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Marraum Architects12-May-2023 10:27:003 min read


After deciding to refresh your home, the choice between renovating and rebuilding from scratch comes to the fore. On one hand, renovating means there’s less waste produced from a full-on demolition; on the other, rebuilding presents the opportunity for a fresh start. Of course, this is all assuming that the homeowner wants to stay in the same location; sometimes, a more apt consideration is whether to renovate or relocate.

In general, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the renovate vs. rebuild question. For each project, there will be factors that influence the outcome. However, there are some things to keep in mind that will influence this.


An architect’s perspective on renovating vs. rebuilding

In principle, we take the stance that renovating is the first choice in most situations from a sustainability standpoint.

This is influenced by several factors, but chief among them is the fact that renovating results in less demolition waste, thus contributing to a more sustainable approach to architecture. Put simply, reusing should always trump rebuilding.

In the UK, there is plenty of housing stock that has been renovated over the years which now doesn't suit modern living for whatever reason – be it practicality or the eco-friendly credentials of the build. However, these spaces can be unlocked and reconfigured to create excitingly modern, functional spaces – without breaking it all down and starting from scratch.

As architects, taking an existing build and moulding it to meet modern conventions and the needs of the client is an extremely enjoyable part of the creative process. With careful planning and professional design work, we can create homes that not only meet the needs of modern life but exceed our clients' expectations, without taking a wrecking ball to what already exists.

Many of our clients are surprised at how  we can completely overhaul a given space without knocking down what came before – in the end, there are many reasons to bring an architect on board for a home renovation.


Isn’t VAT more lenient when rebuilding a home?

Of course, many homeowners may initially be tempted to rebuild due to the reduction in VAT on building costs. While on paper this may make it seem more reasonable, there have been recent changes to Cornwall planning and building regulations that will require more work with a new build. Additional fees, such as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), potentially come into play with rebuilds, and there’s the added labour and redesign costs to consider as well.

When renovating, what initially may seem like a great cost can, in the long run, be more affordable. This is why it’s preferable to bring onboard an experienced architect to ensure any hidden costs don’t crop up down the line. Getting things right first time will ensure the investment is as fruitful as possible.


Which is the more sustainable option?

Most often, renovating is the clear winner in terms of sustainability, but each project will present its own caveats.

As always, using more sustainable building materials in the process will also have an impact. The construction industry has a long way to go in terms of reducing its impact on the environment, but modern techniques and technologies are making strides towards reducing the carbon footprint of new builds and renovations alike.


Marraum’s approach to renovating and rebuilding

Marraum is committed to sustainability, so our stance is typically to steer towards renovating over rebuilding wherever possible. Of course, we work closely with our clients to ensure they’re achieving their vision for their space, and this plays a vital role in the end product.

At the end of the day, we do everything we can to ensure the sustainability of a given project. That comes down to many factors, and the choice on the type of overhaul is just one of them – another vital one being ensuring optimal energy efficiency.


Refresh your home with our architectural expertise

By taking a mindful approach to the renovation process, we specialise in creating homes that not only meet our clients' briefs, but also help to protect the environment for future generations.

Our process takes into account the demands of each given site and the unique briefs of our clients. We’re passionate about crafting spaces that harmonise with both the environment and its occupants.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your project, or explore our past work for more inspiration.


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