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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 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.