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August 22, 2016

It’s an age old question, but certainly one that doesn’t ever seem to have a clear cut answer. Undoubtedly there are pros and cons for either, but which one is right for you? In this blog post we consider both options to help you decide.

The cost implications
In most circumstances building a house from scratch is normally cheaper, as the materials are often easier to source and there is less chance of nasty, expensive construction hiccups along the way. With the restorations we have worked on over the years, there has nearly always been an unforeseen cost to the build that was impossible to predict.

Location, location, location
So you have found your dream location, but are looking to knock down the current property and start again, this all sounds fairly simple, right? Well, not always! In some locations it is not possible to knock down an existing property and build a new one. There can be lots of influencing factors that might inhibit your build, always check with either your estate agent or the local council to ensure your new build is feasible. Of course with a restoration this isn’t a consideration (unless extending) because the building is already there.

Planning
Gaining planning permission can be the largest hurdle to overcome when building or renovating a property. Not knowing how to produce the correct documents or manage the planning process can cost you both time and money. Always instruct a professional to help with this process. Unfortunately getting planning permission for a new build is no easier/ harder than for a renovation, this very much depends on the location, scale of work and the new designs that are planned.

If the building you are planning to renovate is listed, then you may find gaining planning permission particularly tricky, especially of your tastes are more modern. Work with your architect to ensure the new design adheres to all of the relevant regulations before submitting the paperwork, this will save you bags of time, hassle and again, money.

Ongoing maintenance
New houses are easier to maintain, that’s a given, however they can lack the character of an older property, which is why lots of people choose to renovate. Before embarking on a renovation it is worth considering the cost of maintaining an old structure and how this might impact the future financing of owning such a property.

The hassle factor
Whether building from scratch or renovating, there is still an awful lot of work to be done. Renovation often comes with more unexpected headaches than a new build, but that’s not to say that a new building will be any less hassle. Really consider if this is for you, both are of course, very exciting, but also can become real labours of love. Make sure you are really invested, not just financially, in the build, it can be a long, tiring and somewhat emotional experience.

At GSE we have decades of experience working on both renovations and new builds in both the residential and commercial sectors, and are uniquely placed to help you and your architect create the house of your dreams. Whether it is helping you with your planning applications, the design and implementation of temporary works or the undertaking of structural surveys, the GSE team are here to support your build.

Contact us here to find out how we can help you.