Apartment Renovations – Why They’re Different

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Apartment Renovations – Why They’re Different

Apartments provide great living in inner metro locations throughout Melbourne in some truly beautiful buildings. However, renovating your apartment can bring its own challenges.

Let’s look at some of the hurdles for apartment renovations and how to best manage them.

1. Creating Space

Given the smaller footprint of apartments, creating space is an important enhancement for most clients. Clever cabinetry, fresh warm whites, natural light, clean (less ornate) lines all contribute to improving the practical and visual space in your apartment.

2. Structural Changes

Making structural changes always requires a council building permit but you should also check what restrictions your body corporate has on these types of changes. If they can’t be done, perhaps consider a clever design to move your non-structural walls only.

3. External Changes

Changing balconies, windows, colours and more will usually need body corporate approval. If you’re keen to update your building, you may need to join the body corporate board to promote your modernisation agenda.

 4. Access and Parking

On a practical level, access and parking for trades requires quite a bit of planning. Liaison with the building superintendent, lift protection, car park ceilings less than 2.2m, on-street parking restrictions, the time it takes to collect tools and bring them inside all require extra effort in comparison to a house renovation site.

Your trades will need to charge for the time involved in managing these issues so we always set aside a ‘parking and access budget’ for the apartment renovations we manage.

 5. Concrete Floors

Most apartments built in the last 40 years will have used concrete slab floors. For renovations that means most water drainage will need to remain in a similar location in the slab. Kitchens and vanities will enable some movement, but showers are more restricted (unless they’re built-up).

A slab floor also impacts the floor treatment. That is, real timber floors would need to be battened to give your apartment a rich timber floor finish throughout.

6. Cleaning Up & Waste

During demolition and throughout your build, there will be quite a bit of waste generated. Typically, this needs to be moved through a public area in the building then to the skip or waste collection point.

That means your trades will need to allocate time to clean up any public areas and for moving the waste to the skip. Hence, they will need to allocate budget for those tasks.

7. Noise for Neighbours

If you’ve lived next to an apartment being renovated, you’ll no how invasive it can be.

Before your renovation begins, agree on access and working times for the builder/trades. Drop a friendly note into the mailboxes of you neighbours advising them that you’re renovating and letting them know of timeframes. Thank them in advance for their patience and co-operation.