Plan a cost effective renovation

Whether it’s a weekend retiling a courtyard, or a full-scale home renovation, I think most people are attracted to the idea of a building project that is as cost effective as possible – which could mean managing it yourself.  And for the majority of people that I’ve spoken to over the years who have made changes to a property, building projects usually end up costing a fair amount more than what was originally budgeted for. 

It would seem that Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects, sees this a lot and says that even with a thrifty approach, a lack of appropriate management can see the gains of a project quickly lost once the project begins. 

According to Archicentre, the following elements are key to the success of any project:
• Knowing exactly what the job requires
• Having a realistic projection for the completion
• Finding trustworthy workers to see the project through

So why do cost-blowouts often occur during building projects? Ian Agnew, the ACT & NSW State Manager of Archicentre says that they are quite common due to the complexity of managing the renovation or construction process which requires an understanding of plans, materials, subcontractors, insurance and on-site safety. 

He says that one of the biggest mistakes owner builders make is failing to understand the cost of fittings and finishings (which often make up 50 per cent of the total cost of a project) and only budgeting and getting quotes for the structural aspects of the job.  This may leave people financially exposed and unprepared as more funds could be needed to complete the project as it progresses. 

Ian also says that projects that are not planned properly can lead to confusion between the owner builder and the various subcontractors over issues such as pricing and material specification.  If this occurs, you run the risk of the project stalling and sometimes even face legal complications. 

But there is hope for those who are embarking on building projects and wish to keep costs under control.  Archicentre has seen that the owner builder who works through their design carefully, has it accurately costed and uses independent quality inspections and reports at milestones (such as foundation, framing, lock up and handover) usually has a satisfactory outcome.

And the more money you save by planning efficiently for your building/renovation project, the more you will be able to put towards finer touches, such as fittings, fixtures and appliances, which can often add extra value to your home when it comes time to sell. 

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 19/04/2011 at 11:38 AM | Categories:

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