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7 ways to Avoid Costly Renovation Disasters                                        

Once you have made the decision that you are going to stay with your existing property and change it to suit your needs, it is important to understand that getting this done is an intricate process. In this blog, I give you some pointers about the things to look out for in your renovation. With a bit of understanding of the process and trust in your professionals, you can have a great fun project.

1. You will likely have to engage many professionals in different parts of your renovation. The stages of a building project fall into 5 categories. It's important these steps are followed in this order. If you avoid a stage you could end up with big problems, "a dog's breakfast" or something that doesn't suit your needs.


The Research: you take time to decide what your needs are, what you can afford, and the style or type of home you want. These ideas are used to brief your designer.

Design: You work through plans with your Architect or designer to ascertain the building design. This can take 3-6 months depending upon the office workload and the number of revisions to the plans.

Planning & Certification: Your professional designer prepares drawings and documents to get solid estimates from builders and the required planning approvals. You hire a certifier to verify that the design meets the National Construction Code requirements.

Construction: Depending upon the complexity of the site and design, allow 3 months to a year for the building. Use this time to plan furnishings and purchases with your interior designer

Furnishing and moving in: Prime Cost items like carpets, blinds, curtains and light fittings should be installed prior to occupation. Planning for furniture with at least 3 months lead time is needed before moving in.

2. Engage a designer early- it will end up saving you money. A designer Is on your side to advise, with the knowledge to help you consider all the best options ahead of time;


A designer can communicate effectively with the builder, give them all the information they need when they need it; and makes sure your needs are met now and into the future;

3. Minimise changes to the design.

Make up your mind and stick to it, Most people underestimate the importance of Contract Variations and how changing your mind during building will blow out costs.

4. Use your designer to help you select a builder by getting recommendations and 3 estimates to compare detailed quotes. They can help you to understand why the lowest estimate is rarely the best. Get references from builders who have been recommended to you by asking to contact their previous clients. Seeing previously completed works and talking to the owners is a sure way to understand a builder's capabilities.


5. Be Patient and realistic: Building a building shouldn’t be hurried regardless of how fast you’d like it to happen.

ALLOW the design phase to run its course. You will get much better and more cost-effective outcomes.

The Planning and approval stage takes between 2-12 months, depending on the type of approval and whether re-design and reapplication are required.


Wait for the builder you want. Decisions based on availability, external time frames timing, hassling your builder, or asking them to shortcut their processes works can work out disastrously.


6. Build a relationship of trust and respect with your tradespeople. Don’t be over-involved in your project. During construction recognise that the site (your property) is off-limits. Maintaining weekly or fortnightly communication is a routine part of the process on a good build.


Once the builder has started- don't stop them because of finances or holidays.

Builders and good artisans, who you want to work with, are highly trained. Acknowledge and appreciating the skills and work of the trades goes a long way to making them happy and productive, filling all involved with pride.


7. Identify luxury items at the beginning, building them into the budget to keep costs under control.

It's exciting having a new home, planning to fill it with new appliances and special furnishings like rugs and light fittings.

Impulse buying during construction causes difficulties because the designer and builder have to work out how to accommodate, place or detail the items at the last minute.

Unplanned furniture purchases could cause cost overruns which, when placed on your credit card, go beyond your comfort level and can affect your credit rating or have implications on the mortgage when payments are due to the builder.

If you would like help handling your renovation, send me a note on the contact form and you can find out more on our Services page I'd love to hear your comments about your renovation experience and whether you've put any of these tips into action. You can send your comments via the contact form.





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