Challenges Faced by Architects While Renovating an Old House

Challenges Faced by Architects While Renovating an Old House


Updated on 2022-09-22

In Architecture


Renovation by word is the action of restoring things to elevate their state and make them sustain new life. While going out to new places is not a consideration modifying or updating the existing ones helps refresh the environment. Renovating an old house is the deity task of making improvements to an older home. These improvements may involve fixing things that need repair, adding features, or even completely redoing the interior design. There are many reasons people renovate their homes, including wanting to improve the property's value, make changes they want, or simply update the look of the home. In some cases, renovations may even require tearing down parts of the house and starting fresh.

When renovating an existing house, it is essential for the architect to understand the history of the house and its previous owners. This way they can determine if there are any structural problems that could affect the safety of the building. Reworking, renovating, retrofitting, or redesigning is said to be an easy job but eventually, it comes with numerous challenges for architects to resolve and to create the best out of old.

Whether you're looking to build a new house or renovate an old one, hiring an architect is key to making sure your project goes smoothly. Read on to learn more about How to Find the Right Architect for Your Home

1. Understanding the Existing 

It's crucial to initiate any project by learning about it first and here it means getting a layout made with all the structural, unique construction details and old constructional elements drafted, to make informed decisions further and give relatable solutions to them. Also, ensure the existing structure is stable enough to handle renovations or need any possible repairs at first. This requires hiring a structural engineer who can identify the structural and non-structural details in an old house to be renovated, along with the requirements for structural additions for stability to the existing construction details and techniques. 

You must check out the Importance Of Professional Experience For An Architect!!

Structural systems in old houses
Image source: Pexels

2. Checking Out Renovation Rules and Restrictions

Before heading to designing Architects need to go through the development norms of the particular site location or concern to the local bodies for any doubts to redesign spaces with legal assurance. There are some special mentions in specific zones and their regulations that may end up being helpful at the beginning while renovating any specific kind of property which might own a historical relevance, or may be located near some areas of historical importance.  Hence, it’s important to the history of any place, its past and current owners and regulatory status.

Making a check on the Norms
Image Source: Pexels

3. Hiring the Contractor

Finding the right contractor is equally important as getting the accurate design for the client. The key aspects to check while hiring a contractor must include, experience in renovation projects, work bio, technical and theoretical knowledge, variety of projects done in past, and work liability. Also, check if the contractor owns the proper accreditations and licenses from the required authorities and government bodies while ensuring if they have worker's insurance and an indenture-based working style. Moreover, going through their feedback pages and getting an idea of what their clients have to say about the contractor's work will help you understand their reliability and trustworthiness. If all the above requirements are fulfilled by the contractor, then congratulations you can proceed further with the bond.

You must consider reading the Top 10 Skill Set Every Architect Must have

Hiring a Contractor
Image Source: Pexels

4. Designing to Compliment, Replicate or Contrast the Existing

There are projects where clients themselves come with a single requirement which is to redo the complete home new and remove the existing and hence, it's a great opportunity for Architects to introduce their signature style or trends into the picture. On the other hand, Architects also encounter projects where few renovations are needed to change the feel of the space but not the complete aura. Here Architects are suggested to have a sincere look at the existing architectural fashion followed at the site so that you get to know the importance of the old and come up with the design solutions which will rather compliment, replicate, or contrasts the current design of the home. For example, a house with Nalukettu Architecture (the traditional style of Kerala) can be worked with, Japanese, contemporary, and modern pastel styles to replicate, compliment, and contrast respectively to the existing setup. 

Design by blending old and new
Image source: Pexels

5. Choosing the Right Material

Apart from planning and designing, material selection is a process that consumes a lot of time and energy due to its utter importance in elevating any space. For any home renovation project, one must look for durable, high-quality materials that can seamlessly blend with the existing setup. They should also combat the weather conditions of the specific site location and also withstand the client's expectations and budget.

Knowledge of materials is an essential part of an architect’s life and here we suggest you to read

Select materials that merge with the existing
Image Source: Pexels

6. Synchronizing Existing Building Services

Getting the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical details in hand before proceeding with the design will help make informed decisions for possible changes and additions. A correct idea of where the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC ducts and pipes are running will help not to break the unrequired and save the time and budget for the project.

7. Focusing on Detailing

Having a deeper and rooted design always pays off well. Hence, having a stronger sense of appreciation for details is necessary while renovating any house. Upgrading the door nobs and laminate of old furniture can make a huge change in the feel of any space. Even handrails, balustrades, and artifacts can enhance and reenergize spaces.

Details make the design complete
Image source: Pexels

8. Managing Budget and Deadlines

Clients and Architects, at times, get too ambitious about projects that they start running out of time and budget. Here Architects are suggested to realize this fact and understand that not every project is meant for everything and you will get numerous opportunities to work on in the future so only stick to things that justify the requirements. Also, Architects are suggested to make a balance between client expectations, and their suggestions and reality for a healthy output of the project.

Before you move ahead, we suggest you to read pro tips that will help you complete the project within budget.

Budget and Time
Image source: Pexels

9. Preparing for Unforeseen Issues

Unexpected issues never show up at the start. Anything like structural cracks, electrical issues, plumbing loopholes, and major dampness can arrive at any time. Any structural member which at first seemed fair can damage the flow by its condition. All these Architects are advised to have a focused mind and preparedness over unforeseen issues if any.

10. Ensuring Client's Expectations

Above all the suggestions, budget and time constraints the thing which calls you out is client satisfaction. Being an Architect, you might have the best plans for the renovations of any house, but in the end, what's crucial is meeting the client's expectations.

Client's satisfaction is the key
Image source: Pexels

In a nutshell, renovating an old house can be a rewarding experience if planned and designed strategically with complete background consciousness. So before you start, take some time to plan and prepare yourself for challenges along the way. If you have any doubt, queries, or suggestions on the above topic, then feel free to comment below, we would love to hear from you. We wish you all the very best for your future.

Also. read 10 Clever Tips to Design a Sustainable and Affordable Home

and, 10 Things You Must Know Before Hiring an Architect


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Challenges in Renovating Old House Remodeling an Old Home major problems in a house renovation Challenges of Renovating an Old Home common renovation problems

Article Category Architecture

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Rahat Khanna

written on Fri, 09/02/2022 - 06:31

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