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Updating Existing House Plans—When to Retool and When to Replace

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House Plans

Updating Existing House Plans—When to Retool and When to Replace

Changing old house plans to suit a new consumer base is easier said than done, but these tips from Housing Design Matters can help builders and remodelers determine just how extensive those updates should be

August 31, 2022
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Image: Stock.adobe.com

The housing sector is undergoing a major transformation, and providing the most efficient plan on the market may require a few necessary changes to meet the needs of an evolving consumer base. While some plans may benefit from replacement with significant structural upgrades, others simply need retooling within the existing building footprint, says Housing Design Matters. 

Building a square perimeter in a four-sided market saves space and is cheaper to build, but building envelopes that are not compact may require replacement. Snout garages should also be avoided to save valuable lot depth, and builders and remodelers will also benefit from taking buyers’ personal needs into consideration when taking on retooling plans like home offices or kitchen renovations.

Let’s start with the building envelope. Is it cut up or is it relatively compact? The more compact the building including fewer corners impacts the amount of exterior wall. If you build in a four-sided brick market, you really want to pay attention to this. Compare the perimeter of a square and a rectangle of identical square footage. The square will always have less perimeter. In other words, the 40’ by 40’ square will be cheaper to build than the 20’ by 80’ rectangle. If the building envelope is not compact, you should probably look at replacement.

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