I want to do some extensions to my house, but I don’t know where to start. Where do I go from here?
Any project that involves any new building or increases the living area of a house requires the following five step process.
Contact: You need to make contact with the right people to design the right solution to your building project.
Planning & Design: This is the most important stage in the process! The amount of effort that goes into this stage will determine the overall success of the project.
Approvals: This can be done by your designer, builder or yourself.
It involves submitting your design to a private building certifier for council approvals.
Construction: Once the design process has been completed and approvals have been sought, we are then ready to begin construction. From here on you can sit back, relax and watch your dream unfold.
Completion: Upon completion of the construction process, all final approvals must be sought. At this stage the private building certifier becomes involved to make sure that all works are of a high quality and meet the requirements of the “Building Code of Australia”.
Should the builder be involved in the design process?
Yes! It is extremely valuable to the project’s success to have designers, builders and building certifiers working as a team from the beginning of the project.
This enables problems to be ironed out from the beginning, and budget constraints to be properly assessed all along the way.
How do I know that my builder is licensed?
All licensed builder and/or trade contractor are issued with a license card from the Building Services Authority. You should request to see a copy this before you sign any contracts.
Will my building works be insured?
Only licensed building contractors are able to have their work insured, so beware of impostors! You should also check that your builder has “Public Liability” Insurance in case any one hurts themselves on your property.
Also any renovation work over $11,000 (Inc gst) is required to have Home Warranty Insurance, the terms and conditions of this policy are available on request.
Some other points to consider prior to building or renovating
Plan your renovations so that they will accommodate changes in your future, such as additional children, and so they lend themselves readily to the next renovation. This is particularly relevant when you are planning a bandaid solution and will save you stress and money over time.
Don’t overcapitalise. Make sure that the renovations add value. For example, spending $40,000 to $60,000 for a new room in an old, poorly designed house may not be the best use of resources.
Beware of dangerous materials. Be very wary of asbestos in old buildings as this could extend your budget, not to mention your health if you are a DIY renovator. All asbestos removal must comply with government regulations.
Finally, if you can afford it, employ an Architect whose work you admire, because they usually ensure that the renovation doesn’t end up looking like the house that Jack built and ensure all specifications comply with council guidelines. The quality of your planning will determine the success of your project.