3 Ways to Manage the Cost of a Building Renovation or Restoration

Every construction project is a balancing act between cost, quality, and time. Changes to one of these aspects affects the other two. Of course, everyone wants the best outcome given the resources available. Delivering finished work on time and under budget is always the goal. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by cost at the start of a project when aligning plans with your budget. 

An experienced, trustworthy general contractor will help you get the most for the time, budget, and materials available. Honestly discussing budget and expectations upfront sets the project out on the right foot. Often, a contractor who has a long history of building in your area will be able to leverage their experience and business network to make your budget go further with labor, materials, and equipment. 

Here are three ways an experienced contractor can help you manage costs:

  • Planning your project at the right time of year

The climate of your area is a significant factor in completing construction projects. Depending on the nature of your renovation or restoration, this can make one season a financially wiser choice over another. Your experienced general contractor can help you choose the right time of year based on what your project entails, whether it’s extensive outdoor concrete work or a meticulous interior historic restoration. 

  • Choosing cost-effective materials and design elements

Materials and artisan labor can make historic restorations an expensive proposition. Restoring an old mahogany floor, for example, could prove much more costly than replacing it with stained oak, hickory, or cherry designed to last many years with minimal maintenance. Your contractor can help you save costs while retaining the building’s historic charm by saving sections of undamaged floor or even repurposing salvaged pieces as decor. This can help you achieve a balance between cost and results.

  • Doing work right the first time

Doing the job right can save you a ton of money. Having a project completed on the cheap only to be forced to make repairs or redo portions of the projects within a year or two can hit your budget hard. Experienced contractors earn their reputation from results. Always ask them to share a list of completed projects, and speak with their past clients if possible. If they’re happy with the work the contractor did, you can go into your project confident you’ll spend your budget to get the job done right the first time, giving you many years of use of enjoyment.

Considering the cost of your next renovation or construction project? Let’s chat about your options. We’ll help you strike the right balance between cost, quality, and time so you’re completely satisfied with the results.

What’s the Difference Between a Historic Building Renovation and Remodeling?

This week we’re looking at the difference between a historic building renovation and a remodel. Like last week’s description of restoration vs. renovation, this blog should help you understand whether a renovation or remodel is right for the project you have in mind.

 

Although “renovation” and “remodel” are often used interchangeably in conversation, the two terms differ greatly when planning a refresh of your historic building. The real difference is in your intended use of the building after the work is complete. Will the building serve the same purpose as it did before, or will you be converting it to a new use? The answer can determine whether you’ll be undertaking a renovation or a remodel.

 

What is a historic building renovation?

 

Think of a renovation as making a building feel new again. An aging office building becomes a new office building. A historic church becomes a newer, modernized church. Elements of historic charm may be retained, but overall the usable space inside the building will feel and function like a new building.

 

A renovation is a great way to extend the life of a historic building. Updating fixtures and finish can make a commercial building easier and more cost-effective to maintain, and new wiring and plumbing can improve safety and convenience. The best part is that you don’t have to say goodbye to a favorite stained glass window or an intricate tile mosaic. In some cases, restoration of specific features like these are part of a renovation.

 

What is a historic building remodel?

 

When you think of remodeling, think: repurposing. A building remodel refers to updating the building and converting its use to a new purpose. In our historic Washington D.C. neighborhoods, building remodels have given new life to whole blocks.

 

Older residences converted into workspaces and shops have helped some streets evolve with our growing and changing city. Rather than tear down and rebuild, many of the buildings that give our city its architectural character have been saved through remodeling.

 

Which is right for you?

 

With decades of experience renovating and remodeling buildings in the Washington D.C. area, we can help you plan the right project for your building. From the start, decisions about what to keep and what to change in a building with a long history can be difficult. We can help you decide whether the old fireplace stays or becomes something new and different, and we can make sure restored features get the expert attention they deserve.

 

Ready to give your building new life? Let’s talk!

 

(301) 705-9814

info@usourceservices.com

What’s the Difference Between Building Restoration and Renovation?

When it comes to improving an existing structure, it’s easy to confuse a historic restoration with a building renovation. The primary difference between the two is adherence to historic accuracy. Depending on whether your priority is to preserve a building’s historic look and feel or improve it functionally while maintaining its charm, you and your general contractor will decide whether a restoration or renovation is right for you.

What is a historic restoration?

Restoring a building means bringing it back to its original, or at least a previous, appearance. Care will be taken to conceal modern updates like ventilation systems, electrical upgrades, or security improvements. A restored building can still function as a safe, modern space, but efforts to conceal upgrades will be factored into the budget. 

Building restorations also involve repairs to one-of-a-kind features like antique fixtures or stained glass windows. Often, these repairs will cost more than simply replacing with modern, readily available materials. This is a key area to decide if a restoration or a renovation is the right way to go. In some cases, historic materials simply aren’t practical, safe, or allowed by building codes. Lead paint and asbestos insulation, for example, will be replaced with new materials without changing the look of the building. 

What is a building renovation?

Renovation involves updating and improving what’s already in the building. While the overall layout will stay mostly the same, walls will be refreshed with new paint, floors may be switched from tile to hardwood, and lighting fixtures may be replaced with new units. Often in renovations, historic charm is maintained by selecting certain antique elements to retain. This could be a particular stained glass window, a carved banister, or an elegant fireplace mantle. These select features will be largely left alone while everything around them is updated with more modern materials and design elements. 

