With the price of crude oil forecasted to rise in the coming years, you can expect power rates to follow suit. Paying more for your electricity bill can wreak havoc on your tight household budget. Luckily, there are ways to help cushion the impact of higher living costs. You can implement measures to lessen power consumption, thereby saving money. One of these is to save energy on your home lighting.
Steps to more cost-effective home lighting
Do you know that about a quarter of your electricity bill comes from lighting? Minimising consumption doesn’t suggest you have to live in the dark. Lights do account for a significant portion of your power use, but thanks to technological advances and some practical steps that you can apply right away, it is possible to consume less power. Besides, conserving energy means you’re also doing your part in preserving the environment.
Here are some tips on greener and more economical living without compromising the illumination of your home;
- Always switch off the lights in rooms that are not being used or occupied. You may need some time to develop this habit if this isn’t your usual practice. If you think you won’t ever remember switching off the lights, consider installing timers or motion-sensor switches instead. These special-purpose devices will do the job automatically for you.
- Make use of low-wattage bulbs in areas that need to be illuminated for longer times, such as the porch or a dark hallway that need to be lit overnight. If you replace a 75-watt bulb with one that is rated at only 15 watts, energy usage is cut by as much as 80%.
- Mount task lights in spots where you do most of your productive work. These can be near the kitchen counter, crafts table, reading chair, bedroom dresser, or bathroom vanity. This way, you don’t have to turn on the high-output ceiling light when performing specific tasks.
- Your lighting needs vary throughout the day, depending on how bright or dark it is outside. Setting up dimmer controls in your home lighting system will allow you to adjust interior lighting in accordance with natural light fluctuations.
- If possible, have a one-to-one pairing between switches and bulbs, so you don’t turn on multiple lights with a single switch.
- Make sure that the fittings you pick allow maximum illumination. Some lighting accessories, especially those that feature coloured fabric or glass, can diminish light by as much as 50%.
- Sometimes, it’s just a matter of being diligent with household maintenance. Regularly cleaning glass windows and dusting off bulbs and their fixtures will allow more light rays to shine through.
- Shift to lighting that’s energy-efficient. Light fixtures that utilise energy efficiently have the same brightness as regular bulbs but have lower wattage; thus, they consume less power when switched on. So, the next time a light bulb in your house gets busted, consider replacing it with a low-energy alternative.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light emitting diodes (LED) cost more than the conventional ones. However, CFLs and LEDs are worth investing in since they last much longer and utilise a mere 10% to 20% of the energy consumed by standard incandescent lights. Ultimately, you will recoup what you paid for via less frequent light replacements and savings on your electricity bill.
You can learn more about the advantages of energy-efficient lights here.
Exploit natural light so you can minimize the use of artificial lights during the daytime. Natural light is supplied free of charge, and you can use as much as you want. Here are some creative ways to make the most out of the natural light that enters your home:
- Incorporate more reflective surfaces in your décor like mirrors, metal fittings, glossy floor tiles, and chandeliers.
- Don’t position large furniture pieces beside windows. They will block or reflect the light back outside.
- Window treatments make a big difference. Instead of thick, dark-coloured curtains that block out the sun, drape your windows with fabrics in lighter hues. The curtains will allow light to enter while still maintaining enough privacy.
- Skylights are excellent options of brightening up a gloomy and dark space in your home. If the area is not directly under the rooftop, a solar tube is a suitable alternative. Solar tubes employ pipes with reflective surfaces to bring external light inside the house.
You don’t have to be nervous every time the power company delivers your monthly bill. With the above steps in place, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you still have some extra cash left in your pocket after your household expenses have all been paid for.
Talk to us about upgrading your existing lights to LED downlights when building your addition.
You’re in the market for a renovation or addition on your home, but where can you find a builder that is reliable, will minimise the disruption to your family and deliver maximum quality on your investment that will stand the test of time?
