Last Login: 14-12-19
Last Login: 14-12-19
Description: TAILORMADE Magazine has been created to showcase the wide range of work we do at Tailored Construction Group (TCG). It's our way of providing you an informative overview of our projects, together with some of our inspirational ideas to help you achieve what you might be looking for in your own property. Click here to get your free 4 editions of the magazine https://info.tailoredconstructiongroup.com.au/tailormade-magazines ***
Publish Date: 12-12-19
Description: Before you begin your renovation, you should take into consideration the following information this is an excerpt from Build It, the home renovation survival guide written by Jonathan Hayes. this book can be purchased through any book store The design phase Quite often when I first get called out to a person’s home, they go through their wishlist and what they want to do to their property. The first step in achieving this is addressing the design phase. A good builder can help you transform your wishlist into a plan and advise on materials based on the existing home’s structure and suitability for the site, how easy or hard the work will be and whether you will need the help of a structural engineer. To do this you need to book in an obligation-free in-home consultation. This type of consultation will usually take about an hour. At this initial meeting explain to the builder exactly what you’re trying to achieve e.g. Do you want to remove a wall or change the structural components of the home? Before your consultation, research what type of finishes and materials you like and give the builder lots of references to go on. If it’s a room with tiles, research what types of tiles or brands you like. Look online, in homewares magazines and visit a local showroom. What will the extent of the tiling be? A fully tiled bathroom? Tiles halfway up a wall? What type of taps or sink do you want? Will you have shower shelves or a heated towel rack in a bathroom? The list goes on. I recently undertook an initial consultation where the owners wanted new timber floors, a new kitchen and laundry, a structural wall removed and large-format bi-fold doors installed to open up their living space to the backyard. They were still unsure of the levels of finishes but were wondering if a) it was achievable and b) would it work within their budget. I was able to draw up a rough sketch of the house during the visit and show them the proposed new layout. This gave them an idea of how the space would work. I suggested they should relocate their laundry and kitchen so that the room with the new bi-fold doors could become a large living area. After that I was able to give them a rough price for the works. If the estimate was accepted, I could then go away and prepare the PBA so they could see the in-depth costs for preparing their documentation in order to give them a fixed-price quotation. Once you have a solid idea of what you’d like to do, your builder can engage a draftsperson to draw your plans. The builder will then be able to ensure these plans comply. The sorts of items that are still unknown in regards to compliance are structural, geotechnical and hydraulic engineering so they will engage separate experts to advise on those aspects. Making sure these plans are accurate goes back to guiding your builder in terms of what you want. I once quoted a bathroom renovation where the clients said they were budget conscious and wanted standard finishes only. Their plans and specifications were a bit light-on so my quotation became the specification for the works. What I was being asked to quote on was roughly: • Standard 300mm x 300mm ceramic or porcelain tiles laid to floor • 600mm x 300mm ceramic wall tiles laid to all walls 1.8m high in the shower and 1.2m high for the remaining walls • 90mm cove cornices • Paint the non-tiled wall areas • 1 x 3-in-1 IXL exhaust fan installed to ceiling • Installation of vanity, standard back-to-wall toilet, shower rail, 2 x towel rails, a toilet-roll holder and a semi-framed shower screen (colour TBD) All sounds pretty standard, right? However, when it came time for me to chase them up on their specifications and PC items, I discovered they had gone out to a bathroom showroom and started to spend up big. They had decided to use up their contingency fund on luxury finishes. The problem with this is that all these high-end PC items cost a lot more to work with. The list of items that came back was: • 1 x wall-hung toilet with in-wall cistern: this toilet was worth double the standard toilet. There would be extra charges for the plumber to install it and extra charges for the carpenter to configure the framework to suit it. • 1 x wall-hung vanity: there would be extra charges for the plumber to install it and extra charges for the carpenter to install load-bearing studs to hold the vanity to the wall • 1 x shower rail with ceiling mounted rain head and diverter tap mixer set. There would be extra charges