February 15th, 2016 in

|   2 comments

Featured Renovators – The Stone Family

Today we are catching up with featured renovator Sam Stone. Sam and her husband Matt, daughter Olivia and son Declan are about to tackle a pretty major renovation in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Five Dock.

Sam has been writing about her experience so far over on her blog A Life On Venus, and as I write this they have had their plans finalised and are nervously waiting for their Development Application (DA) to be approved.

Like a lot of people Sam has never tackled a major renovation before, so it’s been great to follow along and see some of the road blocks and obstacles through the eyes of someone with little experience in the field of renovating.

I caught up with Sam to ask a few questions about her experience so far, and this is what she had to say.
 

When did you first get the idea that you wanted to renovate, and what gave you the inspiration to do so?

 
A lot of people in our street are renovating and then when our neighbours started renovating and we began to see the massive transformation in their place we decided it was time to make some changes to our place too.

We had also been watching a lot of home makeover shows on TV and saw that it was possible to renovate your home to achieve the space that you want.

 

What kind of research did you do before you decided to take the plunge on starting the process?

 
We googled around onto Interior Designer websites and Renovation websites to try to find out what could be achieved in the space we have available. We talked to friends who have renovated to get their ideas and experiences.

 

What part of the process have you enjoyed the most so far?

 
The most enjoyable part so far has been working with the architect. He had some really great ideas and some we would never have thought of ourselves.

 

What has been the most stressful?

 
Definitely the DA process, waiting and seeing if we will get approval and if not, what do we do!

 

Given that you are yet to start construction, what if anything are you the most nervous about?

 
I think the budget is the biggest thing we are nervous about at the moment. How much will it all cost, can we afford it and will we possibly totally blow the budget once construction starts.

 

I have enjoyed following Sam’s progress so far and I look forward to hearing about what lies ahead in their exciting renovation journey.

I will be checking in with the guys again from time to time, so watch this space and make sure you stay up to date by also following along. We wish Sam and her family all the best with their renovation and hope they have an enjoyable experience.

 

Have you renovated before? If so how did you find the experience? Leave me a comment below and share your story as we would love to hear about it.

Cheers,

James Mason

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

GET INSTANT ACCESS TODAY

Yes, I Want to Know More!

October 28th, 2015 in

|   1 comment

How long does it take to renovate a house?

The average home renovation takes between 4 to 8 months, there are exceptions to this rule with some projects being minor or major in size, but most home renovations will fall somewhere within this timeline.

If you are fully renovating or remodelling your house chances are it could take up to 6- 8 months or even more if you are adding large spaces with architectural detail, but if you’re just doing a kitchen and bathroom with some minor cosmetic changes then it could be a just matter of weeks or months.

My general rule of thumb that I have discussed before on my Becoming an Owner- Builder post is it should take on average between 4 – 6 weeks of build time for every $80,000 dollars you plan on spending.

I.e. if you were looking to spend $150,000 , build time could be between 7.5 weeks and 11.25 weeks, or if you are spending $500,000 (Calculate as follows 500K -:- 80K = (6.25 *weeks) = 25 weeks or 6.25 * weeks = 37.5 weeks or approx 9 months).

Now this is not an exact science but looking back over my data on completed projects that I’ve constructed over the last 15 odd years I can say it comes pretty close this figure.

To clarify the above I’m only talking about build time on site, I.e… When you strike your first blow with the hammer to vacuuming the dust off the floor for the last time. It’s the preliminary work off site before starting that also needs to be factored in.

The preliminary stage for most projects (if done correctly) can and probably should, take just as long as the construction time on site.
 

What other time needs to be factored in?

 
Before you strike a blow there are 3 critical stages and processes that need to be followed in order to set up you renovation project correctly, and to elaborate there are 5 key stages throughout the entire building process from start to finish. These key stages are listed below with some average times for how long each stage may take –

1. The Research Stage  – 2 weeks to 2 months or more.

2. Plan Stage  – 2 months to 6 months or more.

3. Pre- Construction Stage  – 3 months to 6 months.

4. Construction Stage – As above 4 weeks to 6 weeks on average per $80K of building cost.

5. Project Completion Stage. – 3 months.

Now if you are reading this article you are probably in one of the first three stages, more than likely in the initial research stage.

