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When is it the best option to build a new home?


When you own a property that requires modernisation, it’s important to weigh up whether renovating or rebuilding is the right option. Here Hugo Tugman, founder of Architect Your Home and Interior Your Home, explains.

The most common reasons to keep the existing building and renovate are:

  • If it has architectural charm or merit to be preserved. It is impossible to truly reproduce the authenticity of genuinely old buildings and it’s often important to try to keep the building’s fabric, both for exterior character and interior features.
  • Even if a building is going to be changed radically, very often there are cost advantages to keeping the most basic fabric in place, rather than starting again with new footings, external walls etc.
  • It can be a lot easier to get planning approval for alterations to an existing building (often possible under permitted development) than to get permission for a new house. This is not always the case but, in many, will be the path of least resistance.
  • From a “green” perspective, retaining and reusing things that already exist is generally seen as requiring less energy than demolishing and building from scratch.

The most common reasons to knock down your home and rebuild are:

  • Modifications to an existing building are generally subject to full VAT, while new-build projects are zero rated for VAT, so it often makes financial sense to start again.
  • From a “green” perspective, while the process of knocking down and rebuilding might require more energy than retaining and reusing, if the existing building fabric cannot be upgraded effectively, the long-term energy losses of retaining it can outweigh the short-term energy use in a rebuild.
  • Many people will feel much more comfortable with something newly built, knowing that it is entirely sturdy, where the services run and so forth. In addition, anomalies such as over-steep staircases and narrow doorways can be avoided.’


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