Large Scale Renovations
The NSW Premier has confirmed today (28 July 2021) that the lockdown for Greater Sydney will be extended for four more weeks, to end on 28 August. Despite this extension of time, the Premier has also announced that some types of building work can recommence on 31 July.
Under the new restrictions, work can recommence on home building sites and home renovations in local government areas not listed as restricted local government.
Which home building sites can reopen?
Home building sites and renovation sites in Greater Sydney may reopen from Saturday 31 July except for sites within the eight restricted local government areas.
Building sites that can reopen will also be allowed to start preparatory work tomorrow, 29 July to prepare for work starting on 31 July.
The eight restricted local government areas are Fairfield, Blacktown, Cumberland, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Parramatta and Georges River.
Building sites permitted to be open will need to meet new strict health and safety requirements and have a COVID Safety Plan in place.
Limits on the number of workers allowed on a site will apply based on whether the building site is unoccupied or occupied.
What are the restrictions for home building and renovation work on unoccupied sites?
- Only one trade team may be on-site at any given time, for example, bricklayers and carpenters cannot be on-site at the same time.
- Trades may only attend a maximum of five different sites per week.
- These limits are not applicable to certain specialist roles that are on-site for relatively short periods of time such as site supervisors, certifiers and professional services, engineers, surveyors, delivery drivers and specialist installers working on their own.
What are the restrictions for home building and renovation work on occupied sites?
- Workers must remain separated from all residents when on-site.
- Only one trade team may be on-site at any given time.
- For internal areas a maximum of two workers are permitted at any given time and for external work a maximum of five workers may be on-site at any given time.
- Trades may only visit a maximum of five different sites per week.
- These limits are not applicable to certain specialist roles that are on-site for relatively short periods of time, such as site supervisors, certifiers and professional services, engineers, surveyors, delivery drivers and specialist installers working on their own.
What additional restrictions apply for permitted home building and renovation work?
All worksites must have an updated COVID Safety Plan in place.
Masks must be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors, subject to exemptions.
Builders must appoint a COVID marshal, such as the site supervisor, to ensure all restrictions are complied with on-site. One marshal is required per 50 staff/tradespeople.
Workers must adhere to the 1 person per 4 metre rule (where ever possible).
Deliveries to site must be contactless as far as is practical and workers must maintain a 3 metre separation from anyone not in their team, including delivery personnel.
Builders must maintain a register of all people who have been at their sites and ensure all people, including delivery drivers, ‘check in’ using the Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in QR code.
Can home building continue in the eight restricted LGAs?
No. Building sites within the eight restricted LGAs must remain closed at this time and trades and workers who live within those LGAs are not permitted to leave their LGA to undertake building work.
As has been the case for the last two weeks, urgent works can continue to be undertaken after 31 July in the restricted LGAs.
Can engineers, certifiers and other professionals still carry out inspections?
Yes. The restrictions do not apply to roles that involve inherently short and contactless visits to sites, such as supervisors, certifiers and professional services such as engineers and surveyors.
All people carrying out these roles are still required to wear masks, maintain a 3 metre separation from any other workers on-site (wherever possible) and ‘check in’ to the site using the Service NSW Check-in QR code.
Want more information?
More details on today’s announcements are available on the NSW Government COVID-19 website.
Tips for homeowners living through a renovation, extension or addition
Whether you stay or move, your large scale renovation, ground floor extension, or first floor addition can cause stress. Of course, stress is simply par for the course when building, and nearly everyone — regardless of whether they moved out or stayed put – experience some sort of challenge during the build. We’ve put together some tips to help you survive your renovation – whether you stay or go for the duration of the build;
If you decide to stay and live through the renovation, your number one priority is to preserve your sanity:
Before the renovation:
- Declutter. It will be easier for you to live with the essentials before you start the renovation.
- Stay far away from the work area to ensure you’re not in the builders’ and tradespeople’s way.
- Tackle the dust debacle by placing all essentials in one room that you will not renovate, cover them, then seal off the area.
- Take all your fragile items and store them far from the work area. If you are going to store them in boxes, don’t forget to label them as fragile.
- Prepare a lot of drop sheets, tarpaulins and blankets. You are going to need a lot of them to cover important furniture pieces and other items.
- Label every sealed storage box, so you know where to find the items you need. It is a hassle to move things around every time.
- Ensure you have made all of your decisions and finalised all of your selections BEFORE your build starts. This will take away the stress of feeling rushed to make decisions and ensure clarity when heading into the build. The last thing your builder wants is to work out variations during the build following a last-minute change of mind. Believe it or not, most builders’ would prefer not to have any variations during your build!
During the renovation:
- Be prepared; it is an emotional journey. Give the builder and their team breathing room to complete the build, communicate with them on their expected finish date and let them work towards it.
- There will be times when you will feel like everything is slow and one task is taking so much time. When this happens, try to relax – it could be simply due to the number of different trades required to be coordinated for 1 area, or the team is ahead of schedule or waiting on a delivery.
- If you have been provided with a timeline, generally, your builder should be on track or thereabouts. As long as they are still confident of achieving your end date, it’s not so important how each specific item progresses in between. If you are concerned, discuss the issue with your builder during a scheduled meeting.
- For large scale extensions and first floor additions
- Try to avoid unnecessary chats — the type that goes on for hours.
- If you have zero background in construction, do not be tempted to work alongside the builders and tradespeople. Let them deliver what is agreed in the quote. Also, you do not want to mess up, then pay extra to have it fixed.
- For better indoor air quality, turn off your air conditioning system.