The Research stage is when you have first decided that you want to renovate your property and you start to do your homework. You will start by working out what you can afford to spend, start looking at the style of renovation you want, searching blogs and social media for ideas and inspiration, talking with other people who have renovated, and generally start to build an idea in your mind of what you want.

Depending on how much homework you chose to do you could be looking at anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months for this stage.
 

TIP – Keep an organized filing system during your Research Stage where you can store all your information and ideas that you come across, this will help to communicate your ideas in the next stage of the process.

 
Plan Stage. This stage is where you get your ideas out of your head and down on paper in some form of a plan of sketch. So how long should this stage take, well depending on how many revisions you end up with from your initial concept drawing and the scale of your project it could be anywhere from a few months to six months or more. I discussed this stage in more detail previously and I suggest checking it out to get a full understanding of the process.

I know for us it took 6 months to get our plans ready for the “Small Space Big Build Project”, and over 12 months in total before we were ready to start on site.

Pre Construction Stage. This stage consists of getting approvals from the relevant authorities, and here in Australia it is referred to as a Development Application (or DA for short). Along with getting your approval granted their is also time required for mapping out the timeline and schedule for your works, organizing trade contractors and material supply quotations, the selections process which I discussed in detail on in a previous post for all of your fittings like – taps, tiles, windows etc and much, much more.

In my opinion the Pre Construction Stage is the largest most time consuming stage out of all the 5 stages, and one you really need to put a lot of work into to insure a smooth running project. In retaliation to timing it really does come down to how complex your project is. If you are doing a small relative simple renovation (i.e….$100K) 3 months may get you out of trouble, but for larger projects 6 months worth of planning may be closer to what it actually takes.

Lastly after the Construction Stage is completed (wont go into to much detail on this stage now other than the times mentioned above) the final stage will be the Project Completion Stage. This stage takes into account all the requirements for obtaining final sign off by the relevant authorities. You will be required to obtain an occupation certificate upon completion of the construction works (will not be required for smaller renovations where a DA approval is not required).

There are also warranties and defects liability periods that you should enforce with your trades and contractors to make sure you archive a high quality of finish. Some defects liability periods on average are around 3 months after the contractor has completed their work, so I would generally allow another 3 months at the end of the renovation to encompass all of the warranties and liability periods.

So there you have it, I know its a lot of info to take in, but we are only just scratching the surface. Each one of these stages will have its own complexities and special requirements based on your own individual project, its my job to try and lay out as much of that information as possible so that you can educate yourself on some of the items that will get thrown your way during the course of your renovation project.

I hope this information comes in handy, please feel free to drop any questions in the comments section below.

Until next time, happy renovating.

James Mason.

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

GET INSTANT ACCESS TODAY

Yes, I Want to Know More!

March 30th, 2015 in

|   0 comments

Introduction to Getting Started

This guide is designed for owner-builders and first time renovators to help educate them about the essential steps required to complete any renovation or building project.

Unsure where to start? Well, you have come to the right place. 

Building is simple, right? You have an idea of what you want to build, you get plans drawn, you get it approved by the relevant authorities, and you outsource the various tasks to a builder so they can carry out the work. Simple, right?

Sorry to have to break it to you, but…

The above is a common misunderstanding, and unless you have an overall picture of THE WHOLE BUILDING PROCESS, including all the intricate details and steps along the way, you could be in for an unpleasant building experience. Even if you are hiring a builder or architect to manage the process, you still need to familiarise yourself with what it is going to take.

Taking on any building project can be an exciting and sometimes daunting task, whether you are a first time owner-builder or a seasoned professional. It’s not easy unless you know what you are doing, or at least have an understanding of the whole building process.

The aim of this site is to offer as much information on the entire topic of owner-building and building in general from start to finish so that you can get an overall picture of what is involved through every stage of the process. Along the way, I will be testing the various owner-builder courses and offering my thoughts on helpful sites, resources, and study guides.

I will be breaking down the various stages into easy-to-follow steps so that you can take this information and adapt or tailor it to your specific needs.Whether you are studying to increase your knowledge on the topic of building, about to start on your owner-builder journey, or are already knee-deep into a project, this information will be the go-to resource to have in your tool kit.

