As a registered architect, a good part of my practice has been the designing of additions and alterations to homes, commercial and industrial facilities, churches and other buildings. I applaud a recent letter recognizing the value and importance of existing homes, although I don't concur with the writer's use of the term "recycling."
There should always be valid reasoning in place before my clients spend money on an existing property, and it is part of my responsibility to make them aware of the positives and negatives. If a client gives me an unlimited budget (which seldom happens) and has plenty of land, there would be no problem. But some houses can never beimproved to fit the needs of a family and this is where "new" comes in. Determining factors include structural problems, poor utilities, side-yard restrictions, sewage disposal systems too close to the house, low ceilings and floor layouts that would compromise a family's need for space.
Lastly, her reference to politicians giving a tax break for the improvement of property is just not realistic. Politicians seek new construction as part of their legacy and punish owners of older property by giving the tax incentive to new developments, which increases the tax base.
Demetrios T. Liaros Williamsville