In over 25 years of architectural practice we have been asked many times about the benefits of new build: should I refurbish our existing property, or demolish and start again with a new build?
Often the answer is quite clear cut, but for some the choice is made more difficult by planning and conservation requirements or budget restrictions.
However, if you are faced with the dilemma, here are a few benefits to consider for taking the new build approach:
When you design from the ground upwards, you can design a home that’s the perfect fit for your needs. You don’t have to work within the confines of an existing structure.
You might want a large kitchen with enough space to entertain, for example, or a bathroom on the ground floor. Perhaps you need easy access and wide corridors, or would like a large a glass atrium, or an underground pool and gym… it’s all possible.
You will be faced with far fewer design restrictions if you start with a blank canvas.
Built for Modern Living
Existing houses were not designed for modern day living. Consider heating for example. Have you noticed that older properties have the main living room centred on a coal fire place?
The room is generally closed off and linked to other living spaces in the house through hallways and corridors, all designed to keep the main living room warm.
With modern technologies it is much more efficient to heat larger rooms. This allows for much more spacious and open plan living, where floor space traditionally eaten up by corridors can now be used more effectively.
Kinder on the Environment
It’s no secret we all need to be more considerate to the environment. There are few greater opportunities for us to make a difference than through reducing the impact of our homes.
With a new build property it is much easier to design with the environment in mind. You might consider new technologies such as ground source heat pumps and grey water harvesting, or plan to use more recycled materials and those from renewable sources. It is also much more economical to incorporate new technologies, materials and construction methods to new build properties than to retrofit to existing buildings.
You might however be thinking it requires a lot of energy to demolish an existing building and you would be right. You should also take into account the embodied energy in an existing building, which would be lost through demolition. However, when you consider the lifespan of a building, it can be more efficient to rebuild with a highly efficient fabric, than to work within the confines of an existing structure.
Depending on the size and complexity of your house, it may also be cheaper to demolish your property and start again – particularly if you are planning any subterranean features.
You may find some elements of new build are lower rated for VAT too, which is likely to save a considerable amount of money on larger schemes.
Added to this the fact that newer homes tend to be more efficient, your ongoing running costs are also likely to be lower. With the ever-rising price of oil and gas, this is not to be taken lightly.
We have a great deal of experience in both new build and refurbishment projects. If you are faced with choosing between the two, we’ll happily give you some advice if you want to call or drop into our offices.