What I will be covering here can be adapted to:
 

  • Any project large or small.
  • Renovation or new construction.
  • Residential or commercial.

 
It does not mater as the same principles apply to each, and may only need to be scaled up or down depending on your individual circumstances. The other thing to note is that various states, territories, and countries will have different regulations, guidelines, and authorities, so where possible I will link to those resources.

I will be basing the information provided on this site on Sydney NSW Australia, as that is where my expertise as a builder and consultant has been obtained.

You can learn more about my experience on the ABOUT ME page.
 

Renovation Planning

 

FIVE STAGES TO BUILDING SUCCESS!

 
Below is an overview of the various topics I will be covering in the order of how I believe they should be tackled. They will be updated and added to as my blog grows. As this is going to be a massive amount of information to take in,whether you are a beginner owner-builder or a pro, I would suggest skimming all of the topic subjects to get an appreciation of what will be involved. After, you can go back and focus on a particular topic in detail before you move onto the next.

The whole building process can be broken up into 5 main stages and they are as follows:
 

  • RESEARCH STAGE
  • PLANNING STAGE
  • PRE-COMMENCEMENT STAGE
  • CONSTRUCTION STAGE
  • PROJECT COMPLETION STAGE

 
My 5-stage guide will walk you through these various stepsbefore digging down into the intricate details you need to take in each stage to get yourself set up for a successful project.

COMPLETE GUIDE COMING SOON, WATCH THIS SPACE!

You will hear me refer to these five stages a lot throughout this site because, believe it or not, they will relate to just about everything you do, from becoming an owner-builder to engaging consultants, trades, and suppliers.

But more on that later.

TOPICS

For now let’s look at some of the topics we will be covering on this site, in order of the importance.
 

  • Becoming an owner-builder…what does it mean?
  • PLAN and get your ideas on paper. Should you draw it yourself, or engage a draftsman/architect/builder/building consultant?
  • Selection Process: What is it and do I need an interior designer?
  • Estimating: What is it and how can I save myself thousands of dollars?
  • Construction Schedule’s: What are they, and why are they so important?
  • Councils and the approvals process.
  • Could the authorities approve my project in 10 days?
  • Compliance development certificates: What are they and do they apply to me?
  • Construction certificate: What is it and what is involved in obtaining one?
  • What fees and cost to expect during the approval process before you begin building.
  • Structural engineers and their role.
  • Surveyors and their role.
  • Selecting trades and subcontractors.
  • Finances: What to expect from the bank, trades, and suppliers.
  • Insurance: What will I need and what should I expect my trades and suppliers to have?
  • Contracts: What should I expect to sign?
  • Deposits and progress payments explained.
  • Liquidated damages explained in detail.
  • Defect liability periods explained.
  • The importance of having a good project file structure and an example of how one should look.
  • Starting construction: Should I hire a builder, project manager, or owner-builder and manage the site myself?
  • Document control: Why this is critical to a successful project.
  • Site establishment and the importance of getting it right before you start.
  • Love thy neighbours, and make sure you keep them informed.
  • Trade days: What are they and how can this one process save me hours of time down the road?
  • Work orders: How to make them simple but effective.
  • Site meetings: How often should I have them and how are they conducted?
  • Critical inspections required by law: Who performs these and how often?
  • Quality control: Who is ultimately responsible?
  • Variations: What are they and how should they be administered?
  • Extensions of time: What causes them to arise and how will it affect my contract completion date?
  • Learn the basics of good housekeeping, which can go along way to keeping trades and suppliers happy, motivated, and safe.
  • Waste management and best practices.
  • Occupational health and safety requirements you will need to know and manage.
  • Defects: How to spot them and have them rectified before it is too late.
  • Dispute resolution: What to do if communication breaks down and problems arise.
  • Handover or completion of services: What should you expect?
  • Warranties: Who is responsibleby law for offering them and how long do they last?
  • Other useful topics and links, including: Online owner-builder courses road-tested, easy-to-follow steps from concept to completion, and the ultimate study guide.

 
Feel free to comment or drop me an email if you have any questions on any of the info provided, or if there are any other topics you would like me to cover in detail.

Good luck and happy building!

Regards,

James

Ok, let’s get started!


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

GET INSTANT ACCESS TODAY

Yes, I Want to Know More!