Choosing a renovation can help you meet functional and budget goals. The result can be a fresh, modern space completed with durable materials designed for commercial building demands. Often when an older building is being converted for use as modern office spaces, renovation is the way to go. Your general contractor can help you build a plan that meets your budget, while identifying key elements of the original structure to retain. With a renovation, you give new life to an aging structure. 

Is a restoration or renovation right for your next construction project?

Speak with a general contractor experienced in both restoration and renovation to decide the right path for your next project. You may find that you want to restore some elements of your building while renovating others. 

Balancing cost, quality, and time is key to achieving the result you want. With over 25 years of experience restoring and renovating buildings in Washington D.C. neighborhoods, we can help you understand your options and get your project started on the right foot with a solid plan.

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3 Reasons Spring is the Best Time for Construction Projects

Spring is the best time to start a new construction project or historic building renovation in Washington D.C. As the days get longer and the cherry blossoms get close to blooming, now’s the time to get your project on the books with your contractor. The schedule fills up fast this time of year. With longer days, warmer temperatures, and many people and organizations moving their winter plans into action, you can get ahead of the curve by giving us a call today.

 

Here are 3 reasons spring is the best time for construction in D.C.:

  • More time in the day

While changing the clocks didn’t actually give us an extra hour of daylight, the days are getting longer as we race toward summer. More daylight means more time to get work done on the construction site. This helps keep projects on schedule. Longer days also create wider windows for concrete to cure, a critical aspect of the early phases of construction. 

  • Warmer temperatures–but not too warm

Spring temperatures in the Washington D.C. area are a true Goldilocks zone. It’s warm enough to work with temperature-sensitive materials (like concrete, paint, etc.), but not too hot for those doing the work. Plus, snow and ice days are generally behind us. This eliminates a major disruption experienced during the winter months. 

  • Put your winter ideas into action

If you had a construction project in mind through the winter, you likely spent cold days indoors watching home restoration shows and scrolling through ideas online. Beginning a new project is exciting, and it’s only natural to research all of your options ahead of time. Now that spring is here, it’s time to make those dreams reality. Beginning your project now means you could be enjoying your new space by the time the next winter rolls around.

 

Put our experience on your side this spring as you launch your new project. Whether you’re breaking ground on new construction or restoring one of the D.C. area’s many historic churches or commercial buildings, we’ll partner with you through every every step. 

 

Got questions? Give us a call. Let’s chat about where you’re at in the planning phase, next steps to get your project underway, and what to expect in terms of time, budget, and project outcome. Spring is here–let’s build something together!

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Usource Construction Insight: Ask your contractor about these three things

Every construction project comes down to balancing quality, cost, and time. Consider these three competing variables deeply before undertaking any renovation or new building. Then, discuss your priorities with the contractor to ensure that your expectations are clear and understood before work begins. Your contractor should make sure that you, the client, understand how they plan to meet your expectations and goals as they relate to scheduling, budget, and quality. 

Construction is teamwork. On any given project, that team includes the property owner. Clear communication is key to keeping work on track, addressing challenges quickly, and adjusting as needed to meet expectations. 

Ask your your building contractor about these three things before work begins:

Quality

Make sure your contractor clearly understands the level of craftsmanship you expect. Ask about materials they’ll use and why they were selected for your project.

Cost

Always be very clear about your budget from the start. Your contractor needs to know what they’re working with financially to keep work on track and up to your expectations.

Time

Quality work can take time. Weather, logistics, and other unexpected disruptions can hold up work. Get an honest time estimate from your contractor, and make sure they’ll keep you informed about any unexpected delays that arise.

Got a project in mind? Give us a call at (301) 705-9814 to discuss options for your next building or restoration project. Here are some of our recent commercial projects.

Adams Morgan Commercial Restoration Complete for The Festival Center in D.C.

Usource Adams Morgan Office Space

Usource restored this Adams Morgan building, converting it into bright, open office spaces for nonprofits.

We’re proud to announce the completion of another D.C. commercial building restoration, this one at 2708 Ontario Road in the vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood. For this project, we partnered with The Festival Center to build office spaces for their nonprofit network. The spaces will be used by organizations serving the D.C. community with a shared mission of change and impact for residents in need.

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The Festival Center’s goal was to transform a deteriorating building in the Adams Morgan Business Improvement District into a bright and attractive space for local nonprofits to grow and thrive. The Usource team delivered the project under budget and on time while working with tight deadlines. Usource CEO Shirley Boubert-Rumble says, “I’m so proud of my team. They pulled together to deliver this project on time and beyond expectations so The Festival Center can continue their mission.” The building is now ready for organizations to move in and begin working from their new offices within walking distance of the many Adams Morgan eateries, shops, and merchants. 

 

Ontario Rd (24)Usource brought over 25 years of residential and commercial construction experience to this project, with specialization in historic restorations. Giving new life to the brick and mortar soul of D.C. neighborhoods and business improvement districts is a Usource mission that’s only gaining momentum. Using sustainable materials, we create high-efficiency, functional living and working spaces for this and the next generation of Washingtonians to enjoy.

 

If you have a project in mind, let’s talk. We offer advisory services to help you explore the possibilities and options for your next building or restoration project. Give us a call at: (301) 705-9814, or check out some of our other recent commercial projects.

 

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