It is advisable to get your architect’s input first hand before you buy a property to develop, whether you are developing vacant land to build from the ground up or improving an existing structure/property. In terms of the architectural possibilities, your architect can assist with valuable information such as placement, scale, budget and available rights etc.
Even if you buy into a new estate, there are still rights, regulations, bylaws and added guidelines. Clients may find that they cannot build what they set out to after having purchased the property.
Renovation projects can be extremely rewarding as a pre-established atmosphere is retained as opposed to a completely new developments, which have little historical context to draw on and can feel sterile.
We like to divide renovation projects into three categories:
- Cosmetic – Achieved by redoing the interior, garden and cosmetic changes to the structure. If you develop the property holistically a significant outcome can be achieved.
- Improving – Improving the carbon footprint of the building for example. This usually involves doing some ‘messy’ changes and chances are good that you will have to find alternative accommodation for a while. It involves changing services, perhaps redoing floors, ceilings, doors and windows, replacing light fittings etc.
- Makeover – This involves structural changes and could come in budget wise just below building anew. An important factor to keep in mind is that any building older than 60 years will have to undergo approval from the various Provincial Heritage Recourses Authorities. This will have a time implication for the project as the process can only start once the design is in a developed stage. It is also wise to establish if there is a Home Owners Association in place who has input in the process..
Apart from the obvious advantage of designing with limited constraints, the cost per square meter of a new building is usually lower per ratio of affected area than when doing a makeover.
Building materials, services and methods are constantly improving and with it functionality and sustainability. New buildings should perform better at a lower premium and should have a financial impact when comparing projects.
Refer to the section on appointing an architect and the design process for additional costs to be expected when building new. With residential projects, estate guide lines often impose constraints with implications to the building cost as well as design value. Business parks are usually less restrictive.
A premium is paid for newly developed land and demolishing to build ‘from scratch’ is often a wise consideration especially when a total makeover is an option. Even with the prior studies and predictions, traffic and other congestion is unpredictable in new townships. Established areas often hold preferred characteristics and location benefits.