Comment of the Day: Hidden Costs of the Houston Demolition Reflex

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HIDDEN COSTS OF THE HOUSTON DEMOLITION REFLEX 2 Tiel Way, River Oaks, Houston, 77019“I know nothing about this particular situation — but having seen some examples of this sort of renovation scene play out, I wonder whether there is a lot of anti-renovation bias that pushes the estimates beyond what they really need to be. I have family on the East Coast that have done renovations of homes built in the early 1800s. These were homes that at some point fell into disrepair and had pretty serious issues with wood rot all over, and expensive foundation issues. But there was never a second thought about tearing the building down, even though there was no historic protection in place. All the builders up there do historic renovations all day long and can price them reasonably. I think builders in Houston just do not have the experience and are afraid of taking on the job so they provide an astronomical bid to try to get the owner to tear down.” [Old School, commenting on River Oaks Mid-Century Preservation Turns Demolition, with Reincarnation In the Works] Photo of demolished to-be-rebuilt 2 Tiel Way: HAR

6 Comment

  • I concur in that too many contractors just don’t want to mess with the unkown. It kinda takes a contractor
    with the experience, vision and perhaps appreciation of some of the quality and style of building to want
    to get involved. Its hard to bid a job like this, but worth it. What the owner will end up with just cannot
    compare to that mod-soul that the original, if restored, has. Sad.

  • Hotwired, I’ve bid more than a few of these projects both fixed price and cost plus. In every case the realtor that sold it to them lied about the cost to rehab and filled their heads with so many outlandish ideas that a new house is barely more or just as much. When I turn in the price it is a complete shock. A builder that intends to warranty the work shows up to face an owner that has put his/her trust in people with all the wrong motives.

  • The reality is current permitting by the City of Houston makes it faster and simpler to build new rather than rehab an old home. So sad considering the vastly superior quality of old materials vs the shabby stuff of new construction. It is not fear of the unknown but rather fear of the permitting department and it’s endless delays and arbitrary application of standards.

  • Since when has the 1950s been considered the epitome of building science, thoughtful use of materials, environmental sustainability or comfortable living? Are we pining over other 1950s artifacts, except as novelties or niche hobbies, i.e., automobile restorations for show. (Cuba excepted).

  • Mid-century houses in Houston can’t be reasonably compared to 1800’s homes on the East Coast. They are two different animals, from two vastly different time periods with vastly different availability and type of building materials. Among other things an East Coast home built in the 1800s was not built on a slab foundation in clay soil, and likely included much denser old-growth wood. Even a stone foundation is much easier and more cost-effective to repair than a slab, particularly 3,600 square feet of it.

  • I hate the COH building /permitting department. Filled with a bunch of TAX ( aka “fee” ) collectors aka fricking , close minded , brain washed inspectors/bureaucrats. They all NEED to be REPLACED by younger ,more competent employees who care about the property owners project(s). NOT the bottom line..