This week in the Examiner, Kieran McCarthy of KMC Homes provides advice on whether to build a new home or renovate an old property.

Q. My wife and I have recently inherited one and one-third properties: an old farmhouse we fully own, and a 1970s bungalow, approximately 1,300 sq ft, which my two sisters and I now own between us.

My wife and I are exploring the possibility of purchasing the bungalow outright and renovating the bungalow instead of going ahead with a new 2,500 sq ft build on the site of the farmhouse. Our initial idea is to renovate and convert the bungalow into a 1.5-storey house, aligning it with the architectural style of newer houses in the area.

The main advantage of the bungalow is its proximity to Nenagh (2km) compared to the farmhouse (10km). How financially feasible would the renovation be compared to the 2,500 ft new build? Your insights would be greatly appreciated as we navigate this decision-making process.


You essentially have a choice of two very different projects to carry out which will result in two very different ‘new’ homes in two different parts of the county, and for two different building costs but which one is right for you?

To be honest, I don’t know because I don’t know you well enough to advise you but I can outline what I do know, which is what the two projects would broadly entail and hopefully that will help you with your final choice so let’s compare.

Regarding the 1970s bungalow, these bungalows are generally quite simple to renovate if you are maintaining the current footprint (as they normally have a 100mm cavity between the two leaves of blockwork making it quite simple and cost-effective to insulate).

However, in your case, you are looking to add a first-floor dormer roof to this bungalow to make it 1.5 storeys. I feel that if you are doing this you will need a full new render system externally to ensure a consistent finish from top to bottom.

Because of the size of your renovation project, I feel you will need to bring your whole house up to the new NZeb (Nearly Zero-Emission) building regulations, which broadly means your finished house needs to reach a B2 BER or better. With this in mind, I would probably externally insulate the entire house giving you a new and very well-insulated external facade..

View full article in The Examiner here.




Looking to build a new home? View our house designs for ideas.