Renovation + Home Improvement
Jan 30, 2014 5:00 pm
Hi guys, very new to this forum.
We are also new to the renovating/extending thing.
In the next few weeks we are meeting with a few companies who do the whole thing from design to construction with a fixed price.
Has anyone worked with any Melbourne groups within the $150-$180K range? And can you give me an idea of what you got for your money?
I'm not sure how to tackle the whole thing - do we say up front the most we can spend? Are we able to negotiate with these kinds of builders what kind of facade/cladding/building materials we like for instance?
We have a small brick veneer house and we will be extending and then renovating the existing part of the house (updating window frames/floors/doors/kitchen and bathroom.
Thanks heaps in advance
Re: Design/Construct/Builders - Melbourne Recommendations2
Jan 30, 2014 6:10 pm
One of the main things for you to do when selecting a builder is to investigate them thoroughly ie do a big Google search and take any positive reviews of the company with a grain of salt. Also check to see if they have had any VCAT hearings and know all their trading and business names to ensure that they haven't changed their name to prevent being associated with VCAT hearings. They should be registered as a builder (you can check out on the building commission website). Also check out Consumer Affairs for their information on domestic building and contracts so you understand a lot of the building terms and processes. A good builder should be able to provide you with a standard contract - beware of companies that provide a contract written in their favour. Make sure you speak to clients who have used the builder before - do not trust testimonials on their website or letters of recommendation. Visit their clients and discuss how they felt the build went. When you decide on a builder post another thread here in case people have had bad experiences with the builder. There are some Melbourne builders people should stay clear of.
You can choose building materials but it all comes at a cost. Many builders like to cut corners and save money so ensure you know what all the building material used will be ie cornicing, skirting, doors etc. A contract should specify exactly what the builder is supplying and building and what your responsibilities as a client are. Do not sign a contract without taking the time to fully read and understand it and do not sign on the day you are given it. Make sure you understand how much variations - changes to the build - will cost. It is better to make changes to the design before commencement of the reno as variations are very expensive. Make sure you have an idea of the length of time the build will take and what compensation the builder will give you if they go over the completion date. Know exactly what you want done and visit places like display homes to get an idea of spacing and fittings. Measure out what you want and plan where you are going to put things.
If you are only able to spend so much on the reno, you need to ensure at least a 25% margin on the fixed cost price of the reno - these rarely come in on price. Variations cost a lot and can amount to $10,000- $40,000 if you aren't careful - i think a good builder would steer you away from excessive variations. Do not enter into any financial agreements with the builder and for example a bank as this can put you at a big disadvantage. I would avoid any builder that offers this sort of deal.
One thing to remember is that the builder and their reps are not your friends. They might start out appearing to be that way but they will not be your friend. Domestic building clients can be treated very poorly by builders and dictate to the client about the reno rather than the client having control, and charge you more for it. Do not sign a contract unless it is fair and reasonable, and provides you rights as client. It is important to understand what the contract covers and don't forget to check the plans (specifications) against the contract as clients can miss out if there are discrepancies between plans and contracts.
Good luck with it all.
Re: Design/Construct/Builders - Melbourne Recommendations3
Jan 31, 2014 2:01 pm
Wow...thanks for such a detailed and informative reply kats_meow. I really appreciate the time you've taken. I have my first appointment with one next week. We will do all the homework before hand. cheers!
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