Planning home building work?
LOOK FOR A DESIGNER
Use a designer who is a Licensed Building Practitioner, Registered Architect or Chartered Professional Engineer. It is important to be clear on what services your designer will be providing. Go over your ideas with a firm budget in mind. Be really clear on the brief; before you engage a designer, know your high level objectives and specific details that must be included.
WORK WITH THE DESIGNER TO CREATE CONCEPTS & GET DETAILED PLANS DRAWN UP
Detailed plans allow contractors to quote more accurately for the work, and firms up details early that could cause disputes
down the line. Make sure you’re happy with everything because you’ll be living with these choices for a long time.
GET DETAILED QUOTES FROM CONTRACTORS OR A ‘DESIGN & BUILD’ COMPANY
Get recommendations from your friends or family, and don’t forget to ask for references. Use licensed practitioners as required.
Responsibility of homeowner, but sometimes handled by designer or contractor.
GET QUOTES BACK FROM CONTRACTORS
Look at the scope and the type of materials/fixtures they’re suggesting. Most homeowners find that the quotes are over their budget, sometimes by 100% – but don’t just take the lowest quote. Check that you’re happy with the quality and style of what is being suggested, and that you’re comparing ‘apples with apples’. Make sure to read the disclosure statement and project checklist your
contractor has provided.
RE-THINK, RE-SCOPE, RE-FINANCE
Homeowners who receive quotes beyond their budget need to re-think their project, and align their vision to the reality of their finance. Most end up reducing the scope of work while also increasing the budget, finding a middle ground.
SELECT A CONTRACTOR & SIGN A CONTRACT
Written contracts will be mandatory for work of $30,000 (incl GST) or more. Be clear on costs, so you know exactly what you’re going to pay.
NEED BUILDING CONSENT?
Responsibility of homeowner, but often done by the contractor.
GET READY AND START BUILDING
Budget for alternative accommodation – if you’re renovating, you’ll be sharing spaces with tradespeople, on site early in the morning and sometimes late at night. The power and water will be on and off. There’s noise, dust and a lack of privacy. Delays can often be an issue, for both renovations and a new build. If alternative accommodation hasn’t been budgeted for in the beginning, it can really add to the cost of your project.
BUILDING WORK UNDERWAY
Be mindful when making decisions along the way – whenever you make a change to what’s been specified and agreed in the contract, you’re actually making a change to the contract (a variation). It helps to keep details of the fittings and fixtures in a spreadsheet, so you can track the changes that you make and the impact on costs and timelines.
GET FINAL CODE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE AND MOVE BACK IN
Make sure your contractor has provided information about maintenance on your house, and get details for any insurance policies they may have taken on the work.
FINISH YOUR ‘SNAG LIST’
The rate of work may tail off towards the end of the project. Finish the small jobs that make your build feel complete.