Are you buying an old house that needs to be renovated?

Do you need advice about the costs involved?

Whether you are at the Early Stages of browsing the market or are committed to a house, it is never too early to engage with expert advice.

Heads Up was set up by John Martin owner of RENOVA. RENOVA has renovated more than 120 homes since 2012. You will have the benefit of John’s considerable experience at Heads Up.


1. Early Stages

So, you are browsing the market for second-hand homes. The houses you are looking require renovation.

It is impossible to work out the cost of a renovation without experience, and most people underestimate.

Don’t make that mistake. Meet John and get the benefit of his experience.

  • 2 hour consultation at RENOVA
  • Discuss renovation options and real costs
  • Understand the renovation process
  • View RENOVA completed projects
  • Question & answers

2. Committed

You have chosen your dream home, but it needs to be renovated. Don’t leave the renovation cost to chance.

You may have a renovation budget in mind, but is it sufficient?

Site survey and budget estimate to understand your renovation options and the costs.

  • Site meeting – survey and brief
  • Prepare budget estimate
  • Meet at RENOVA
  • Review budget estimate and discuss options
  • Questions & answers


What does it cost to renovate a house?

That’s the million dollar question, and there is no simple answer. Renovations come in all shapes and sizes, they are all different in scope and specification. Each renovation needs to be calculated individually.

Why is it so difficult to establish the cost to renovate a house?

Because you need experience.

You need renovation experience to know what works will be required. And, you need quantity surveying experience to be able to quantify the works and price them properly.

Underestimating the scope of works required tends to be where people go wrong.

Who can advise me on the cost of my renovation?

A chartered quantity surveyor is the correct person to quantify and price your renovation project. Don’t rely on a builder, they typically just price the ‘builders works’, and don’t rely on an architect, their speciality is design.

What is a deep retrofit renovation?

A house is made up of the following:

  1. The building – floors, walls, roof, windows
  2. It’s utilities – heating, plumbing, electrics and ventilation
  3. It’s finishes and fittings – doors, floors, kitchen, bathrooms, wardrobes, fireplaces and decoration etc

A deep retrofit renovation involves modernisation of the building and it’s utilities, plus updating all finishes and fittings. Modernisation of a building means adding insulation to the floor, the walls and the roof, replacement windows and doors, and airtightness measures to eliminate draught. These works will result in a building that holds in the heat and keeps the cold out.

A deep retrofit also requires that the old utilities are replaced with modern utilities. Typically this means a heat pump heating system with digital controls, rewiring including efficient lighting, new plumbing for efficient water heating and distribution, and a ventilation system to make sure that the house is properly ventilated.

Your house will need to be gutted to carry out a deep retrofit. Therefore it will need all new fittings and finishes to make it livable. It isn’t possible to retain all fittings and finishes and carry out a deep retrofit.

What is a cosmetic renovation?

Just replacing fittings and finishes, and decorating is a cosmetic renovation. Until recent times people only did cosmetic renovations because it wasn’t possible to modernise a building. We didn’t have the materials, and energy efficiency wasn’t a consideration.

How much more expensive is a deep retrofit renovation compared to a cosmetic renovation?

It costs at least twice as much to do a deep retrofit than just a cosmetic renovation. And the project duration doubles.

Why do renovation projects go over budget?

Normally this is due to inexperience. People imagine what is involved in a renovation (deep or cosmetic) and they only discover what extra works and costs are involved when they are on site.

Another reason that projects go over budget is that people begin a cosmetic renovation and realise the need for retrofit works after they have started. In this situation it is very easy to topple into a deep retrofit renovation when you only budgeted for a cosmetic renovation. Costs can double in this scenario.

How do I avoid going over budget on my renovation project?

Make a robust plan before you start the works, and stick to it.

Engage experienced construction professionals to make the plan on your behalf, and get the plan onto construction drawings. Include a contingency sum because unforeseen works will crop up. Surround yourself with good people including a reliable builder.

Unless you are experienced don’t attempt to project manage the works yourself.

I don’t have a sufficient budget for my renovation, what do I do?

Cut your cloth to suit your means. If you intended to do a deep retrofit renovation and the costs are beyond your budget then you must reduce the scale of your ambitions. You may need to do a cosmetic renovation instead, plus maybe attic insulation and windows.

What areas do Heads Up cover?

Our Early Stages service is available nationwide. It requires a meeting at RENOVA in Kilcoole.

Our Committed service requires a site visit, and is provided in counties: Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford, Kildare and Meath.

What are Heads Up opening hours?

Monday to Friday 9am – 5:30pm for all services.

Book a consultation