Renovation, remodeling, restoration, refurbishment – these terms seem to be talking about the same thing. But they aren’t.
Each project has different goals, requirements, and processes. You need to understand what each means and involves so you can choose the best project for your commercial space.
What is Building Renovation?
Renovation involves restoring a building to an improved condition. This means replacing and upgrading present components to meet the required standards without altering the original design.
Usually, renovation projects are done to increase the value of buildings on sale and are often shorter with a lower budget compared to other projects. They have little to no effect on the layout and structure of the building.
Before any renovation project, consider the age, condition, and structure of a building. Have an expert look it up and give you a go-ahead. The renovation process involves:
Design and Planning
This stage identifies the areas of the building that require renovation. A designer can provide a sketch plan for the renovation.
To plan out the project, identify the renovations you can do yourself and those you can’t, choose the best professional for the job, get the necessary permits from the local authorities.
This involves repairing the structures that might have been damaged or broken in order to restore the building to its tip-top condition. For example, this may involve fixing the light and plumbing fixtures, repairing cracks in the wall, and updating an old ceiling.
Decorating is improving the quality and look of the interior space. It involves things like painting the walls, varnishing wooden surfaces, floor coverings, tiling, and more.
For fixtures or hardware that can’t be restored, it’s always advisable to replace them. This is especially necessary for appliances and electrical systems.
What is Building Remodeling?
Remodeling means completely transforming the layout and structure of a building – often, involving the change of the usage of space.
Remodeling is costlier than renovations and may involve the services of professionals like architects, plumbers, and electricians.
Before remodeling a business space, you need to consider your budget, available resources, and time. Here are the five steps to remodeling a typical commercial space:
1. Review the Certificate of Occupancy
Also known as a Use-and-Occupy Certificate or a CO, this is a document that proves the building complies with the specifications and plans that have been submitted and approved by the zoning or local building authority. In other words, this document shows what you can legally use a commercial space for – an office, warehouse, restaurant, etc. The requirements for the certificate vary depending on the city.
Changing the CO can be a daunting and costly process, and in some cases, it’s impossible to alter the use of a specific commercial building. That’s why it’s always recommended to lease or buy a property where the CO fits the type of business.
This certificate can also affect other smaller issues. For instance, if a restaurant wants to use its backyard space for additional seating, the CO should specify that as allowable. Otherwise, it may need updating. Seek the help of a legal expert on this issue.
2. Review the Structural, Plumbing, and Electrical Systems
Whether you want to flip a retail space into a restaurant or switch to an open-space office design for better employee collaboration, always ensure that the walls and floor of the building can support the additional weight.
Additionally, know whether you can move the load-bearing walls without compromising on the structural integrity of the building.
Also, when turning a commercial space into a restaurant with a kitchen, the gas, plumbing, electrical, and plumbing will require a lot of precaution to ensure safety. Thus, ensure the existing infrastructure can support it and prepare a reasonable budget for it.
3. Check the Building’s Envelope
A building’s envelope is what separates the inside from the outside – roofs, windows, and doors.
Ensure that the space is accessible to everybody including people with disabilities. This may mean installing ramps as well as having doorways and bathrooms that are wide enough to fit a wheelchair.
A building’s historical value may also impact the way you do your remodeling. So be sure to check with the necessary local authorities before starting the project.
What is Building Restoration?
Restoration involves returning a building to its former state. It’s done to historical buildings to maintain their heritage and rich culture. The features of a building are recreated to match its appearance and function.
Restoration aims at achieving the highest level of authenticity and replication. If there’s a need to install new systems utilities such as ACs, furnaces, and fire alarms, they’ll be done in a concealed manner so that they don’t disrupt the building’s original appearance.
Criteria for assessing the need for restoration include:
- Effects of restoration on the heritage of the building
- Effects of the project on the previous form of the building
- Implications of the restoration on the maintenance requirements
- The amount of evidence needed to determine the original form of the building
Restoration may require more paperwork and care in historical cities.
What Does Restoration Involve?
Here’s how to restore different aspects of a building:
The first step is to inspect the floor to determine the level of damage. This is followed by cleaning to properly reveal the damaged structures. Then, an expert removes and recreates the damaged parts, replacing them with new elements.
Doors and Windows
The windows and doors are inspected, and then, broken handles, hinges, locks, and other damaged parts are replaced. In some cases, the entire doors and windows are replaced with close replicas.
Restoration may also involve replacing damaged light and plumbing fixtures. Experts will inspect the whole electrical and plumbing system to identify possible faults and correct them without destroying the heritage of the building.
What is Building Refurbishing?
Refurbishment involves improving building decor, cleaning, re-equipping, and retrofitting. Its purpose is to improve the building’s sustainability and energy efficiency.