- Always wear your shoes and slippers.
- Keep the kids and your pets away from the construction site at all times. If you have dogs, consider keeping them away for the duration of the build, as doors and gates can be left open, and the builder is not responsible for keeping an eye on them for you.
- Yes, the portaloo stinks. They are cleaned fortnightly, but it doesn’t take away the youthful nostalgia of festival toilets!
- Water ingress – it happens. Your builder will do everything in their power to prevent it; however, water can still work its way in during the initial construction stages of a large scale project. Don’t stress though, as your builder will make good the areas that are impacted – just communicate with your builder when this happens.
Based on experience, it is possible to stay in your home and live through a large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition, but expect changes in your daily routine, and sometimes you may be without water, electricity or internet. You also need to be extra careful to avoid accidents on site.
If staying in is becoming too difficult for you, there is no shame in moving out. Here are our tips:
Tips for homeowners temporarily moving out
- Make sure that you have the funds for it, discuss with your builder the recommended duration so you can look at accommodation.
- Look for a decent rental property close to the construction site, school, and workplace, so travelling back and forth won’t be an issue.
- Conduct regular drivebys to see your home take shape and, if needed, schedule a meeting every few weeks with your builder to discuss progress.
- Never enter the construction site without notifying the builders for security and safety reasons.
- If you’re going to live with a friend or a relative, try not to make them feel like you’re conquering their space. Shop for your own food and use your own toiletries.
Deciding to live through a large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition, or moving out is a personal decision. It is up to you and your family to weigh up the pros and cons, depending on your situation. Assess the amount of work to be done, and the time the builders need to finish construction. Once you know the scope of the project and the specifics of the construction and design, you’ll figure out where you will stay while the work is being done.
How to Decide Whether to Move Out or Live Through a First Floor Addition, Ground Floor Extension or Renovation?
Whether you are building a First Floor Addition, Ground Floor Extension or Renovation, the one question that our clients always ask us is can they stay in the home and live through construction or should they consider temporarily moving out? This is a big decision to make — with a lot of factors to consider other than your budget when entering into significant construction works to your home.
We have outlined below some of the factors to take into account when looking to stay or move.
Factor # 1 – Scope of works
How much work is going to be done to your home? Are you doing a large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition? Are you renovating the kitchen and bathroom? These are two areas of your home that you often cannot live without for more than a few days. Is there going to be demolition? Are you renovating a completely isolated part of the house (e.g. second floor)? Can you live under the addition while being built?
These are the questions to consider when deciding whether to remain living in your home or move out and allow the builders to work their magic.
Keep in mind that construction is disruptive in nature. It can cause inconveniences and interrupt your daily routine. It is also possible that you will interfere with the builders and slow things down.
Therefore, if you are:
- Conducting a large scale renovation (50% of the house)
- Doing ground floor renovations including areas like the kitchen
- Doing a demolition
- Removing toxic materials (e.g. asbestos and mould growth)
- Removing and replacing the roof
- Doing a total kitchen and bathroom overhaul
You should consider moving out to make way for the builders who will work on your home.
Factor # 2 – Budget
Can you stretch your budget to be able to afford temporary accommodation?
Budget is often a major concern for many renovators or addition and extension builders. The truth is that both moving out and staying in will incur additional expenses.
If you are planning to move out, you must prepare for the costs of short-term renting.
To save money, you could stay in an Airbnb, or a cheaper hotel/motel, go on a budget vacation, or you could ask a friend or a relative if you can stay and live with them temporarily.
If you choose to stay amidst a large-scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition be prepared to order takeaway and bottled drinking water. All these are going to add up to your expenses.
Factor # 3 – Basic cooking facilities and a working bathroom
If you choose to live through the large-scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition, you might need to set up a makeshift kitchen and a temporary dishwashing area. Cooking using your outdoor kitchen or BBQ is a great idea.
In general, a makeshift kitchen almost works for most builds, but it is going to be a huge adjustment for everyone with them. You should be prepared to be without a full working kitchen for a least 6 weeks.
Living through a large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition is also easier when you already have two bathrooms in the house, and one remains functional while the other is being renovated. Otherwise, you need to buy a portable toilet. If you are renovating both as part of your build, be prepared to pay more if you request for them to be renovated separately instead of at the same time as the builder will incur additional travel, labour, time and site costs.
Access to water is crucial too. If you’re staying, ask your builder about the times that they need to turn off the water supply so you can create a bathroom schedule and store clean water for cooking and doing chores.
Factor # 4 – Level of tolerance and patience
Can you deal with the noise coming from jackhammers, electric saws, welding machines, dump trucks, cement mixers, cement cutters, tamping machines, sledgehammers, and drills as early as 7AM and as late as 6PM?
How about that fine gyprock dust that gets everywhere despite sealing up some parts of the house?
Can you deal with all the waste from the construction and scaffolding around your house?
Would you feel comfortable doing your daily routine with the builders and tradies walking around the house? Do you think they can do more when you’re not around?
There are the clients who can and the clients who can’t handle living through a construction zone! Which one are you? Based on experience, a lot of people commencing a large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition decide to move out in the middle of construction because they cannot bear the noise, dirt, and lack of privacy. Not having to live through the mess and chaos is a lifesaver, especially during these stressful times. You may also find you will be more excited with your new space when you move back in rather than living through the chaos to get to the end.
Factor # 5 – Length of the renovation
When the large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition takes over your home for weeks or months, moving out is the ideal option. The builders work faster with you out of the way, which results in quicker turnaround times and more money saved on labour costs.
Factor # 6 – