Are you one of those people who bought into the idea that the grass is always greener, not on the other side, but where you water it? Thus, instead of relocating you have decided to renovate your current premises to better appeal to your liking? If yes, then are you renovation ready?
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Renovating a building can be a major undertaking, both financially and in terms of time. We therefore know how important it is for the process to run smoothly in order to prevent any added stress. And so, we have compiled a checklist of the things you should observe to avoid the pitfalls leading to renovation nightmares.
Is the contractor a registered builder?
Undertaking renovations, just like building a house from scratch takes some level of financial and time commitment. Both of which, are resources one should never waste. It is therefore critical that you steer clear of quacks in the industry masquerading as builders. The best way to do that is by hiring a contractor that is licenced, registered, and insured. Don’t just rely on the industry regulators to catch up to the quacks, since historically they are slow, especially when dealing with the dodgy and shady contractors. Take the initiative and approach institutions like the Master Builders of Australia (MBA) and Housing Industry of Australia to confirm if a prospective contractor is duly registered and qualified. Also make sure that their papers are valid and up-to-date.
Are the tradespeople registered?
There are those building tasks that might appear menial; such as plumbing, waterproofing, ,window glass fixing and other building fittings and fixtures. However, for your complete satisfaction and a guarantee for value for money, you need to ensure they are undertaken by qualified tradespeople. Again, you will need to check with the relevant regulatory authorities for each sector such as Australian Building Codes Board.
Are there any variations that may be anticipated before works commence?
You may have meticulously planned the renovation projects complete with detailed drawing and accurate quotes. However, when the actual works begin, you find that some changes need to be made to the plan or the budget. Some expected variations include:
- The costs of material – during the planning stage you may have been given a lower quotation on the cost of materials needed, or perhaps completely left out some materials needed.
- Additional labour – although you and the contractor might have agreed on the estimates. You may find that work is going slow and you may miss the deadline set. That could be due to weather changes and other logistical problems. Thus in order to complete the job in time, you might need an extra pair of hands or bring in extra machinery to the site.
- Change of mind – the renovation plan may look good on paper, but once the construction begins and the building starts to take shape, some homeowners feel dissatisfied with what they see, and mid-way decide to change the plan.
It therefore wise to set aside some contingency funds for unforeseen situations. Perhaps between 10% to 20% extra on the budget to cater for any ‘what ifs.’
How long will the works take and does the builder anticipate any potential delays?
After coming up with a plan, perhaps drawn by an architect, you need to have an open communication with your contractor and agree on the timeline. Highlighting the dates and times for the works during the course of the renovation. Again, you need to give allowance for any unforeseen events and changes in the weather.
How will progress payments be broken down?
It is recommended that you give a down payment of about 25%. It is understandable the contractor will expect some percentage of the total pay as down payment. However, you should limit the amount of that deposit so you have have significant bargaining power should the contractor fail to honor their part.
While a renovation may not solve the problems within your location, it can make living within the premises more bearable. It is certainly a good way to drive up your property value should you be thinking of floating it to the market for rental or sale. It is therefore important that you undertake the renovation exercise with due diligence and enlist the services of qualified and licenced contractors.