Refurbishment is closely related to renovation and restoration as they all aim at restoring the building to its former state. Before the process, an expert should properly assess its structure and typology to determine a suitable refurbishment approach.
Additionally, consider the following:
- Budget: Having a budget will help determine the extent of the refurbishment. Discuss the budget with an expert to find more affordable options without compromising too much on the quality of the project.
- Extent of Refurbishment: A major refurbishment impacts more than 50% of the whole building. It involves upgrades, repairs, and replacements that could affect energy efficiency. A minor refurbishment doesn’t impact the building as much.
- Current State: This will help the refurbishment experts know the level of work needed.
Building refurbishment may involve the following:
Conversion means changing a building’s use – for instance, converting a convenience store into a restaurant or office space. This may alter the layout, materials, and structure of the building – all of which require expert intervention.
Repairs are construction activities that restore a building to a good condition. An expert will inspect the electrical system, plumbing lines, and other features to ensure they’re working properly. Repairs may also involve filling up cracks on the walls and fixing leakages on the roof.
Alterations are carried out to improve or change a building’s performance. Most alteration projects require planning permission from the local authority before execution.
Common examples of alteration activities include partial demolitions, extensions, and decorations.
The goal of a cosmetic renovation is to improve the aesthetics of an old building through painting and other interior design practices.
Renovation vs. Remodeling: Key Differences to Note
Remodeling and renovation are completely different projects. Here are some key differences between the two:
1. Renovation Improves How a Space Looks Without Changing the Layout
When renovating, the commercial space remains unchanged, even after the repair and updates are made. The original design isn’t dramatically altered – it’s only tweaked or updated to meet certain standards.
Generally, renovation involves activities like repainting walls, installing new flooring, replacing windows, and adding new hardware.
2. Remodeling Alters the Design and Sometimes, the Structure
In remodeling, the function and the design of a building changes. For instance, it may involve removing a wall separating two rooms to create one large room, adding a new bathroom, raising the ceiling, and changing the layout of a room.
3. Renovation Is More DIY-Friendly
Painting walls and replacing old windows won’t require as much effort and technical know-how as changing an entire room’s layout. Remodeling will certainly involve professionals like plumbers and electricians.
4. Renovation Rarely Requires a Permit, But Remodeling Almost Always Does
Local building authorities often require permits whenever a building’s structure is changed. For example, when redesigning a roof, putting an additional structure, and reconfiguring interior walls.
Minor renovations don’t require permits, but major ones like replacing a roof or rebuilding walls do.
5. Remodeling Is Better at Solving Poor Design Problems
Inconveniences such as walking from one floor to another to get to the washroom or having to pass through one office to get to another can be solved through remodeling the building.
Renovation vs. Remodeling: Which One is More Costly?
Remodeling projects are usually complex, thus costly. They not only involve changing the physical structure of a building but also require reconfiguring of plumbing, ductwork, wiring, and more. They need more material cost and professional labor, which adds to the overall cost.
However, the overall cost of remodeling and renovation depends on factors such as:
- Age and condition of a building
- Space to be renovated or remodeled
- Permits (if required)
Renovation, on the other hand, is more DIY-friendly, allowing you to save cash if you choose to.
Renovation, Restoration, Remodeling, or Refurbishment – Choosing the Best Project for You
Choosing the best project for a business space will depend on some factors, including:
Remodeling needs complex constructions, plumbing, electrical work, and sometimes, a permit. Hence, it’ll cost more than renovation, refurbishment, and restoration.
If money isn’t an issue, then remodeling is the best option since it allows adjustments that’ll satisfy the business needs. However, if the budget is limited, restoration or renovation may work.
How Much Change is Required?
Restoration is perfect for minor fixes such as repainting walls and replacing broken windows.
If the business needs more aesthetics and functional elements to the building without changing the structure, then renovation is the way to go. But if the current design is undesirable, then remodeling would work best.
For buildings too old for restoration, renovation, and refurbishment, a complete remodel or rebuilding would be the only option.
Remodeling may take a lot of time, which may not be available, especially if the business is on hold. In this case, restore or renovate then remodel later when there are more resources and time.
Future Plans of the Building
If the building will be for sale in the next few years, then renovation is better as it’ll increase its market value. However, if it’s a commercial property you plan to own for the rest of your life, then redesigning it will be the way to go.
Legal requirements may limit making changes on a property. If a building has historical value, restoration is mostly preferred. In some neighborhoods, only a certain type of design is accepted, and this may limit a remodeling project.
Get Professionals to Help You With Your Renovation, Remodeling, Restoration, or Refurbishment
All the above projects will require proper planning and the right team of experts. DIY projects for commercial spaces may do more harm than good. Always spare some time to look for a reputable and experienced construction company in your area.