A complete guide to home renovation costs

“Instead of asking how much will it cost, you should ask how much can you spend.”

From The Irish Times – Life & Style – Joanne Hunt – Thu, Apr 16, 2020

Tailoring a renovation to our client’s budget is our specialty. It is beneficial to know what’s possible within a range rather than discussing ideas and expectations which may be unachievable once the bottom line becomes clear. It is refreshing to see this article distinguishing between market rates for new extension work and all the other costs which come into play once you alter an existing house.

In her article, Joanne Hunt explores cost considerations associated with renovating and extending an average 3 bed semi. This is a summary of some key points in the article. For those with an Irish Times subscription read the full article here

“How much is it going to cost is the first question everyone asks. In reality, my first question is how much have you got to spend. You try to tailor the job backwards from there and say you can afford this, or you can afford that.” Noel Larkin, chairman of the building surveyor professional group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

Remodelling existing living area vs extension:

Within the same footprint enquiries are often around opening the back walls, removing an internal wall and upgrading the kitchen.

If the existing space is too restrictive clients explore adding a rear extension. Keeping under 40sqm avoids planning permission.

Associated costs to consider:

If you’re removing an internal wall, you will need to consider how electrics and heating/pipe work is affected. And if it’s a load-bearing wall, steel is often required. These costs can be significant.

Clients are often trying to blend the old with the new which may affect flooring, perhaps floor levels, changing door styles to match, painting & decorating.

Other factors which can affect pricing would include: site access issues, eg a lack of side path for a mini digger or parking/delivery issues; is scaffolding required; is there asbestos to remove; does the ground need underpinning or deeper foundations?

Enlisting professional help:

“You don’t want a design for something you can’t afford…” Hiring a professional like an architect or quantity surveyor is about “spending money to save money.” An architect (or designer) should be the first port of call. And often a quantity surveyor is a good investment to assess costs based on the drawings.

With regards costing, its worthwhile remembering any industry estimate will be based on an assumption of “traditional materials, standard construction methods and a flat or pitched roof.” Variance away from this will increase costs, eg roof style, extra glazing and cladding alternatives.

Energy efficiency regulations:

Factor in “energy efficiency upgrades to the existing structure.” Things like wall insulation, attic insulation and a new heating system. We agree that “rewiring an older property can cost about €8,000 alone.”

Thankfully, Sycamore can help you get the best bang for your buck.

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