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Retention or Rejuvenation?

Property owners contemplating renovation work face a difficult choice. They can either try to retain as much of the original structure and aesthetic as possible, or they can choose a more drastic solution. However, there are a number of challenges to both. In this post, we take a look at how to strike a balance between retention and rejuvenation.

Adaptive Reuse

When considering how to approach a project of this size, it’s vital to spend time figuring out how you’ll be using the space available. If the building has a history of its own, it’s a nice idea to retain, and emphasise design elements which recall the past. This is especially true if the outside of the building has some unique architectural features. Part of a renovation would entail renewing and drawing attention to these features. By doing so, it means that more significant modernisation work can take place elsewhere on the structure, since the main aesthetic will have been maintained.

Your choices in this regard may be limited by your local authorities, who will likely need to be consulted exhaustively before proceeding. In some cases, health and safety requirements are a difficult hurdle to overcome. If your old building was used in industry or as a factory, there may be some environmental clean up required.

If you’re thinking of renovating and extending an older property, you should probably enlist a professional architect. A high-quality professional will be able to help you navigate the regulatory issues at play.


There is a modern day emphasis on making buildings more energy efficient, lowering bills and decreasing the impact on the environment. Most people assume that a new building will be far more energy efficient than a renovated older property. Yet as Buildings.com notes:

“Contrary to popular belief, the benefits of reusing and renovating buildings outweighed the benefits of constructing new energy-efficient structures. According to the study, a new building that is 30% more efficient than the average building takes 10 to 80 years to overcome the negative climate change impacts resulting from construction.”

As a result, the EU is pushing to renovate buildings on a broad scale, rather than tearing them down and erecting newer properties. A concerted effort is hoped to cut emissions by 36% by 2030. If you’re renovating your property to improve its energy efficiency, you might rewire it – older buildings may have substandard wiring, which is unsafe as well as inefficient. Other useful additions include solar panelling, double or triple glazing, and improved insulation.


If you’ve decided to extend or reinforce the existing structure – and want to retain its aesthetic – you’ll need to do some work in tracking down the right materials. Reclaimed building materials are sometimes the answer, but for bricks it’s best to use an experienced bricklayer. Since you’ll probably be updating the brickwork in a renovation, you’ll need someone who knows when to repoint and when to remove. Structural engineers are a solid investment too, since they’ll be able to help you identify any weak points in the existing structure and whether its possible to reinforce them.



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    06 Peel House, 1, Cheveley Road, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8AD
    T: 01638 662393
    Retention or Rejuvenation?