Any General Contractor Do a Remodel on an Historic Home?
Can Any General Contractor Do a Remodel on an Historic Home?
Historic home remodels are special types of projects that require a special type of general contractor. Working on an historic home is a very different type of project than working on a home built in the last 70 years or so.
Homes identified as “historic” will fall under special guidance and have specific requirements when it comes to remodeling from the local historic society. Homes in historic areas often require an extra layer of approvals, which means a homeowner might not be able to make all the changes they are hoping to make. Some local historical societies are stricter than others, but they all have certain guidelines on which they won’t budge. A general contractor experienced in historic home remodels will generally know what is allowed and what a historic society will never approve in their local area.
Another challenge for general contractors when working on historic home remodels is that many of the materials used in them are no longer readily available. You can’t go to the local hardware store or “big box” store and buy a new exterior light fixture for an historic home, for example. Some replacement parts even need to be custom made, as they are no longer available—even from online retailers. In addition, a general contractor will need special skills or have connections with subcontractors with special skill to work on some aspects of historic homes. For example, repairing original windows in historic homes is a specialized skill not just anyone can take on. In a newer home, if the windows were broken, a general contractor would simply replace them with the latest model. You can’t do than in an historic home.
At Scott McKee Construction, not only do we have the experience and expertise to work on historic homes in Orange County, but we also have received awards for our historical restoration work from local historical societies and the mayors of the cities in which we have worked. We don’t just claim to be experts in historical home remodeling—we are actually recognized experts by those who are well-versed in this type of work.
If you own an historic home in Orange County, it’s really important to do your research before hiring a general contractor for any type of remodeling project. Ask for references from previous clients who also own historic homes, and then call them to ask about their experience working with the general contractor. If you’re lucky, the homeowner may even allow you to see the general contractor’s work in person. It’s our experience that people who own historic homes love to show them off—especially if they have been expertly restored.