for the plumber to fit additional water points. • 1 x heated floor element (extra charge for electrician to run circuit, extra charge to install heat mat before screed bed gets laid) • 1 x recessed shower niche (additional charge for carpenter and tiler) • Tiles to ceiling with 1 x feature wall using natural stone tiles (additional tiling charges, additional charge to seal natural stone tiles) • Natural stone floor tiles (additional charge to lay tiles, additional cost to seal • 2 x recessed downlights above vanity (additional electrical charge) Obviously my new estimate blew out their budget so back to the shop they went to try and get the same look with standard finishes. If they had done this research before contacting a builder, the builder could have factored these costs into the budget and worked with them to achieve the look they wanted. Your needs and wants vs what you can afford Before you start planning your project, you need to consider three major things: budget, time and quality. What is your realistic budget for the project? If you’re restricted by budget then you’re likely going for the cheapest quote. You’re looking for the best value for money and if so, you’ll need to be prepared to compromise on quality and time. In this case, you’re asking the builder to cut costs. The simplest solution is for a builder to remove some items from the job, which you can have done yourself at a later stage. Items that can be removed include external works, such as landscaping, laying concrete paths and driveways, and sometimes painting. Let’s say your brother’s an electrician, you may also be able to organise with the builder to leave out the quoting for the electrical work and have your brother come in. In this instance, you need to make sure that your builder is prepared to work with your outside contractor. Quite often the builder will need to check if that person is licensed and insured, and that they can walk onto the job and do the necessary works. They also need to make sure the subcontractor doesn’t causes damage to other subcontractors’ work or the builder’s employees work so that the builder isn’t required to come back and fix those damages. If so, the builder will likely charge you for that. Sometimes it’s easier to use the builder’s own tradies. Another consideration if you’re undertaking a budget build is what kind of finishes you want. If you’re working with an older house, and the existing house has Federation architraves and skirtings and high ceilings, do you want to retain the original finishes? If you’re building an extension or altering existing rooms and replacing the walls and ceilings, you need to let your builder know to salvage these items. Some people assume this is a cost-saving technique but saving these things may be complicated as often older finishes will actually need to be custom-built to be replicated as they’re not readily available. In this case, another cost-saving technique is to include a modern extension on a period home. This way, you can opt for cheaper skirtings, architraves and floor finishes, and the ceiling height can be lowered. You can also save on items like window frames. The existing house may have timber windows, which are usually more expensive, but you could opt for more cost-effective aluminium. Is time an issue? If you’ve got an event coming up or people coming to stay, you’ll likely be pushing your builder to meet a completion date. In this case, be prepared that the quality of the job may deteriorate somewhat. If you have time constraints on the job, a really common question I get asked is, ‘Can I live through the extension renovation?’ If you are trying to make this happen, it’s important to clearly define the workspace from the homeowner’s space. The homeowner may only need one working bathroom and a kitchen set-up so you can close off the back of the house to build the extension. Once the extension’s locked up, you can move the owner into the new part of the house and renovate the front part of the house. However be aware that even though this may save time and the need to stay elsewhere, quite often living in your renovation adds a lot of cost to the job because there’s no efficiencies between trades. What kind of quality are you willing to accept? If you’re really particular about quality and you want high-end finishes – and budget isn’t an issue – you’re likely someone who wants to make decisions as they go. These people will see spaces as they’re starting to be created. They’ll walk into a room and say, ‘Okay, maybe we’ll put a fireplace in the corner, or maybe we’ll change the window, or maybe we’ll change the skirtings and architraves’. These people often can’t make up their mind until they see the space taking shape. In this case, you’re really drip-feeding information to the builder. So you need to understand that time can’t also be a priority. The job will take as long as it takes but at the end of the day you’ll get the quality that you want.
