Have you always wanted to create your own unique dream home, which gives you the ‘wow’ factors you always wanted? 

Most properties can be adapted, remodelled or extended creatively beyond recognition. We have many examples of these projects in our portfolio. However, sometimes it makes sense to demolish and re-build from scratch to achieve your aspirations. The only problem is, how do you know when?

5 Key Areas.

There are many complex factors involved in this decision making process, but I believe there are 5 key areas that need to be carefully considered.


The first is creative design. As I mention, most properties can be transformed creatively. However, sometimes the original dwelling just doesn’t lend itself to your particular brief. This is often the case with properties that have been subject to many inappropriate alterations over a number of years.


Next up is planning policy. A nuance in local planning policy often suggests that extensions should be subservient (smaller) to the original dwelling. New dwellings are subject to differing policies and often can be scaled according to the neighbouring buildings.


Then there are the technical considerations. Can a property be remodelled efficiently? Imagine you want to change the roof. Are the existing walls capable of taking the additional loads without strengthening the original foundations?


Development constraints need to be assessed. If your property is in a flood zone you may need a simple flood risk assessment for an extension. However, a new dwelling may need a complex ‘sequential test’, proof that there are no other available sites where a dwelling could be constructed!


Against all of this, construction costs need to be carefully assessed. A key factor is that extensions and alterations to properties attract full rate vat. New build properties are generally vat exempt (materials, labour and preliminaries, but not professional fees). Depending on the size of the remodelling proposal it may become more cost-effective to rebuild due to the vat savings, not least the efficiencies in construction.

I have summarised the 5 key areas with simple examples. If you do wish to create your dream home it is imperative you speak to a quality-chartered architect at the outset. For all of our clients, my first task is to listen to the client, understand the brief and aspirations and assess this against the full spectrum of building covering creative design, technical issues, planning, development constraints, cost and construction methods. The expert advice given often helps our clients to simplify that tough decision, to remodel or rebuild. Justin Smith.

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