Sandra Paim AIA

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    Articles Index

  1. Starting From Scratch
    vs. Remodeling
  2. Designing for a Multi-
    Generational Family
  3. Moving vs. Remodeling
  4. Let There Be Light
  5. To Live or Not To Live
    (in a Construction Zone),
    That is The Question
  6. Have Your Say on
    The House Next Door

Articles Index: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


Starting From Scratch vs. Remodeling

Benefits and advantages of starting from scratch or remodeling the existing structure will depend on the extent of the work. For example, most cities consider the remodeling of a house a complete new house if removing 50% of the existing structure. Some consider adding more than 50% to the floor area and evaluate the house as a new structure. Here are some general ideas on the benefits and disadvantages you could expect:


  • start with fresh design unencumbered by existing layout or structural constraints
  • new construction will meet current building codes enhancing life safety
  • increase property values
    • more expedient construction, fewer surprises during demo
  • no labor-intensive reconstruction or correction of the existing structure to bring up to code


  • additional consultants may be required & more fees to pay (i.e. land surveyor, soils engineer, civil engineer, arborist, etc.
  • higher permit & plan check fees
  • additional utility connection fees
  • more document requirements from the city
  • additional approvals required & more design review fees

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