Renovator's Guide For Staying on Budget

Set your budget and be clear

  • Having a clear budget is the most important starting place for any renovation and extension. Knowing what you are prepared to spend is a great way to start the process of getting plans drawn to suit your finances.
  • Check with your financial planner or mortgage broker to assess your finances before you begin planning.
  • Stick to your set budget and make changes to your project and plans to suit this amount. Don’t get caught up with the excitement during the planning process!
  • Always allow an extra 5-10% in a contingency fund to allow for any unforeseen issues that may arise. Sometimes when building unforeseen problems can come up such as upgrading electrical systems.
  • If you get to the end of your project and didn’t need it, maybe you could use it to buy some new furniture to go in your new space

Clarify what you need and what you want in your project

  • Make a list of the must haves for your project and have a clear understanding on what you are hoping to achieve. Have clear priorities for your project set.
  • Then make a list of your wants and items that you would like if the budget allows, but you are willing to compromise on if the costs are getting too high.

Draft your plans

  • Get clear plans drafted by a professional architect or a building designer/draftsman. Concept plans are a great way to start the process.
  • Make sure it is clear between you and your architect/designer how many changes you can make to the concept before they charge for alterations.
  • Sometimes people see plans as a waste of money due to the costs involved. However, ultimately this will save you money and time because you can get clear and precise quotes from builders. To spend 1-2% of your project costs on plans will bring clarity to your design and building quotes and help ensure the project runs smoothly.
  • Before you finalise your designs, it is a good idea to include a builder at this stage so they can give you realistic costs and check the designs work before you get your approvals.
  • Ensure the architect and the builder are both aware of your budget so that they can plan and design your project with this in mind.

Choose materials that fit within your budget

  • Different materials and finishes can also help to reduce costs. Take for example a brick extension will be more expensive than a clad extension. Aluminium windows will save more money than timber windows.
  • If you are in a bushfire area, you should contact a bushfire consultant to find out your BAL rating before you complete your designs. Bushfire regulations can affect what materials need to be used and can impact on your building costs. Knowing this upfront can ensure that your project is designed and quoted correctly.

Get 3 quotes from builders

  • Get three quotes for your project and choose the builder who gives you the most detailed quote and who you feel most comfortable with. Don’t go with the cheapest quote just because they are cheap, choose the builder you have the most confidence in.
  • Make sure the quotation specifies everything to be included for example how many light points and power points. If the quote doesn’t specify everything, there could be unforeseen extra costs.
  • Depending on the complexity of your project, you may be required to obtain engineering before the builder can accurately quote your project. Our team at SBS can help with the engineering process.

Provision costs in the contract

  • Make sure your builder has allowed reasonable PC costs in your quotation. PC costs are provisional costs such as tiles, taps, kitchen and carpets. Making sure you are satisfied enough has been allowed and then ensuring you stick to these amounts when purchasing fixtures and finishes. • These PC items could be purchased on sale. Don’t choose the cheapest items as they often lack quality and will need to be replaced. You are much better off choosing higher quality and purchasing when on sale.

Provision costs in the contract

  • Make sure your builder has allowed reasonable PC costs in your quotation. PC costs are provisional costs such as tiles, taps, kitchen and carpets. Making sure you are satisfied enough has been allowed and then ensuring you stick to these amounts when purchasing fixtures and finishes. • These PC items could be purchased on sale. Don’t choose the cheapest items as they often lack quality and will need to be replaced. You are much better off choosing higher quality and purchasing when on sale.

Consider the final layout of the project

Consider design aspects, furniture layouts and the changing needs of your family so that you can accurately decide the location of lights, powerpoints and data points. This will ensure that you don’t need to change the plans or add more in the future.