7 Expert Tips For A Successful Renovation

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7 Expert Tips For A Successful Renovation

Undertaking a renovation or extension can be a challeanging exercise. So how can you make sure things go right?

You might call a builder asking for an estimate to renovate your home. However, if the builder has no plans to work from, their estimate will never be very reliable.

Instead, follow these 7 fundamental steps to keep your renovation on track. They're based on over a decade of expert renovation experience, across hundreds of projects just like yours.

Crucially, they deliver a beautiful home renovation and minimise risk throughout your project.


Step 1: Ask, Why Do You Want To Renovate/Extend?

People have various reasons they want to renovate/extend their home. Accommodating new family members, downsizing, selling, renting out, modernising or tweaking a home you’ve just bought to deliver your tastes and lifestyle.

The important thing to remember is that your renovation design will vary depending on the purpose of your renovation/extension. This impacts budgets, materials and timeframes so being clear on the reason why you’re renovating is a key part of setting up your project


Step 2: Start With Your Design Concept – in 3D

Speak with a renovation designer and explain your motivations. For a modest fee, they can tailor a renovation design (in 3D) to meet your specific circumstances. For example, a growing family may need an extension or putting on a second floor. Or, empty nesters might be looking to update their property.

Seeing your conceptual renovation in 3D allows you to assess, understand and ‘live’ the design.

Important: Make sure the renovation designer is qualified/registered and understands town planning & permits requirements. That way your concept won't require significant changes (and cost) further in the process. That is, it will be 'buildable'.


Step 3. How Much Will Your Renovation Cost?

You need to understand this from the very beginning of the process - before you've spent too much money.

Historically, this is where the standard design then build process comes unstuck because most architects rely upon the market (builders) to determine what the actual cost of construction is going to be.

Instead, you can engage a renovation practice that manages both aspects (design and construction) to obtain more reliable budget estimate at concept stage. This approach allows you to understand the likely costs before you spend tens of thousands of dollars on design.

You might also like to use this online renovation calculator.



Step 4. Detailed Design & Permits

To this point you’ve not yet spent a lot of money, but you do have a concept and cost estimate so you’ll know whether you wish to progress or not to the next stage - detailed design and permits.

Typically, this stage includes council permits, drawings, plans, engineering, soil tests, surveying plus more. It represents the intellectual property of your renovation and creates the specification for the building contract.


Step 5. How To Source The Right Builder

Once you've finalised your detailed designs and permits, you're ready to find your builder.

Given the size of you project, you need to do your due diligence to chose the best builder.

That includes: reviews of past work, registration checks, insurance, references, work quality, the builder's communications ability, their working methods, displinary actions from building authorities, professionalism, reliability plus more.

If this is a little daunting, a good building designer will already have a list of builders that they've assessed, tested and know as good operators. 


Step 6. Competitive Tenders For Builders

Once you have a selection of bulders you trust, it's time to tender out your project.

This is a crucial step in the process to ensure you obtain competitive pricing for your home renovation/extension. 

It also gives you the oppurtunity to compare the strengths and weaknesses of each builder to fit the best fit for your home renovation.


Step 7. Project Delivery

This is where all your dreams are about to come true! 

So, when your project's underway you need to manage work quality, building standards, scheduling, builders access, project reporting, managing variations (and keeping them under control), project milestones, payment schedules, warranty cliams, answering construction queries, maintaining the designers intent, resolving disputes, etc.

Understandably, it's a phase of the whole project that requires the most resources and management. Some people chose to manage this stage themselves or have a professional design and project manager act on their behalf. Please contact us if you'd like your project to be managed.

See video of how we manage this process for our clients

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Author, Richard Armstrong is a Director of Melbourne firm The Makeover Group. With more than a decade of home-renovation experience, Richard has helped thousands of Melbourne clients undertake renovations to modernise their inner metro homes. Contact us