Construction companies in London and Hertfordshire are often faced with an age-old question: should we extend and renovate or demolish and rebuild? The truth is – there is no definitive answer. It all depends. If you’re reading information which does give a definitive answer take time to check the source. Does the company specialise in just new builds? Do they only complete loft conversions? At MB Master Builders Ltd., we carry out new builds, extensions and renovations, and that is why you can trust us to give you unbiased advice on what would be the best solution for you.
It depends on what?
There are various factors which come in to play as to which option makes best sense. Your starting point is to look at two overarching elements: what you’ve got and what you need. Properties in London and Hertfordshire vary just as much as their residents! We have smaller properties sitting snuggly against their neighbours just a stone’s throw from a large detached plot. Let’s look at the factors which matter most:
The age and condition of the property is an excellent starting point for your considerations. The condition of a property can determine the costs of renovation. Is there a great deal of structural work to complete before you’re even at the blank canvas stage? If yes, demolishing and rebuilding could be a good option. This is particularly true if there are large-scale safety or preservation works which need completing which have minimal effect on your ultimate design.
Or perhaps you have chosen this home precisely because you value its age and character. If so, then look for sympathetic renovations which enhance the property’s character whilst also meeting your objectives. If the changes are cosmetic and not largely structural then this is a sensible option.
This was the case with our recent client Michael Dunk, who loves his North London home but wanted to add an extra room that would bring some light into the house and express his personality. We achieved this by adding a large rear house extension. The brick walls helped the expansion fit with the surroundings while keeping its charming character. The combination of the industrial style steel framed glass panel doors and a large roof-light allows a wealth of warmth and natural light in and give the feeling of vast space.
Often the decision about whether to start from scratch or work with what you’ve got is determined largely by the location and size of the plot. For example, if you have a structurally good condition detached property in a good size plot then extending and interior renovation makes sense. If you’ve got a townhouse style terrace then a loft extension may be the solution. Alternatively, if you’ve purchased a house to secure the plot but you don’t love it and it’s in disrepair, then rebuilding makes most sense.
Take our recent clients Orley and Jonathan Kutner in Bushey, for example. When they found a house to buy for themselves and their three children, they fell in love with the location and the setting, but they knew they would need to make changes to create the perfect family home. The house, a 1960s chalet, was very old fashioned, with small dark rooms, so they opted for demolishing and rebuilding. The new home we have built is much larger and brighter, with floor to ceiling glazing and easy access to the garden.
Planning permission is another critical consideration. For example, are you in a conservation area (demolishing will be difficult or even impossible)? Again this is where it is worth speaking with construction companies in London or who know your local area and will be able to give advice on which options are going to face the least planning resistance.
This is where expert advice which is unbiased is invaluable. Seek preliminary advice from design and build companies in London, who can give you a ballpark figure regarding your different options. A full house renovation, especially if it entails extension work, might often end up being more expensive than starting again. This is largely due to VAT. All renovation work will be subject to VAT at 20%. When you build a new property, this can be done at 0% VAT.
However, the most significant costs are typically structural. Therefore, if you’ve got a structurally sound property and you want to enhance the aesthetics and add a little more space, extending and renovating would probably be more economical.
Clearly, a new build allows your input into every element of design. You can design the home you want in entirety (subject to planning constraints). Working with the existing property will require compromises.
When weighing your options, keep your eye on your aspirations. Your home needs to work for your lifestyle. Therefore, don’t merely consider what others in your area have done, but think what matters to you.
Good consideration to help you here is how much does the existing layout and style match what you hope to achieve? The greater the gap between where you are, and where you want to be, the more likely it is that you need to consider a rebuild. However, if it is largely suitable in the main, then an extension and/or renovation could be a better option.
Different options will take different lengths of time. Surprisingly, new builds can sometimes be faster than renovation and extension work. There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, the owner won’t be living in the property. Whilst working around the owner is possible, it can delay progress. Secondly, much of the new build ‘time’ is taken in planning. Once building commences, it is fast and to plan. However, with renovation you aren’t always able to know the precise amount of time required. Minor problems can sometimes crop up, which can add more time.
Do you actually want and need more space or are you after a better finish and look? What are your goals from this project? You should consider the following questions:
Do we need larger rooms and/or more rooms?
Do we need additional bathrooms?
Do we need home office space?
Is our family growing or changing in the near future?
What matters to us most in our home?
How does our current home flow? What frustrates us?
Renovate v rebuild: make your choice
Hopefully, you are now a little closer to deciding which option is best for you. Choose trusted construction companies in London who can give advice on new builds, house extensions, loft conversions, renovation and all elements of home building and design. This will ensure you make the right decision so that your future home is the one you really want it to be.