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Renovation Planning 101

With a mountain load to remember during a renovation, it is important to keep track of what you need and when you need it. A checklist is handy tool to keeping everything monitored.

This helps you avoid omissions and time overruns that, normally adds to the cost you've been ever so trying to downsize.

architect  cost

1. Contact your local council and review the local DCP (Development Control Plan), or better yet, get a copy! this outlines what is and isn't allowed in your area. This tells you the building to landscaping ratio and whether you can alter the façade for example. It’s worthwhile to obtaining an indication of the standard processing times for a building application – these vary markedly from council to council.

2. Prepare a dream chart of preferred finishes, materials, products and appliances. You may think that you won't be able to afford them but you have to start somewhere!  Why not with the ones that most appeal to you? who knows some online bargains may work out your dream plans after all.

3. Get quotations for your preferred flooring, bench-top materials and wall tiles so that the costs don’t come as a last minute shock. With the prices readily at hand you can make more informed decisions on which items offer more savings and value and discuss these with your architect or designer in an informed way.do_i_need_an_architect

4. Seek the average price per sqm for renovation work in your area from your architect or bodies like the Master Builders Association and armed with this information calculate a rough budget for the amount of work you’re after. Site access is a big contributor to high quotes. If you intend to take out a loan for the renovation, start the process of finding out what information is required and the likely amount you will be able to borrow. This process alone can take several weeks. The loan amount can be confirmed once the quotes have come in.

5. Interview prospective architects to see if their design philosophy and style fits with what you want your home to be. The more you get an architect to do, the less tasks you have to do from the list below, and the more expensive they will be.  Remember, most renovators are paying with borrowed money, so a bit of attention to these tasks on your own might save you a few years of loan repayments. Architect’s fees vary and are based on a percentage of the total budget - calculated at between 12 and 20%, so make sure you chose one who is prepared to earn it!

6. If using a draftsperson start by working up several of your own designs so that by the time it comes to having the house drawn up professionally you have a concrete list of rooms, their ideal sizes, finishes and number and position of windows and doors. The more you know what you want, the less you will rely on assistance and pay for design alterations


7. Make inquiries among friends and colleagues as to whether they can recommend any builders and look closely at the quality and type of work they have done in the past. It would be nice to arrive at a shortlist of a couple of builders recommended by friends and add these to the ones that the architect or drafts person already have a working relationship with.

8. Once your architect or draftsperson has finished drawing up the plans and you are happy you will need to have the engineering component of the design costed. This relates to all structural demands that need to be specified by a qualified engineer – foundations, beam sizes, roof design, retaining walls and the like. With an engineers preliminary specifications and the plan complete, you can send the design into council for DA approval.

electronic shopping9. While the DA is being processed which can take up to 90 days in some councils the engineer can finalise the structural drawings and you can start selecting your preferred ‘PC’(Prime Cost) items – toilet, hand basins, sinks, tapslighting, door hardware showers,baths etc, so you have time to reassess the cost ,once the quotes from builders have come in. There are online shops like that may still end you up with your dream European themed bathroom and still at a fraction of the cost.

10. Once you have received DA approval you can send out the plans to builders to quote on with any revisions required by council. Usually there is a wide range of prices so some time needs to be devoted to finding out why. Some builders quote high and spend less time calculating real costs in the hope that their high estimate will cover them - others are very detailed in what is included and what isn't making their quote very precise. Before deciding on which builder to go with check what their quotes include and exclude and what each builder’s prices for variations (changes not allowed for in the contract) might be.

11. Architects will usually complete a Tender Assessment spreadsheet before advising their client which builder looks the best on paper. This compares the various quotes including the estimated completion date, rates for variations and hourly rate charges for subcontracted tradespeople. While this is helpful to compare apples with apples, you still need to factor into the final decision the quality of the builder’s past work, their personality and years of experience.

12. Appoint a certifier to liaise with council and other government controlled departments like the water board. You can choose to use a council certifier or a private one. Either way they are responsible for checking that mandatory inspections are undertaken by structural engineers and water, gas and electrical providers at critical times such as excavation work before footings are poured, formwork for slabs, waterproofing of bathrooms and wall and roof framing. The certifier will ensure the necessary certificates are forwarded to council so that an occupancy certificate can be granted on the building’s completion.

The Glory of the Internet Series - E-commerce13. Traditionally, it is advisable to order PC (Prime Cost) items at least 6 weeks before the builder requires them. These fittings and appliances are not necessarily stock items with many needing to be ordered from Europe. However, thanks to online stores like , that cuts out middle men without sacrificing quality, your own European design kitchen tap, would arrive thrice faster than the average physical store would have you wait. And whats even better? you might even get it shipped for free, while still at a fraction of the cost. Remember that  It sure wouldn't be nice to put back your completion date just because of a fixture right?

14. Remember what your builder is hired to source. Builders will be very conscious of the costs of their in-scope materials. If you ask him to source something out-of-scope like all your door handles, do not expect him to seek out the best value products. To make the most out of your budget, shop wisely for the fixtures and fittings that are both in and out of scope for the builder. Do not get carried away and get very enthusiastic about the bathroom and kitchen then forget about budgeting for all the extras like indoor and outdoor lighting, door hardware including locks, handles, stoppers, door closers, security system, etc.

You may ask your builder on what items under their scope you could source. See if you may get these at a lower cost than the ones that your builder recommends. A good advice is to check on shops with a wide range of products used across the entire house. This way, not only do you cut your materials cost, but you also get everything at one stop. There are some one stop renovator online shops like that displays most of your renovating needs from taps, lights down to door stoppers or even toilet roll holders. Don't forget to ask for a discount. Most shops would give you one if you purchase more items.

15. With your renovation under way you need to follow the progress closely to avoid any irreversible surprises. It is good to check in with the builder on at least a weekly basis so that any issues can be discussed and acted upon quickly.

16. On completion the owner has a set period of time known as the defect period (usually 26 weeks) to notify the builder of unfinished elements or faults that may have developed over time – cracking, leaks and so forth. The builder is obliged to remedy these faults in a timely manner as outlined in their contract. A retention sum of 5% of the total cost is normally held back until they remedy all of these issues. Any faults discovered after this period will need to be dealt with through the Home Warranty Insurance scheme which covers the work of builders (on jobs over $20,000) for a period of 5 years after practical completion.

With this pre-renovation 101, your sure to have a planned and great renovation project.

Happy Renovating!

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