You may have been referred to builders by people you trust, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that the builder will be trustworthy. So who do you contact and what should you look out for when contemplating taking the first steps on your building journey? We’ve put together a list of things you should consider when making your decision to select a builder;
1. Do they specialise in your type of build?
You might assume this is obvious, however, it’s vital to ensure that the builder you choose is well-established and reputable. Search for a builder who has experience in the type and style of build you are looking for and see if they are able to provide references for a number of jobs they have completed.
Always do your research – look at their website, social media pages and online presence. Are their projects active and up to date? Can you see samples of their work? How long have they been operating for?
2. Do they belong to a builder’s association?
Builders that have a professional membership in the industry eg. Housing Industry Association (HIA) and Master Builders Association (MBA) participate in continuing education and stay up to date with best practices, new technology and innovations within the field. This ultimately means that these builders will use the newest and correct practices when constructing your home.
3. Are they licenced and insured?
A good indicator of a high-quality builder is one that’s fully licenced and
insured – and that they can provide you with those details upon request.
It’s vital for you and your builder to be protected and insured in the event
that something goes wrong.
Examples of insurance that may be required by the builder are;
- Public Liability Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Contract of Works Insurance and;
- Home Warranty Insurance (for all builds over $20K)
You can do a licence check of your builder through the Fair-Trading website, however, we also recommend that you request a copy of their insurances before engaging with them to ensure your family and your investment are protected.
4. Are they able to provide client testimonials or reviews?
The sign of a reputable and successful builder is one that is able to provide
a list of client references from the past, most recent and from those currently going
through the building process with them. This is a good indication that they have been
delivering high-quality service to their clients consistently throughout their years in business.
5. Is there clear communication from the beginning?
Good builders are responsive right from the beginning of your interaction with them. This shows that they invest in their team to ensure that customers and their experience is at the forefront of their business. A builder and their team should be available to communicate with you throughout the project, even after practical completion.
6. The cheapest quote may not result in a quality build
Be wary of going with the cheapest estimate a builder may put in front of you. When searching for a builder ensure you are making as direct a comparison as possible. It is always important to compare apples for apples; a higher quoted price may result in less unforeseen costs and expenses. By choosing a significantly cheaper quote be aware that you can run the risk of finding out halfway through your build that you have been underquoted and the builder is unable to fulfil your project, leaving you stranded and stressed, putting a strain on the family and your investment.
7. Do they offer fixed priced contracts?
Beware of quotations and contracts with a long list of ‘estimates’ and ‘TBA’s’. To avoid a blow-out in costs which could end up exceeding your budget or not being to afford to complete your build, ask for a fixed price contract.
There will be items that a builder cannot foresee such as soil removal, asbestos removal and termite damage, however, the builder should be upfront and discuss these items with you during the planning process. This allows you to properly plan things and have a contingency plan in place.
8. How does the builder operate?
Does the builder utilise sub-contractors to complete your build or do they employ their own team? A benefit of choosing a builder that employs their own tradespeople to complete your build is that they invest in the proper training and management of their team. This also means that they have greater control of the quality and the speed of the build as they will be coordinating the trades across their builds. By limiting the number of sub-contractors being used, your builder can ensure that you know who is working at your home, giving you peace of mind that your family is safe and secure and that disruption is kept to a minimal.
At 32 Degrees Building, we specialise in additions, extensions and renovations. We believe in putting the clients first and have a support team there for you during your build to address any of your concerns throughout the process. We are licenced, fully insured and are more than happy to provide you with references from our clients, past, recent and in progress if you would like to discuss their building experience.
With financial institutions tightening their lending criteria, we have found that some of our clients are finding that although they would like the extra space in their home, their lending capacity has decreased.
A common question we continuously get asked is “What are the most cost-effective ways to achieve the additional space we require, while managing to stay within our budget?” Below are 7 of the most cost effective ways you can save on your build that we tend to suggest first ahead of looking to reduce the size of the structural aspect of the build.
