- Posted Monday, 5 May 2014 -
- In Articles
The following article is taken from Issue 13 of Success Business Magazine.
Where to begin your building project
Where to start is often the most
confusing step. There are a few fundamentals that are necessary to keep the
process exciting and effective. The complete process is beyond this article,
however I will share with you in the coming editions the sequential path to
completing a building project relatively stress free. This article will cover
your starting point identifying your scope and budget.
Contact a builder
Calling a reputable builder is a good place to start.
Identify a builder through word of mouth, researching the internet, looking at
websites and online reviews. Making an appointment on site with your builder
provides a good environment to discuss your project. Raising an old building,
building in under, extensions and renovations is a speciality in the building
industry and choosing a builder you feel comfortable with who has a sound
background in this style of construction and remodelling work is important.
The builder should be able to provide you with a rough
estimate to try and establish whether the scope is within your budget. For
instance if you are raising a building with a view to build in under on a footprint of 100m2 and your budget is $80,000 it is
unlikely the project will proceed, and as a part of your initial investigation
it is this you are trying to establish. This is called prequalifying.
Establishing a budget is about understanding what the market can provide for
the money available. You will save a lot of time and frustration by gaining an
understanding of this at the outset.
Establish a budget
It is important to understand that renovation work generally
per square metre will cost more than a new build where repetitious work such as
project homes provides economy of scale. Renovation work requires some artistic
licence. It is significantly slower
because each piece of each element is cut and built to measure, often working
with old materials or splicing new to old. Demolition work is also an expensive
factor. Removal and disposal of building material is expensive and concrete can
often cost more to remove and dispose of than it costs to put down new.
However this type of project is
about value adding to an existing property, providing additional space in an
area you are familiar with and love. Renovation work is exciting and is often
done alongside established areas of historic and/or architectural value.
For those that don’t know if they will be spending $30,000 or
$100,000 for a given project you need to start somewhere. If you are looking under your house and
wondering what it would cost to add a few bedrooms, a rumpus room, kitchenette
and bathroom etc, I would use a metre rate of approximately $1,600 per square
metre to give you a very general estimated starting point to budget from.
Naturally this rate can vary significantly depending on whether it’s a turn-key
finish (i.e. fully finished as you would expect a new
home to be) or not. Bearing in mind the
price can vary significantly from this depending on your selection of finish
from the detail within the scope. For instance, tiles could vary from $30
square meter to $170. Or the laying of tiles for cushion edge could be $35-$40
a square meter to lay and large rectified edge tiles could be up to $95 square
meter to lay. A toilet suite could vary from $170 to $1,200 and the list goes
The discussion with your builder is
about establishing a budget line and it is always important to establish a
budget at the outset and work backwards from that point. The budget will dictate
the finish options available to you. I have found owners reluctant to share
budget prices because they are afraid the builder will capitalise on what they
have available. As much as I understand this concern, in reality it is
unrealistic. I would suggest you would put the project out to at least 3
builders for pricing and they will all be bidding for the work. To quote
outside market price would simply be a waste of time for any builder. The
market is extremely competitive and prices must be sharp to meet the
market. I share this reality with you to
put your mind at ease as it will make the process a lot smoother from the
Pricing the Project
Another important point for consideration is to be sure each
builder that quotes your job has exactly the same information. It is all too
often I have seen the cheapest quote win the project on price, but the owners
have paid dearly in expensive variations. Most construction drawings are
missing much vital information and assumptions are often made by the builder
and the owner. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss, but in the building game it is
expensive. It is important to understand
your drawings and the detail so when comparing the prices be sure there is a
list of inclusions and exclusions. Your
inclusions should be accompanied with a selection
list of all third party items such as toilet suite, vanity, kitchen and all
associated tapware fittings and fixtures. Often plans will show a vanity and
show the need for a toilet suite, bath etc. but there is no detail, so without
knowing specifically what is being included could lead to disappointment in the
finish - and upgrading retrospectively
is rarely cheap.
Sharing some of these tips is all about keeping the project
exciting and something to look forward to. If at the outset your vision is
exactly what your builder is delivering you will feel good about the process,
excited about the finish and be comfortable doing it again in the future.
Adding value to your existing property has lots of benefits and I hope that
sharing some of the process with you and highlighting things for you to
consider can help in some way.