This is a question nearly every home owner explores at some stage. So how would you decide which way to go? Naturally the first step is to do your homework. Talk to real experts and be very critical of what you read and hear in the media. So who are the experts and why them?
Firstly owners should acquaint themselves with the true value of their home and how this value relates to other homes in the area and other areas they might be interested in The only person who can help here is the local real estate agent, preferably the busiest one, he is the expert. With a good understanding of the market you will start to build a picture of the value equation that will drive your decision to extend, renovate, build a new home or move.
Each one of the above decisions requires a builder unless you decide to purchase the perfect existing new home requiring absolutely no work. Therefore your next expert in line is a design builder.
Now it is important to note : ” Trades men, even though they build things, are not Builders”. A Builders job is to choose and manage all the trades and in Australia builders go through a rigorous registration process. All ‘real builders’ have a registration id and number issued by the Building Control Commission.
They are Registered Building Practitioners.
The only person qualified to give a true understanding of costs and pitfalls of a building project is a design builder.
So why are we talking about building costs? We haven’t even decided on a plan yet, let alone if we know, are we extending, renovating, building new or moving?
This is because the expert builder can give the Owner some price points on their ideas. Once owners are aware of the costs they can set a budget. Owners should also seek a number of opinions from other builders until confident they have a good understanding of the costs involved. Set a budget and stick to it!
“Don’t put the cart before the horse”. So often builders receive plans conceived by owners instructing drafts people or architects how to draw without any consideration for cost or good design.
Experienced builders recognise such designs immediately as dreams that won’t come true.
How? because they disregard almost every rule of good design. Ie. too big, too expensive, structurally complicated, bad orientation, inefficient use of materials, etc.
After consulting with the owners of such designs the builder more often finds they only wish to pay 1/2 of what their more expensive drawings require. These people did not do their homework, did not set a budget and invested a lot of time and effort into plans that will never be built and naturally they end up disappointed.
A good design builder can work out a budget figure for your ideas before beginning the design process. If your budget does not match your ideas you can decide before you go to design stage. Do you need to up your budget, reduce your requirements or wait for another day. Most people are surprised by how expensive building is, its rare that people say “that’s what we were expecting” unless of course they have already been talking to other builders.
Tell your prospective builders your budget, you will soon find out which one is offering best value for your investment. Avoid confusion; tell them all the same story, then you are comparing like with like.
Some professional builders like Capital can give you prices for your shopping list of requirements and a quick sketch to demonstrate how things might look on their first visit.
Owners who follow this path will feel confident of knowing the direction and scope of their proposed building works and a budget, without having spent a cent.
So what’s next?
The sketch design and fixed price.
In most cases a good designer builder should be able to give an owner a simple drawing of the scope of their proposed works and a price during the first home visit. Sketches are the most valuable tool for clarifying the client’s ideas. Sketches, being only outlines, are easy to alter until both the designer and the owner have the same understanding of the desired concept.
Even though a sketch design is not a working drawing, it can still be priced by the competent design builder. Working drawings should only commence once the concept (sketch plan) and quotation of scope of works have been agreed on. When the owner has a clear picture (sketch) and a fixed price quotation, then it’s time to choose your builder, if you haven’t already.
How do you choose a reputable builder? Ask them to show you their builders’ registration card. Ring the Building Control Commission and make sure he/she is registered and reputable.
Only a registered building practitioner with a DBU number can apply for Home Owners Warranty Insurance and Building Permits to build domestic houses or extensions. All building works over 5000 dollars require a building permit. All building works over 14000 dollars require Home Owners Warranty Insurance. Registered Builders also carry Contract Works and Public Liability insurances and are usually Master Builders.
Committed Builders like Capital Building also recycle, and are trained and interested in sustainable construction, attentive and respond promptly to clients requirements, explain things clearly and are patient and understanding, are prepared to discusses all the potential problems and issues that could arise beforehand.
If you’re looking to extend, renovate or build new give Capital Building a call.