- 1. Roofing – If you are looking to build a second storey addition/extension and your roof is currently tiled, why not consider reusing and recycling the existing roof tiles for your addition instead of installing all new roof tiles. Here you can reduce the cost of the supply of the roofing materials.
- 2. Cladding – Opt for the external cladding of your home to be a Weatherboard cladding. This choice will save you on material and labour costs compared to brickwork or a Hebel and Render which are costlier options. Check out the Weathertex cladding gallery
- 3. Ensuite – Is an ensuite a must have for the guest bedroom? How often do you have guests staying that will utilise this room? Could they just use the main bathroom? By eliminating this room, you can save significant costs on tiling, electrical, plumbing and fit out costs and the dreaded cleaning of an extra bathroom!
- 4. Kitchen – If you are considering an extension and you want to renovate your kitchen, you may need to consider what is the most important decision to make on your investment right now? Is it going to add value by increasing the footprint of the home and creating more living space? Can the kitchen wait until a later date when you are in a better financial position? Alternatively, if you are going to include the kitchen do you need the 40mm thick stone benchtop when you can save by choosing a 20mm? Do you need $1,000 tapware or are there more cost-effective alternatives?
- 5. Bathroom – The cost of tiles can have a significant impact on your build cost. There are a wide range of tiles at varying costs. Do you really need the $50/m2 white tile or will the $15/m2 tile work for you?
- 6. Internal doors – Solid doors or hollowcore doors? and do you really need to update all of them? Hollowcore doors are the cost-effective option here, you can always upgrade later if you want solid doors
- 7. Internal painting – Are you able to pick up a brush and complete this yourself? Saving on labour costs will reduce your overall build cost. Maybe have a bbq and invite the family over and ask friends to paint!
With making the decision to add to or extend on your home it is about balancing your needs and wants while staying within the budget you have available. Every family has a different approach to their wants and needs, and it is important to understand that if it is a challenge to stay within budget while getting what you want you may need to look at the alternative solutions offered to you and come to a compromise. We find that our clients that choose to increase the value of their home within a manageable budget are far happier and comfortable with the results and often build and work on other internal upgrades later.
Want advice and guidance on your future addition and the costs involved? Talk to us, the addition specialists – contact us today
Did you get the chance to see our feature on television earlier this year? We aired in a segment on Channel 9’s Open Homes Australia.
Watch Alistair (Director and Builder) alongside Denny (Project Manager) talk you through the transformation of our double storey addition in Cordeaux Heights that we have completed.
This standard brick veneer home has transformed into a now architecturally designed home and features the use of Colorbond cladding mixed with Rubiq Panels to create a modern and contemporary look on the exterior. Internally, we used Hebel cladding on some of the walls to increase the thermal property rating of this home working towards a greatly improved energy efficient home.
We are excited to announce that we are MWLP – Linking Youth’s APRIL ‘Business of the month’!
We are proud to support local youth in our area and as part of winning our director Alistair got to catch up with MWLP and we have our very own podcast on iTunes devoted to who we are and what we’re about. You can listen to Alistair have a chat to MWLP about work placement students here:
A little bit about us and our involvement with MWLP.….we have been involved with MWLP for the last 5 years acting as a host employer to students looking to complete work placement in the Construction industry. Each week we have 2-3 students come and join our team across our sites and these are students who show an interest in the construction industry and want to test out carpentry and construction before committing to a career in the field. By taking on these students it gives them a chance to decide if this is something they wish to pursue but it also gives us a chance to see how they go onsite, work placement for us has resulted in carpentry apprentices being offered.
Are you a work placement student looking to secure an apprenticeship? These are the key traits that we would watch out for:
- Respectfulness & politeness
- Presentation – your appearance, even onsite, is important
- Time management & reliability
- Listening to and following instructions
- Motivation, enthusiasm and ease of communication with team members
In today’s world, the time of waiting is over. The lightning speed at which mobile technology has developed and is continuing to drive forward has put us well into the digital age. It has sped up the process of being able to find an answer to a question as we now have access to a wealth of information at the touch of our fingertips. We can purchase items online and from overseas, book holidays and catch up with loved ones who are far away…the list goes on and the possibilities in the ways of communication are endless!
