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    32 Degrees Building Blog

November 8, 2018

What to look for when choosing your builder

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.

If you have any questions surrounding your future renovation or addition on your home, call the team. We are available to talk to you and run through all of the details with you.

 

May 10, 2018

As featured on Channel 9’s Open Homes Australia

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.

 

July 22, 2017

Building Up: The Advantages of Adding a Second Floor to Your Home


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

April 14, 2017

What should you expect to pay before your build can start?

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 $13K 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 $6,000 to have a draftsperson 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 walkthrough can be prepared. The 3D visual walkthrough can be and shown to you either at the office or via an app and we send you the file.

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 environment 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 fees will be advised once plans are developed. The Construction Certificate estimate starts from $7,500 however is dependent on the build cost and so we will advise if this changes at this stage of lodgement. 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 it 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 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.

July 18, 2016

Building in a bushfire prone area

We recently completed an extension and deck in Orangeville that was in a bushfire prone area and had to comply with BAL-FZ requirements. For those of you that are unfamiliar with being in a bushfire prone area, BAL-FZ means that the home has been classed as being located in direct flame zone and that there is an extreme risk to life and loss of the home should a bushfire occur.

Bushfire ratings are as follows;

  • BAL-Low (Very Low Risk)
  • BAL-12.5 (Low Risk)
  • BAL-19 (Moderate Risk)
  • BAL-29 (High Risk)
  • BAL-40 (Very High Risk)
  • BAL-FZ (Extreme Risk)

The BAL rating may determine the types of materials you are able to use or, additional materials that are required when building or extending your home (eg. bushfire shutters).

What measures should you take?

If your property backs onto bushland or even a Council nature strip you will have to obtain a BAL Risk Assessment Certificate from a qualified consultant to determine your Bushfire Attack Level. The report will outline the BAL rating on each elevation (yes, your BAL rating can be different on each side of your home) and advise you of the measures you need to take to maximise the safety of your family and your home and ensure you stay protected.

Building in a bushfire prone area: flamezone

The home in Orangeville was classed as BAL-FZ as it was in a location where it was deemed an extreme risk to bushfire so there were a few requirements that we had to ensure that we undertook when building this extension to comply with the RFS and Council requirements;

  • The deck was constructed with a cement based product with no gaps between the boards for embers to get into
  • The subfloor brickwork still has to have ventilation, and so a metal gauze with no more than a 2mm aperture was used to cover the weep holes and stop embers from getting in under the home.
  • The cladding we used was a minimum of 6mm thick with no gaps between the boards.
  • The windows were made with 6mm toughened glass and aluminium frames
  • Bushfire shutters were installed – you can have either manual or automatic
  • The roof and deck frames were made of steel
  • For the eaves we used firecheq plasterboard  and importantly we ensured that all gaps and holes were sealed to stop potential embers getting into

If you are in a bushfire prone area and thinking of building an extension or addition, speak to us, we are able to provide you with advice and guide you in the right direction.

Watch our video

Watch Alistair, the builder out at the deck extension in Orangeville talking about how we met the BAL-FZ requirements.

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