Publish Date: 12-08-19
Description: this is an article for people looking to get started on their renovation journey and explains how to go about it, the first steps needed to get started Author - Jonathan Hayes (this is an extract from the book "Build It, The home renovation survival guide") if people would like to purchase the book they can go to https://www.amazon.com/Build-home-renovation-survival-guide/dp/1097493369 it is also available at all other online book stores. when starting your renovation project, who should you reach out to first? Engaging a builder The residential construction industry is made up many different parties i.e. suppliers, home owners, subcontractors, government regulatory departments, housing industry bodies etc. The link between all of these parties is the builder. Your builder will deal with all of these parties in order to get your project built in accordance with Australian standards, the National Construction Code and local government requirements. Most people are at the feasibility stage when they initially engage a builder. They want to know how tangible their ideas are e.g. ‘Can I take down this wall?’, ‘Is it structural?’, and of course, ‘How expensive will the project be?’ A good builder will guide you through this design process, work out what can and can’t be done, and give you a budget quotation or an estimate. A Preliminary Building Agreement (PBA) will help guide you through this process. There are costs involved as the builder will need to ask industry professionals to assess the site and comment on the overall design elements you are after. Some items required are a site survey, which consists of a contour plan identifying the land levels and an identification survey, which shows all structures on the land and pinpoints where they are in relation to the property’s boundaries; a rough design brief advising material selections and finishes such as flooring and scope of tiling; and CAD drawings completed by a draftsperson, or an architect if you are also engaging one. The PBA is a good opportunity to see if the builder is suitable to undertake the entire project with you. Take note of how they communicate with you and other professionals. Are they systematic and thorough in their processes? A good builder will have good knowledge of all types of materials and styles on the market along with current trends. They will also have a good pool of knowledge to draw on based on other projects they’ve completed. If your builder doesn’t possess their attributes, this early stage is a good time to find an alternative contractor to work with. Don’t worry, you will still be able to use the drawings and other materials the first builder has provided for you. And once this process is completed, you will have enough documentation to start getting fixed-price quotes. Pros of using a professional builder • The builder knows the processes involved to get the design phase started • The builder will have relationships with industry professionals to ensure the process runs smoothly • You get to see how the builder operates prior to progressing too far with the project • The process will be quicker than going it alone • This process will be cheaper than an architect Cons • None really. However, I may be a bit biased. Engaging an architect An architect will start by forming a design brief. They will discuss with you your expectations, project requirements and budget. During the design phase they will need to assess the site conditions and work out the best layout, orientation and position your project should take. The architect will then develop rough sketches and plans. Once these items are all known the architect can have the concept plans drawn up. After acceptance of the concept drawings (this process takes a lot of back and forth between you and the architect nutting out the finer details of the design), the architect will prepare the technical drawings and specifications, and engage the necessary professionals i.e. structural engineers, acoustic engineers, hydraulic engineers, geotechnical reports etc to design these necessary requirements. These documents are then submitted to obtain local authority building approvals. If you are using your architect to administer the project, the architect will send the documents out to tender. Quite often architects will have a list of builders they like to work with and they will invite them to quote on the works. Once the builder is selected, the architect works with the builder and other project team members to ensure your project is constructed in accordance with the drawings and specifications. It is important to remember that although you engage and pay for the architect to administer the project, the architect must administer fairly to both parties to bring the works to conclusion. The architect cannot be biased towards either you or your builder. Pros of using an architect • Architects have 7–9 years of university study behind them • They are highly skilled and understand all facets of house design and construction requirements • Using an architect ensures your project is seen through from concept to completion, and after the documents and approvals are finalised you can choose to have little input. All the decisions have been made upfront and if any problems or incidentals pop up, the architect will handle these problems themselves. Cons • The cost – architects are expensive. There are a couple of ways that architects charge for their services: 1. Fixed fee: if you are not sure of your construction costs, an architect will charge a flat rate based on the size of your house, or a base rate plus hourly charges for plan changes and incidental costs. Architects will be able to show you examples of their previous works and let you know the costs that they charged. 