Made to measure
Abode’s architectural expert Greg Young outlines the benefits to working with what you have to create something altogether better.
While the building industry in Christchurch typically goes through phases, the demand for alterations is now on the rise as the number of rebuilds declines.
The ultimate form of upcycling, making improvements to the house you have, rather than pulling it down and starting over, is a much more environmentally responsible approach.
Embarking on a renovation project is not only better for the environment, but also presents the ideal opportunity to rectify certain aspects that don’t work and to incorporate creature comforts for modern living.
To achieve optimal results, however, takes more skill than starting with a blank canvas – from both a design perspective and with construction. Choosing the cheapest options when it comes to design and construction often backfires, resulting in higher costs. Cheaper solutions can also pose problems down the track when it comes to selling your property.
The earthquakes have provided us with sobering lessons regarding the tragic consequences when precautions are ignored. A myriad of complications must be addressed before proceeding to ensure your alterations stand you in good stead for years to come.
Think about how different construction techniques and materials perform in earthquakes. Take heed of how ground conditions have changed since the earthquakes, which often affects the foundations and ground improvement techniques used. Note how planning rules have changed from when the house was originally built. And, recognise how floor levels may have changed due to land subsidence and increased flooding risk, which may require elevating the floor height of an extension so it remains level with the existing house.
As far as style is concerned, the rule of thumb is to either match the extension to the original home’s style, or to make it completely different. Depending on the project, either approach can be used.
Throughout the various architectural periods there were different priorities – which influence how we now live. Villas are a classic example where the streetscape was paramount, and harnessing natural light was completely ignored. As a result, in some cases a renovation involves completely reorganising a home’s layout, moving kitchens and knocking down walls, in order to maximise light and optimise how we live.
If you’re looking for designers, building companies and the various sub-contractors required to carry out your alteration, experience is critical. Having hands-on knowledge of the techniques required will guarantee the best result.
03 384 7879 | young.co.nz