So, with this fast-moving technological society that we now live in, why are we still waiting for quotes? Why is it ok to wait 2, 3, 4+ weeks to obtain a quote from a builder? A quote doesn’t need to be posted anymore, it can be sent via email and accessed on your device. So why the long wait?
We receive many enquiries through varying communication channels each week with each client at a different stage of their thought process. Below, we have outlined two of the main types of enquiries that we commonly see coming through and explain how we are responsive in providing them with the information they seek;
The Impulsers – these are the typical enquiries that we see from people (usually over the weekend). They have suddenly had the lightbulb moment that they want to extend or renovate their home to gain the additional space they need for the family and or lifestyle. They love their street, love their location, why move when you can extend? Right? We get it, these enquiries want a quick response, they’re not interested in a detailed building quote yet, they just want to understand how to go about it and how much it is likely to cost, as let’s face it, expectation vs reality in terms of cost is not always on point so this needs to be cleared up right away.
This is why for every initial enquiry made, we will respond within 24 business hours and let you know if;
a) we believe what you are asking for is achievable at your property and;
b) a discussion of available packages;
c) an explanation of the process and what is involved.
Boom. Answer given, simple as that. AND In just 24 business hours. Easy. Simples. Like it? Love it.
Now you can move forward and talk to your lender and partner about the financial aspect to see if you can progress forward with your ideas ahead of booking your appointment with the builder for your detailed quotation.
We usually find at this stage that we sometimes hear back from you straight away to book in an appointment, or we may not hear from you for another 3, 6, 12 months while you consider your finances. Regardless, we will remain in contact with you and on hand to answer any further questions. It’s what we do.
The Majority – these are the enquiries that come through and have already sought a preapproval to see how much they can borrow, or know how much of their money they can allocate to a build. Again, we treat these enquiries the same as the impulsers they will receive an explanation of our process and we find that from here they are already keen to get moving and make an appointment for a builders tender. Some may even have plans prepared. Through our extensive experience building additions and extensions, we have found that when we are presented with plans provided by an external provider, these often do not take into consideration the real cost of building. To address this challenge we make sure that we look after the entire process from start to finish. We will work with you to create plans that will align with your quote.
We sense your urgency here, we get it, you are excited and we love that! The possibility of making your dream a reality is the next chapter towards creating that future home with your family! We get moving and book your appointment for the builder to come and meet you. The appointment with the builder is imperative. Here, we will commit our time to understand you, your family’s needs, dedicating ourselves wholly to ensuring you understand the possibilities of what you can achieve with your home and discussing those ever-important solutions with you, while managing your budget expectations.
So how long after your appointment will it be until you receive our detailed quote I hear you ask? We will deliver your detailed build cost estimate via email within 3-5 days of an appointment! Yes, just like that! No waiting for 2, 3 or 4+ weeks. Just 3-5 days!
Why so quick? Because you have invested in us for your consultation, we have invested and committed our time to you to ensure that you are provided with the answers you need as quickly as possible so that we can help get you going.
It’s all about moving forward, helping you get to that next step quicker, helping you understand what is required, helping you and your family get what you want.
So, when you think about it, we can deliver you a quote within 3-5 days. We can do all of this in just a week. Within 4 weeks we could already have your plans lodged to Council! So why are you still waiting?
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts and feedback on any of our content as it helps us improve and deliver a better service to you, our future clients. Get social with us across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Direct message us, make an enquiry, we’re available and we’re responsive.
More often than not, when you moved into your home, you didn’t prepare for any future life changes to happen that require you to extend your house either outward or upward. But here you are and what do you do? There are advantages to either option.
If your property still has room for a ground floor extension, then you can build out and keep everything on a single level, however, if your property is smaller and you would like to keep the backyard space then you should consider building a second storey addition. Doing so also means the least disruption to the existing house below and you can practically live at home throughout the extension project.