2. Hourly rate: for a small project your architect will more than likely suggest an hourly fee 3. Percentage fee: it is common for architects to charge a 10–15% fee based on the overall cost of your construction project for the plans and council submission only. They will then have a schedule of rates that they can supply for the administration of the project e.g. fixed site-visit cost. Becoming an owner/builder In the tradition of having a go, many Australians are building their own homes. If you’re a confident project manager in another industry, it’s not uncommon to believe that a home renovation will be a walk in the park. However, I’ve been contacted by lots of owner/builders who are struggling to get traction on their job. Often things aren’t going as they’d hoped and they want a licensed builder to get the project finished. Unfortunately licensed builders know all too well to stay clear of these jobs. Usually subcontractors have partially completed the works or structural items have not been installed correctly. With owner/builders it is all too common that mistakes have been made early in the build e.g. they’ve poured the slab to the wrong dimensions then the next trade doesn’t correct this or the owner/builder doesn’t know how best to remedy it. The longer this drags out, the more problematic it can become. Back in my subcontractor days as a carpenter, I was contacted by an owner/builder who was building his family’s dream home. He was looking for a carpenter to do the fit-out on the project (install prefabricated doors, architraves, skirtings etc) but upon inspection, it was obvious to me that the house was a mess. Windows had been installed incorrectly, rooms were built out of square, the flooring was not level, plastering and gyprocking was not straight or square – the list goes on. I tried to explain to him that I couldn’t do the carpentry works to an acceptable standard and that he really needed to remedy the existing works first. He said not to worry about it and to just cover up the multitude of errors. I of course declined the opportunity to do a dodgy job. From the outset, his strategy was to screw down the pricing on all his tradies then try to cover up the poor workmanship that had taken place. I saw that house up for sale six months later – I feel sorry for the person who bought it. Nowadays, owner/builders need to sit a course to take out an owner/builder’s licence. This course emphasises the importance of only using licensed tradespeople and the importance of supervising the works. Some owner/builders get sucked in to being an owner/builder when an unlicensed builder tells them they will manage the project and get the house built at a cheaper price. This however is fraught with danger. All governing bodies are against this set-up as it usually ends in disaster as the owner is taking on all risks e.g. insurances, warranties and compliances. This means the unlicensed builder can walk away from the project anytime without bearing any of the responsibilities. Another downside of the owner/builder project is that usually it takes a lot longer than working with a professional builder. Owner/builders can be slowed down by trying to find reliable tradespeople and the quoting involved in doing so. Managing all these moving parts is also a big challenge. A builder is the connecting party between trades on a project and how they work together. Coordinating these parties can be overwhelming for an owner/ builder and unfortunately without intimate knowledge of the process, they will often take everything a tradie tells them as verbatim. This is a major downfall. Generally tradies just want to get paid and move on to their next job. ‘The next trade is responsible to tidy up bits and pieces’ is a common phrase you’ll hear. However, this is just not the case. Often the owner will pay the tradie only to have the next tradie tell them, ‘I can’t do my job because the last tradie hasn’t completed their work’. In this case, the owner likely needs the previous tradie to come back. However, since they’ve been paid and moved on that can be a hard and long process. Earlier in my career I was called out to quote on some building works, unaware it was an owner/builder who was approaching me to complete his project. Upon inspection it was evident there were some fundamental issues with the work that needed to be looked at from a compliance point of view. The owner/builder had allowed the concreters to set out the house slab but he never had the formwork checked for accuracy with the plans. Therefore the walls were in the wrong position by 100mm, which meant the building was encroaching the side boundaries – something that the PCA would not pass. The plans would need to be amended and re-submitted for approval. However, getting permission is not guaranteed. I found out the mistake was initially found when the timber frames and trusses arrived onsite. The frame and truss manufacturer worked off the plans provided – however, they didn’t fit the slab. The owner/builder decided to alter the frames to suit the incorrect slab layout rather than troubleshooting the slab issue first. So after the frames were installed, the windows, brickwork and roof tiling all went ahead and tens of thousands of dollars of non-compliant, incorrect work was built. I stayed away from this project and later learnt that the owner/builder did in fact have his plans rejected and instead had to tear down the encroaching portion of the works. Not an easy task. This example illustrated that if you do choose to go it alone, you must adhere to stringent regulations, which every territory and state in Australia has. You can find information about managing your own project at the below websites: Victorian Building Authority: www.vba.vic.gov.au Fair Trading NSW: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au Government of Western Australia Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: commerce.wa.gov.au Queensland Building and Construction Commission: qbcc.qld.gov.au South Australia: sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/licensing Tasmanian Government, Consumer, Building and Occupational Services: https://cbos.tas.gov.au/ NT Government: nt.gov.au/property/building-and-development/build-or-renovate-your-home/ check-if-your-builder-is-registered Pros of going it alone (not many of these) • Get it done cheaper • Work on it to your heart’s content Cons • Project will take longer • You’ll have to closely supervise the tradies • Tradies can take advantage of inexperienced owner/builders and get away with subpar work • Costs blow out when rectification works are needed • Compliance issues, such as obtaining necessary documentation from tradies • Unfinished works • Confrontations with tradespeople over money and scope of works • Disconnect between tradespeople due to inexperience managing workflow.
Publish Date: 06-08-19
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