Sustainable/ green architects in Concord, CA


There are somethings that you should be aware of when renovating/ remodeling a home. In remodels or renovations of an existing structure, be it a house or a commercial building or any type of building for that matter, you should always anticipate problems. Right now you are probably wondering what those problems are?

Well stop a moment and think about it, regardless of the age of your home, do you know how it was built? What exactly is in the walls or under your floors? Can you see what's beneath all that wallboard, tile or carpet? Do you even know if there have been changes made to the building over the years that are not documented?

Unlike a brand new building which is starts off as a clean slate, remodels are a lot trickier because you have to work around what is existing.

Older homes
kitchen pavilion In older homes, you will have surprises galore and your budget should account for these contingencies. You need to plan for problems occuring and not just the construction of the intended design. This is not something anybody wants to hear if they have a tight budget.

Your design professional will attempt to anticipate these issues during the course of design but unless they are actually ripping walls and other assemblies out, there really is no way to see what is hidden within your house.

Updating older homes with the current amneties, newer appliances, kitchens, bathrooms, personal spas, etc, will require that existing electrical wiring be brought up to code or updated. Occasionally you get the house that has no foundations and new foundations have to be designed and placed. Since you can't see your foundations under interior walls or floors, this problem may not become apparent unless you were replacing a slab/ floor. This usually occurs when finishing a basement that does not have the required head clearance or if the slab has suffered some structural damage over the years. In older homes, you may run into asbestos or sub par plumbing, framing etc. You might be surpised at how many shoddy remodels have been done without the required building permits for a "quick sale".

So what does this mean? Well a simple kitchen remodel or bathroom update may end up as a major project if problems like these surface during the course of demolition or construction. An experienced design professional can help guide you through the process but unless they have x-ray vision there's no way anyone can anticipate every single problem that could occur. You should budget for your dream project and then add approximately 15-20% for contingencies. More if the home is older.

Owners should be aware that there are grants that are in place or being considered for rehabilitating existing homes. Some of these are tax rebates or grants for installing renewable energy equipment like solar panels, rehabilitating a home for energy efficiency or even seismic retrofits. It pays to keep abreast of these issues if you are planning a remodel.

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Copyright © 2010 Gerard Lee Architects, Inc. All rights reserved.

-last updated March 28,2010