Deciding whether your building project should be approached as a renovation or a new construction can be a difficult task. In general, neither renovation nor new construction is inherently a better option for building projects. Still, depending on the scope and intention of your project, one of these options may be better suited to your needs than the other.

It is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each solution since the route you choose to take will influence the project budget, timeline, and look and feel of the final results. This post will review the pros and cons of each building method to help you determine which approach is best for you. Of course, beyond this insight, it’s important to have a conversation with your general contractor or custom home architect about the specifics of your project in order to determine the best way to complete your project.

Plan Your Project Budget

Building or updating a home is an investment that pays off over time. Aside from the day-to-day value a personalized home provides, a well executed construction project also contributes to financial gain as the property increases in value. The amount you are willing to invest in your project as well as how much you hope to recoup down the line will ultimately influence whether or not your project is best approached as a renovation or new construction.

New Construction Costs

Building a new construction involves selecting a workable plot of land, modifying the site to support a building, installing all the appropriate utilities, and planning and erecting the structure. Of course, such an inclusive scope of work requires many hours of labor and a great deal of physical materials, contributing to higher expenses.

Despite the extensive work that goes into creating a new construction, there are some cases when renovation can actually end up costing more than necessary, making it the less financially sound route for a building project.

Renovation Costs

Renovating an existing building is usually more affordable than building a new construction but this is not always the case. Renovating does not require a new plot of land or building a structure from the ground up, but there are still many responsibilities that come with remodeling that can lend to a more expensive project. Whenever you renovate a space, it is necessary to upgrade construction elements to fit current codes and regulations, sometimes including adapting the space to coincide with ADA accessibility requirements.

Unfortunately, it may not always be clear from the outset of a project which of these alterations will be required, causing unforeseen costs to crop up. While it can be difficult to predict which utilities and structures will require updating to legally satisfy building codes and regulations prior to demolition, the general rule is that older buildings typically need more updating and modification. For this reason, renovating an older construction can become costly–sometimes even more so than building a new construction altogether.

Depending on the type and intent of your renovation project, it may be possible to get grants and other financial assistance to mitigate costs. Some government agencies and other organizations offer these incentives to entice building owners to renovate an existing space since this type of project has less negative impact on the environment than creating a new construction.

Estimate Project Timelines

The amount of time required to complete a building project depends heavily on the scope of work to be done. While it is often true that new constructions require a longer timeline, there are also cases in which renovations need a flexible, long-running schedule to complete.

Duration of New Construction

By nature, creating a new construction typically involves more work to be executed, such as preparing the land for a foundation, constructing the foundation, installing utilities, erecting the structure itself, and installing furniture, fixtures, and finishes. Besides the actual construction process, each step also entails having specialized inspectors visit the site and approve work that has been completed. In total, this can lead to a lengthy timeline for a new construction to be finished and ready for occupancy.

Duration of Renovations

While renovations tend to be the more efficient option compared to new constructions, these projects may also take longer than expected to successfully complete. Renovation projects can make use of existing construction elements as long as they are deemed sufficiently up to code, which serves as a shortcut to completing the project overall. However, in cases where renovations uncover constructions that do not conform with current codes and regulations or the use of potentially dangerous building materials, it can take longer to complete renovation projects.

For example, if during a renovation lead paint, asbestos, or other harmful materials are discovered, it is necessary to halt construction until the potential danger has been successfully abated. This often means including an additional step in the process that was not originally anticipated, lengthening the construction timeline overall.

Consider the Feel and Function of Your Home

With the right elements, a renovated or newly constructed building is functional and aesthetic, making the investment of your time and money well worthwhile. Depending on whether you approached your projects as a renovation or new construction can influence the final outcome of your project, ultimately impacting how you feel about the results.

Designing a new building from scratch provides you the most control over its end look and feel. As long as your design abides by building codes and regulations, it is possible to dream up and construct anything that suits your functionality needs and aesthetic preferences. New constructions are far less limited in creating a specialized layout or unique look than renovation projects because there is opportunity to plan every aspect of the new construction, including selecting all of the materials that go into the building.

While renovations typically present an opportunity to save on your initial investment and shorten the construction timeline, these projects are limited in their ability to transform the way a space looks and feels. To some extent, it may be possible to eliminate or move walls during a renovation, but the existing structure will have some influence over the way your project turns out. Of course, depending on the way you intend to use the finished space and the aesthetic you hope to achieve, a renovation may still sufficiently update and alter a space to enhance functionality and create a fresh presentation.

Work With an Experienced Custom Home Architect

Working with an experienced luxury custom home architect like the Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design can improve your overall experience of building a custom home. Our knowledgeable and accomplished team puts the client’s preferences, inclinations, goals, and dreams at the center of every project to create personalized luxury homes. When you work with a professional architect group that you can trust, you’re sure to love the way your dream home is built! Contact us for any questions or to start a new project today.