The Pros and Cons of Ground-Up Construction and Renovation Projects


  • When should I invest in ground-up construction?
  • When is a renovation the best choice for my business?
  • What are the pros and cons of each?

Have your building needs changed, requiring you to make a tough decision?

You can either build a new space or renovate your current building to accommodate what you need. Right now, you’re likely weighing your options. There’s a lot to consider: scope, budget, timeline, sustainability. 

Both ground-up construction and renovations have their place, but neither will work for all situations. With ground-up construction, you start by either purchasing undeveloped land or completely tearing down an existing structure, and you end up with a completely new real estate asset. Meanwhile, a renovation uses most of your existing building, but adds on or restructures the space.

We’ll walk you through the key differences between ground-up construction and renovation projects so you can make the best choice for your situation.

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When Should You Choose Ground-Up Construction?

If your imagination is your only limitation, ground-up construction is a great option. You have lots of possibilities. 

Pros of Ground-Up Construction

Add On as Needed: You can choose to construct your new building in phases or modularly so you can add on as your business grows or evolves.

Personalization: New construction allows for more flexibility and the freedom to personalize the space. You can build your property exactly the way you envision it. With a renovation, you need to stay within the constraints of the building.

Control Over the Building: Ground-up construction allows your operations or construction team to have a hand in all elements of the project.

No Disruption: When you build from the ground up, your staff will be in the old building, carrying on with the day-to-day operation of your business with no disruption. With a renovation, you will need to make accommodations so employees have a safe space to work.

Income Potential: With a new building comes the potential for new tenants. You can build a space that other businesses want to rent, providing an additional income source.

Innovative Materials: You have the opportunity to build a sustainable, smart building that saves on utility costs and carbon emissions. (Bonus: This will attract tenants!)

Cons of Ground-Up Construction  

Timeline: If you’re eager to move into your new building, this may not be the best option. Ground-up construction can take years to complete. In fact, it can take six to 12 months of planning before you break ground on the project.

Permits, Permits, Permits: You’ll need plenty of permits, site visits, and inspections throughout the construction process, making it take that much longer. Permits for building, paving, landscaping, electrical, plumbing, and more will be required for your project.

Cost: Building from the ground up will be costlier than renovating your existing building. The materials, labor, permits, and long timeline add to the cost, all while you’re maintaining your current building. 


If you’re looking for lower costs and shorter timelines, a renovation might be the right choice for you. 


Lower Costs: Typically, a renovation will cost less than ground-up construction. Plus, a renovation adds value to a building, creating more equity in the property. 

Shorter Timelines: Renovations can be done in weeks or months, while ground-up construction can take years. Plus, because a renovation is taking place in an occupied space, there is more urgency to the project.

Less Intensive: The labor, materials, and timeline are all less for a renovation than for ground-up construction, making it a smaller project to take on.

Easier Funding: If you need to finance the project, it is easier to get funding for a renovation than for a new build. Plus, with the equity you add to your building, the real estate itself can potentially pay for the renovation.


Zoning: Zoning constraints may limit what can be done to your building. Your renovation ideas might not be possible if they aren’t compliant with local zoning ordinances.

Site Constraints: Your building itself may have physical limitations. The electrical, plumbing, structural, or other building conditions might not be able to handle your architectural plans.

Community Relations: Your neighbors may be inconvenienced by the noise and mess of an ongoing construction project. Too much disruption can turn a neighbor into an enemy.

Old Building Problems: Older buildings come with older building problems. That means that your renovation can reveal lead, asbestos, termites, or mold. 


It’s time to choose! You need an updated space that meets your current business needs. Should you renovate your existing building, or build a new one from the ground up? Review the pros and cons and determine what makes the most sense for your situation. 

Kroeschell has expertly delivered both renovations and ground-up construction projects for their customers. Their clients love that Kroeschell can complete a turn-key construction build and manage the facilities once the project is complete. At every step of the way, Kroeschell supports buildings. Click here to learn more about their services.



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