Difference Between Renovations, New Construction and Retrofitting

There are many phrases used in modern construction such as renovation, remodel and retrofit that have similar meaning and may be used interchangeably. However, these types of projects do have unique specific meanings and unique considerations. It’s important for you to know the difference so that you’re able to clearly communicate with commercial general contractors.

Renovations

Renovations are projects wherein the structure is being restored or repaired. Renovations are somewhat synonymous with remodeling, however the goal of a remodel is to change the structure, while the goal of a renovation is to repair the structure. Some renovations are subtle, hyper focused on a specific element, and some renovations are more substantial and overlap with remodels.   

A commercial renovation often includes repairing or replacing any part of a building that may be outdated or damaged. It is fairly common to see renovations to address structures or specific elements that may not meet modern building codes. Renovations are often more cost effective than new construction or a complete remodel, and typically, renovations also add value to the structure or building.

Retrofitting

Another type of project similar to remodeling is retrofitting. With this type of project, you are adding something new to the original building or structure, however the goal of a retrofit is to specifically improve the functionality of the building by adding new technology, building systems, or equipment. Conversely, remodeling tends to be more focused on the aesthetics and appearance rather than purely functionality.

One of the most common retrofit projects for commercial buildings today is making a building more efficient through updated heating elements, improved windows, or new insulation. Rooftop retrofits for commercial buildings may improve the life expectancy of a structures roof and offer lower-maintenance. Seismic retrofitting projects improve a structures ability to handle earthquakes or ground motion. As long as there is new technology to improve commercial buildings, the retrofit opportunities will continue to grow. 

New Construction

New construction projects are very straightforward: constructing a new building or structure from the ground up. This type of project, although simple in terms of definition, is very unique from one project to the next. Most often a new construction project requires working with architects, builders, construction teams and general contractors at a minimum. 

Building from scratch may be a more expensive option than renovating but oftentimes a new build is the best option for your specific project.  New construction allows for application of modern technology throughout the building for everything from electrical to sustainability considerations. New builds also often mean lower maintenance costs over time.

Your Next Project

Ultimately type of project you will depend on the purpose of the building, your budget, and the goals of the project. Once you have clarity on the project as a whole it’s easy to decide if a renovation, new construction or even a retrofit is right for your commercial construction project.  

If you’d like to learn more about our experience in everything from retrofits to renovations contact us today.