Important Considerations in Property Renovation

14 April, 2024 / Articles

We are mostly torn in between the choice of renovating an existing building or simply starting from scratch. This often depends on many different variables. A renovation is an update to an existing building or a return to a new condition. An alteration is a change to an existing building. An addition is an inclusion to an existing building. Most people consider any combination of the three to be a renovation; however, 

Before you begin;

  • Know what you want 

The more research you do, the easier it will be later.

Understand -The basics, Your Lifestyle, Your Style.

  • Know what you can afford 

Setting a budget is key. Knowing how much you can borrow will help you when negotiating.

  • Renovation and alteration costs 

Renovation and alteration costs aren’t always straightforward.


  1. Finding a good contractor
  • Avoid contractors who offer a cash deal;
  • Interview contractors to determine their qualifications and their fit with your project;
  • Does the contractor have experience with the kind of project you have in mind? 
  1. Getting an accurate estimate
  • Get an estimate from at least three contractors in person;
  • Discuss your plans in detail with the contractors;
  • Make sure you get everything you agreed to in writing. This includes a) The total cost. Start and end dates of the work. Cost for obtaining any permits; b) Specifications for particular products, type of flooring, the brand of windows, etc. What’s included (or not); materials, parts, labor. Terms of payment etc.
  1. Signing a contract;
  • Always read the fine print; the terms and conditions; before you sign; 
  • Verbal contracts are hard to prove. Always insist on a written contract;
  • Any blank spaces on a printed form should be filled in with NA or NIL. Strike out anything you don’t agree with and make sure you and the contractor initial the change;
  • You can also ask that the contract is rewritten, to ensure you are protected.


Project Manager: Oversees the whole project and brings together the project team to see that work is carried out harmoniously between the different teams.

Architect: Architects design and create the overall aesthetic and look of buildings and other structures.

Geotechnical Engineer: Conducts site investigations related to subsurface conditions. Based on findings, he/she might recommend improvement of the engineering properties of the soil.

Structural Engineer: Design structural elements that may be necessary to ensure they are strong enough to avoid collapse when loaded.

Electrical Engineer: Design to accommodate lighting and power requirements for the building.

Mechanical Engineer: Designs to accommodate new mechanical requirements for the building.

Quantity Surveyor: Estimates the value of the works to be renovated. He covers all aspects of construction to determine the costs and estimate the project budget.

Contractor: The contractor plans and coordinates activities during construction on site.


Generally, taking on a renovation project can be costly and time-consuming as the aspect of double work is realized, you scrape out the unwanted as you replace with the desired. Renovation can also increase the economic value and the greenness of a building. Renovation projects use less material, recycle material and use more labor than new constructions. This has led to renovation having some benefits over new construction projects: 

  • Reduced energy consumption thus the impact on global climate change is reduced; 
  • Lower risks in terms of increased poverty during the times of increased energy prices, this means that there can be optimal use of energy with reduced CO2 emissions without high costs investments into construction technologies;
  • Renovation works reduces the costs of demolition, design and drawings developments as the works involves making better an already existing development;
  • The bureaucracies and costs of approvals of development designs by Government authorities are reduced.

Most developed countries are now moving the direction of renovation due to its benefits, among them being eco-friendly and cost effective. Statistics show that renovation works of condominium dwellings in Canada in 2017 had rose by 40% from 2016, doubling the average historical year over year increase. Africa is also embracing renovation construction, in South Africa, township house prices in major cities, including Cape Town, Johannesburg and Ethekwini, had increased by about 11% in the first quarter of 2015, according to price index. This increase was attributed to the sale of renovated town ruins

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