Why rebuilding can be better than renovation

Many of our clients are torn between renovating and rebuilding. In many cases the common perception seems to be that a quick face lift of an old house is the most cost effective solution. In many cases it may be just the opposite. There are also some other pros and cons to consider when deciding between the two options.

When deciding which path to follow perhaps one of the most important things to take in to consideration is how much of the structure that is going to be affected. Many times once the structure is changed; the cost will go up and sometimes even exceed the cost of rebuilding. Rarely renovation is as easy as some of the recent home shows on TV make it look like.

Many unexpected costs may occur with renovations as it is never easy to predict what lies beneath the surface. On top of construction cost any additional fees such as architectural design fees, structural engineering fees, permit fees has to be counted for. An old house can reveal some really nasty surprises that can turn out to be quite costly. As a rule of thumb, once a wall is removed it will attract other cost for reparation.

 Old bathrooms can hide asbestos that need removal by professionals, existing electrical cables in the torn down wall will need repair and even updating, a plasterer may be  needed to repair damages, painter to patch up, the waterproofing behind bathroom tiles may be in need of an update and so on. These are just a few unpleasant surprises that may occur. With unexpected work comes variation and sticking to the budget may be tricky. Once a builder has been engaged and the scope of works turns out to be something else than initially allowed for, variations and delays in construction can turn out to be costly exercises. One major contributing factor to cost rising is that once you tear down and build new, new energy rating requirements may apply. All new homes, major home renovations, alterations and additions may need to comply with the 6 Star energy rating standard in the National Construction Code.

Establishing existing conditions and measuring up is a cost that Architects will charge for as both the existing house and the proposed extension or alteration to the house needs to be drawn up. A new house only requires a new set of drawings. It is important to have a good set of drawings before the renovation since that will make it easier for the builder to quote more accurately.

Minor amendments or renovation of bathrooms and kitchens are generally considered as value adding whether as a complete renovation with amended floor plans may not always be a profitable exercise when considering a sale.  There are, however, more factors to consider than just cost, In particular if the reason of renovation is personal use such as adding space for a growing family or change of use due to personal taste and preferences.

As for the design, unless you plan to knock down a house completely, there are obvious limitations to what you can do. A complete remodelling of an existing layout can in our experience turn out to cost more than to build from scratch.

With renovation you are limiting your options. Before starting a renovation it is important to look up any impact that a potential heritage listing could have on your renovation, check out council regulations such as height restrictions, open space requirements and overshadowing, as these factors could impact on your dream vision.

For your new home – contact Architeria Architects on 03 98945805