Before you decide to build a second floor addition or ground floor extension, there are some things to consider.
This must be taken into consideration when creating house plans for a new addition to your home and should be well-integrated into existing sections of your house. A building sustainability assessment is required to ensure an extension meets the minimum sustainability benchmarks.
Ensuring thermal performance can be a simple as fine-tuning the size and orientation of your window or a bit complex as adding skylights or light tubes.
All new constructions are required to be insulated to climate appropriate levels. This could mean existing insulation in the original building may have to be retrofitted to prevent leaks of any kind.
Heating and Cooling
It is possible that your existing HVAC system will become insufficient once the new addition is completed. Increased living space often means increased heating and cooling requirements. So you should take this into account when developing house plans and when estimating a budget. Don’t forget the amount of work and costs needed for the ductwork if you go for a ducted AC.
The roof on your second floor addition should blend well with the rest of the house. Unless, of course, if you prefer the extension to stand out. But if you want a unified look, it is important that the roofing matches the existing one, even in the choice of Colorbond tin or tiles.
Continuing with a unified look so that your addition or extension blends in you also need to consider your cladding options. Brickwork, weatherboard, hebel or render. To match existing, to change the entire façade or to use a mix of different materials are all possible to make your addition look like it has always been a part of the home.
Should your second floor addition use the same type of flooring as the original building? The choice is really up to you. Different types would delineate the extension from the not, while similar types will ensure continuity and create the illusion of a bigger space.
Depending on the size of the second-floor extension, 1 to 3 more circuits may have to be added to the electric panel. Not to mention, electrical lines that have to be added and integrated with the rest of the house.
Protecting a home addition from termites should be a priority right from the start. This means choosing termite-resistant materials, adding termite barriers, treating timber products if you use them, or creating house plans that allow easy inspection access.
With these taken into account, it’s time to decide on what type of extension you want to build and the kind of materials to use.
At this stage, it is highly recommended that you consult with professional builders and designers. Tap into their knowledge of the best material to use or the most suitable design for the climate in your location. They, more than anyone, else have intimate knowledge in everything and anything building-related.
To book a consultation with the professionals, contact us.
Article written by: MyChronicles.net
At 32 Degrees Building, we specialise in ground floor extensions, first floor additions, and custom built homes. Often, whenever someone is planning to make more room in their home, a common question that we get asked is why is it better to build upwards with a second storey instead of outwards with a ground floor extension? What makes a second storey addition a great idea? So we decided to list just some of the benefits of adding second storey to your home:
Gain more living space without moving out
This is perhaps the greatest advantage of building a second storey (as well as the best reason to do so), especially if you live in a location that you really love, somewhere that truly suits your lifestyle. By renovating your home and adding a second storey, you can acquire more living space without having to give up the perks and convenience of living in an area that has all the amenities, services, businesses, and opportunities that you need, want and enjoy.
With greater room, you and your growing family can live more comfortably. On top of that, additional space means that you can stay in the family home for the years to come, as there is enough space available for a multi-generational household.
Keep your outdoor space
Why sacrifice your yard to extend the size of your home, when you can build on top of the ground floor and retain your outdoor space? Adding a second storey is the smart way to go, especially if you need additional space in a house that is built on a small block. This allows you to have the space outdoors as an alfresco living area with a pool, a lovely garden, or an amazing playground for your children and pets.
Get beautiful views
If you live in a picturesque location, a second storey is a great way to take advantage of the amazing views that your area has to offer. For example, if you live near the ocean, you can simply open and look out of a window in your second storey to take in the breathtaking waters without having to leave your house. Or, why not build a balcony where you can relax and have a drink while looking at the pretty sights before you?
