Q&A: Building versus renovating


Consider your financial situation when deciding between building a new facility and renovating an existing one.

Q: We have outgrown our facilities and are ready to upgrade. Should we build new or renovate our existing structure?

Mark Hafen

A: Your first step is to compare and contrast the opportunities and constraints of your existing facility with those of a new building, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Mark Hafen, AIA, a senior partner with Animal Arts/Gates Hafen Cochrane in Boulder, Colo. In short, if you don't have a lot of money, renovate your current structure. If you're ahead financially, build new.

If you decide to renovate your existing facility, there's plenty to consider. First, evaluate the building's condition. Is the facility worth expanding? Is it structurally sound? Will the HVAC need to be upgraded? Next, look at the site condition. Is there room to expand? Could you add parking? Is this where you want to be located long term? Finally, consider the market. Is there potential for growth in the area?

If you decide to build a new facility, you'll also have a few questions to ask yourself. First, evaluate the building site. Is there affordable land in your desired location? Is it visible, accessible, and large enough? Of course, you'll also have to consider the cost. How much money do you have to put into the project? Finally, define your goals. What is it you want to accomplish? How will you balance functionality with impressive design? Investing in a new facility is a complicated process, but answering these questions can make it a bit easier.

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