Monthly Archives: April 2015

Renovations !!

Renovating and or extending can be a  great way to add  value to a property. Whether the  property needs updating , modernizing  or you have  purchased the ideal “Renovator’s Delight” !!

As with any major  project  to do with the biggest investment and most valuable asset you own there are a few tips that can save you thousands of  $$$$ If  you follow a few basic  fundamental design principals.

Know Where You are Starting

When looking at  potential  renovation project the  first thing the designer’s need to know is exactly what we have to work with. If  the “as-constructed” plans are available this is a great starting point. If the  existing plans are not available then we need to measure the existing  buildings.Image result for Surveyor

I cannot stress how important it is to locate the existing  buildings in relation to the boundaries  on a suburban  block, BEFORE you attempt any renovations. This can only be done accurately by a licensed surveyor who will pinpoint or “pick up” where the  existing  buildings sit. We can then load that information into our CAD program for detailed analysts.

Some of or past clients have chosen to “save money” by not having this done and the end result has been a very costly oversight as trusses didn’t fit and wall frames didn’t fit. Your draftsman can only reproduce the information given to him. The more accurate this information, the more accurate the final design. Which means less mistakes on site.


Expectations, Budgets and Costing

These three never seem to match!!

It’s important as a designer to  manage the expectations  of our clients.  renovating is an  expensive exercise involving your most valuable asset.

Q. So how much does it cost to renovate.??

A. There is  no way of accurately estimating the cost of a renovation until designs are worked out, plans are drawn and engineering complete.  A builder is then able to do a materials “take off” and work out  cost of materials and labour. ….so a certain amount of  certainty is require before embarking on this.

As a benchmark  typically and  very roughly we always work on $1750 – $2000 per square meter. So if you want to add a bedroom then  36m2 will require an investment of around $40 – $60 K .

Hidden Surprises

Most renovations reveal some unexpected surprises. Something has moved, cracked or been eaten by termites. So be prepared for these.  A detailed inspection by your designer is vital. He may see things that you may not have.

Often what seems simple may not be as simple as first thought.

Case Study – Turn a Garage into an extra room

One of the more common extensions is to  turn a Double Garage into an extra bedroom or Rumpus Room. …….all seems straight forward??  …..wrong !!

A garage is constructed as a Class 10 Building. (Non Habitable) And is being converted to a Class 1 (Habitable) building or part thereof. This usually means that the slab has not been made  as waterproof as the rest of the house and is usually set down from the main slab.

Where do cars then park? Councils frown upon removing car parking from a residential home and as there are front setbacks that must be complied with (usually 6m) it is not  possible to erect a carport or garage in front of the home..There are exceptions to this rule and  you may apply to the local Council for a relaxation but this cannot be guaranteed. And this should be investigated prior to any final design works.

If your thinking of renovating or extending please call us today for a no obligation and no charge site assessment. We can save you a lot of  money in a very short time!! 










Welcome Back

It’s been a while in the making. Welcome to our new Website !! Feels like a new day!!


With our new look Blog we aim to provide regular informative reviews, comment, progress photos of new builds and also some previews of new  designs we are working on………but it’s not all about us.

Feel free to comment and ask questions. Our team of designers, CAD technicians and Architects will surely have the answers to all your design and construction questions.

2015 has proved to be a very busy year so far with interest rates  tipped to fall to record lows building a new home is as affordable as it can get.

Speaking of affordability…….What is most important when it comes to  the value of a new home?

We often see  large project builders advertising a  255m2 new home for $200, 175.65 …(roughly). A quick calculation tells us that this home costs  $785.00 per sq/m to build. Is this a safe way to determine whether your builder is giving you good value or not? Should you compare  the value of a project based on how  much it costs per square meter..We say NOT!! This price is usually whats called a  “base price” and  now allowance has been made for floor coverings, electrical,or driveways and landscaping.

Rule of thumb..You get what you pay for.

The  final cost of a  home depends on so many factors. These can include:

  • Site conditions
  • Choice of materials
  • Complexity of the design
  • Number of levels
  • Number of bathrooms and wet areas

FACT – A small home will ALWAYS be more expensive per sq/m compared to a large home. Simply because it still has  2 bathrooms, a kitchen, plumbing, etc.

FACT – Good design by a skilled professional will ALWAYS be more cost effective and provide  the best value and resale.

Some of the  big  cost  killers are: Retaining Walls, Scaffolding, Excavation, and our favourite Wasted Space.

Call us today for an obligation free assessment of your  block of land or we can even assist with selecting an appropriate site.