Preparing for a Renovation: The Owner-Builder’s Guide
14 / 10 / 2020
If you’re an owner-builder looking to renovate your home, then you’ve got a big task ahead of you. A multitude of elements must be considered, researched and taken care of before the construction even starts and that’s what today’s article is all about – the preparation and what you need to know as an owner-builder. Our experienced quantity surveyor contractors have handled countless residential renovation projects over the years and are best situated to help you prepare for this exciting undertaking.
Why are you renovating?
The first thing that needs to be established is why you are renovating in the first place. Are you looking to boost the value of the property and flip it in the near future? Or, are you renovating purely so you can improve your own living situation? This will ultimately affect the renovation itself. If you are looking to flip, then popular and trendy designs may take precedence over personal opinion and vice versa.
Evaluate your budget
When it comes to determining a budget for your renovation, our quantity surveyor contractors recommend staying below 10% of your home’s market value – especially if you are looking to flip. The reason for this is so you don’t lose too much when selling. That being said – if you are looking for more extravagant, structural renovations, then you may be looking at a higher figure. A good strategy is also adding 10% to 20% extra to your budget to cover any overspends or unforeseen issues that may occur. If you are unsure how to fund the project, then take a look at our article on financing your home’s renovation.
Plan the design
With projects of this magnitude, it is wise to plan before commencing – this is the worst industry for improvisation or suggesting ad hoc tasks halfway through. Finding a professional and experienced architect that you trust and whose work you are happy with is key to a successful end-product. Work with them to establish every aspect of the project and confirm material specifications. You will want to confirm exact particulars such as joinery finishes, tiles and carpeting to avoid any confusion or mistakes further down the track.
Find the perfect time to renovate
There are two factors you should consider when looking at the best time to renovate – the weather and the market. If you are looking to flip then a rising market is the best indicator so by the time it’s ready you can take advantage of the high prices. The weather is obviously important as strong winds and rain can sometimes stifle renovations (depending on the type of work). If you know the work will be done outside, then it may be worth holding off for spring or summer.
Gaining permissions (council and strata)
Most internal renovations – painting, changing floorboards etc. – will not require council permission. If you are unsure, it does not hurt to ask. For major structural renovations or changes that may affect services such as plumbing, electricity or gas, you will need to consult your local council and gain approval before moving forward. They may also need to inspect said changes after the fact to ensure everything is up to code. If you own an apartment, however, you should seek approval from the body corporate before any type of renovation just to be sure.
Whilst some simple apartment renovations are generally considered to be possible without permission (think painting, installing cabinets, replacing floorboards etc.) – every building is different. Body corporate will not want changes made that will devalue or compromise the structural integrity of the surrounding apartments. If you are thinking more drastic changes like removing walls to create a more open concept, then body corporate will need to be consulted prior in case the walls are load-bearing.
An often overlooked, yet, crucial element that particularly applies to large-scale renovations is where you are going to stay while the work is being completed. It can be a hassle going about your day during renovations and potentially even hazardous to sleep in an active construction environment – which is why you must factor in your accommodation for the period. You could stay with a family member/close friend or rent a property. If you are going to rent, then be sure to include that in your budget.
Are you looking for a quality quantity surveyor contractor?
Section 94 has had years of experience dealing with residential renovations and can help ensure that all contracts and forms are in order and that your budget is accurate and well-planned. We can also help you with bills of quantities, construction budgets and section 94 reports to name a few.
For more on our services, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0413 953 869.