April 15, 2021

Restore, Renovate, or Remodel — What is Right for Your Organization?

Gina Harris, MBA

Restore, Renovate, or Remodel — What is Right for Your Organization?

As a business owner, it is all but inevitable that you will need to purchase your own commercial building at some point.  Likely, one of the first questions you will have is whether you should build from the ground up or simply buy and renovate.  There is certainly a lot to consider, and you may not know the important differences between a restoration, renovation, and remodel, or why these differences even matter.  While subtle, the distinctions can make a difference in how worthwhile an investment is to you and your organization.  

Choosing to remodel or renovate existing offices or facilities as opposed to building an entirely new structure can be a difficult decision for a business owner when evaluating space needs, functionality and cost concerns.1  A professional facility assessment can help provide needed direction and help you distinguish what is working and not working for you in your current space.  Getting input from a trusted third party can even lead to innovative solutions that enhance and reorganize your current spaces to work better for you. 

The decision of how to proceed is one that will take considerable forethought.  In the end, your facility has the potential to pose competitive advantages, energy and cost savings, and other returns on your investment.  To lay the foundation—pardon the pun—for your decision-making, the sections that follow will help summarize and provide specific examples of your options.

Taking on a New Build with Ground-Up Construction

In his article for Forbes entitled Renovation Vs. New Construction: What Business Owners Should Consider, Christopher Hurn warns, “The cost of land, materials and labor have been on the rise in recent years, so the cost to build a new building is usually more than buying a comparable existing building and renovating.  Of course, there are exceptions,” says Hurn, “but inflation in land and construction expenses typically outpace what one would pay to buy and renovate.”  Along with cost concerns, the speed of project completion is a factor to consider as well.  Standard improvements—and even significant renovations—to an existing facility will allow you to occupy the space much faster than if you choose ground-up construction.2


Restoration is the process in which you return the building to its original condition.  Typically, historic buildings are prime candidates for restoration, although modern structures can undergo restoration as well.  As long as the building has a strong foundation and only requires minimal repairs, a restoration can be the most cost-effective choice.3  Utilizing less energy and making the most out of the structure’s existing carbon footprint means that from an environmental standpoint, restoration is likely the most “green” choice.

Restoration projects could involve any number of processes, including:

  • Repairing ceilings, floors, and wall finishes
  • Repairing plumbing installations, doors, and other fixtures
  • Removing old carpeting
  • Restoring the façade with masonry or siding repair


Renovation is the process of renewing a building or structure by fixing what’s already present—and in some cases, adding new components.3  In essence, a renovation involves making aesthetic improvements that update the look and feel of a space, or entire structure, without changing the intended purpose of the space altogether. 

Renovations are often done in conjunction with restorations.  For example, you may be restoring a building, but in the process, you decide to make it a bit more updated by wiring additional outlets for electronics, and installing new light fixtures, and modern bathrooms—and with those new components, it is now a renovation project as well.

Examples of common renovations include:

  • Installing modern, energy efficient windows and doors
  • Replacing tiles or flooring
  • Replacing aged mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems with higher efficiency fixtures and equipment
  • Roof replacement


Remodeling involves changing an entire room or building.3  It tends to be a much more involved project than restoring or renovating—and can be more costly as well—as it entails making changes to a building’s structure.  Before you undergo a remodel, a cost estimate is recommended to make sure the changes can be made within your budget.  Typically, you will only want to take on a remodel if your building is missing the components that are required in order to function properly.

For example, remodeling could involve any of the following:

  • Expanding the square footage of a building with an addition
  • Gutting, removing, or adding walls
  • Reconfiguring offices into an employee breakroom 
  • Removing drop ceiling tiles to expose existing structure above
  • Adding or reconfiguring mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to support the expansion of a building or reconfiguration of spaces within a structure

What is right for your business?

In the end, the choice between a new build and the purchase of an existing structure often comes down to personal preference.  “The opportunity to construct a building to your exact specifications, where everything is shiny and new, is often a powerful factor for small-business owners.  If no expense will be spared, then new construction will likely win out,” writes Hurn, for Forbes.  “In my experience,” he says, “…cost is always a major factor, and renovating is the path taken more often.”  Regardless, business owners should know that they have many options, and there are a number of opportunities that your business can take advantage of. 

Whether you are looking to address space concerns to accommodate for a growing staff, reorganize your workspaces to make your operations more efficient, or incorporate new energy efficient changes to save on costs, your organization will benefit from having a trusted partner to guide you through the process.  At Paragon Architecture, we work alongside our corporate, healthcare, municipal, and education clients from concept to completion and beyond.  Think of us as your architectural Sherpas, guiding you every step of the way.  

Paragon’s team of professional architects and interior designers are experienced in new construction, renovations and remodels, adaptive reuse and restoration, and sustainable design.  When you are ready to talk about your next project, give us a call and we’ll take action together.  Our architects and interior designers are passionate project managers, ready to advocate your vision from the first sketch to your final phone call—and beyond.  Ready to learn more?  Contact our team.


1Springfield Business Journal. 2021. “Evaluating Renovation Vs. New Build”. 2021. SBJ Live.https://sbjlive.sbj.net/stories/evaluating-renovation-vs-new-build,73482

2Hurn, Christopher. 2020. “Council Post: Renovation Vs. New Construction: What Business Owners Should Consider”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2020/05/15/renovation-vs-new-construction-what-business-owners-should-consider/?sh=57171dc5b756

3Designblendz. 2020. “Difference Between Building Restoration Renovation & Remodel”. Blog. Designblendz Blog. https://www.designblendz.com/blog/building-restoration-or-renovation-or-remodel-whats-the-difference-and-which-is-best-for-my-project

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