Make necessary changes and repairs to the ground floor
On the practical side, if your home needs both repairs and additional space, a second storey lets you hit two birds with one stone. Building a second floor means that your ground floor has to meet the requirements that can provide structural support to the second storey. While the changes are being made, you can grab this opportunity to make some suitable home design decisions and improve your home’s overall interior look and style. You can also use this chance to replace faulty or damaged parts of the house, such as windows and doors and consider upgrading or adding ducted air conditioning.
Add value to your home
Last, but not the least, building a quality second storey can raise the market value of your home, should the need to sell arise. This is great especially if your house is located where there is a high demand for residential properties with close proximity and easy access to good education, career opportunities, medical centres, transportation, and other necessary amenities and services.
Do you want to increase your living space with a second storey addition? We at 32 Degrees Building provide our building services across South West & Western Sydney, the Illawarra, the Southern Highlands, the Eastern Suburbs, and Sutherland Shire. We aim to help our clients achieve their dream family home, with a spacious living area that can meet the needs and demands of their lifestyles. To learn more, contact us.
Article written by: ibuildnew.com.au
To fund an addition or extension on your home, you may find yourself applying for a Construction Loan with your lender. This is all well and good, however, you may find that the lender will not formally approve and release funds until plans, Council approval and a Contract is in place outlining the progress stage payments of the build. So, to get to this point, how much should you expect to outlay? The short answer is that we find for most of our clients it’s around $20K to complete the preliminary stage.
Here at 32 Degrees Building we break it down into two manageable costs for our clients and below is an explanation of the preliminary process to help you as a client understand what happens before we can issue contracts and start your build:
Preliminary Phase 1: Design and development of your architectural plans
This is the start of your building journey with us. This starts from $7,500, this allows for a draftsperson to come out and meet with you, talk you through your ideas, then design your initial concept plan. Usually, a few tweaks may be required and then you can sign off your concept plan and the full architectural drawings can be created and a 3D visual can be prepared.
Once your plans are complete (sitemap, elevations, shadow diagrams, floor plans etc..) the documents required to support your plans and lodgement to Council application are prepared, these include your;
- Statement of Environmental Effects – Details the potential environmental impacts the proposed build will have.
- Waste Management Plan – Applies to all homes across Australia and explains how waste generated onsite will be managed, maintained and disposed of.
- BASIX – The Building Sustainability Index applies to all residential homes across NSW and is part of the Development Application process.
There may be additional supporting documents required (e.g. Bushfire Report, Flood Report, Acoustic Report etc…)
Preliminary Phase 2: Council Lodgement – Development Application & Construction Certificate OR Complying Development Consent
This next step is where we will lodge your plans to Council either as a Complying Development Consent OR as a Development Application and Construction Certificate
CDC or DA/CC fees will be advised once plans are developed and a Council fee quote can be provided. The preparation of the lodgement for either CDC or DA/CC starts from $7,500. Here we obtain the additional relevant documentation needed in order for your build to be ready to start and this includes;
- Engineering plans and if a first floor addition a first floor certification to confirm your existing home will support the addition
- Sydney Water check – To confirm that your build will not impact any of Sydney Waters assets
- Sewer Service Diagram – We obtain this for the plumber to see where the existing connections to the home are
- Long Service Levy – Applies to all residential works over $20K
- Home Warranty Insurance – Applies to all residential works over $20K
- and any other supporting documents as required
How long does this process take? Well, this all depends on the Council, the service providers and you as the client. We find that from planning to Council approval to issuing you with contracts can take around 3/4 months. Once your build cost and inclusions have been finalised and your HIA fixed price contract has been issued you can then provide these to your lender in order to finalise your finance approval.
If you haven’t built before or have no knowledge of the building and construction industry then preparing all of these documents can seem quite daunting. That’s why with us, you would have us as your main point of contact to do all of the hard work for you. We even liaise between yourself and the draftsperson to help you stay within your budget when developing your plans and address any of the questions you have about the build along the way.
To get started on your building journey with us, we ask you to download our packages or complete our pre-quote enquiry form and tell us what you would like to build, from there one of our team members will be in touch with you.