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.
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The average duration for home renovation takes between 4 to 8 months. There are exceptions to this rule when the projects are very small or big 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. In case of renovating kitchen and bathroom with some minor cosmetic changes then it could be a just matter of few weeks.
James Construction Timeline method: calculating home renovation durations made easy
With more than 20 years of experience in the construction field working in hundreds of construction and renovation projects, here is what I found.
For a full-time builder or project manager, for every $80,000 of work that needs to be performed, a time commitment of 4–6 weeks is required. This does not include any of the upfront pre-commencement work; we will touch on these time frames later. This is called James Construction Timeline Method (named by myself) or simply JCT method.
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; (6.25 * 4) weeks to (6.25 * 6 ) weeks = 25 weeks to 37.5 weeks approximately 9 months).
Note: This is not an exact scientific derivation but looking back over the data from my completed projects, I can say it comes pretty close to 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.
You still have to factor in preliminary work that includes design, planning, getting permits etc.
The preliminary stages for most projects (if done correctly) can and probably should take longer than the construction time on site.
What other time needs to be factored in?
Before you strike your first blow there are 3 critical stages that need to be done before and 1 more stage after it. So, that’s a total of 5 Key stages that all my renovation and builder’s course covers.
These key stages are listed below with some average times for how long each stage may take –
The Research Stage – 2 weeks to 2 months or more.
Plan Stage – 2 months to 6 months or more.
Pre- Construction Stage – 3 months to 6 months.
Construction Stage – Use JCT method to find the time duration for your construction project. ((4 weeks to 6 weeks on average per $80K of building cost).
Project Completion Stage. – 3 months.
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
The Research stage is when you have first decided that you want to renovate your property and 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. Search blogs and social media for ideas and inspiration, talk 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 choose to do you could take anywhere from 2weeks to 2months 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.
The Plan Stage
Plan Stage. This stage is where you get your ideas out of your head and down on paper in some form of a plan or sketch. So how long should this stage take? well depending on how many revisions you go for your initial concept drawing and the scale of your project it could be anywhere from a few months to six months or more.
I know 6 months might seem so distant. But going back and forth between a drafter or architect and your friends and family is a long process. 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.
The Pre-Construction Stage
Pre-Construction Stage consists of getting approvals from the relevant authorities. Here in Australia it is referred to as a Development Application (or DA for short). Along with getting your approval granted there is also time required for mapping out the timeline and schedule for your works, organizing trade contractors and material supply quotations and the selections process.
In my opinion, the Pre-Construction Stage is the largest most time-consuming stage out of all the 5 stages. You really need to put a lot of work in to ensure smooth running of the project. In retaliation to timing, t really does come down to how complex your project is. If you are doing a relatively small 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.
The project completion stage
Lastly after the Construction Stage is completed the final stage of Project Completion Stage comes. This stage takes into account all the requirements for obtaining final sign off by the relevant authorities. You are required to obtain an occupancy certificate upon completion of the construction works. It is not 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 tradies and contractors. Some defects liability periods on average are around 3 months after the contractor has completed their work. So, I recommend allowing another 3 months at the end of the renovation to encompass all of the warranties and liability periods.
There you have it. I know it’s 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. It’s my job to try and lay out as much of that information as possible.
I hope this information comes in handy, please feel free to drop any questions in the comments section below.
Until next time, happy renovating.
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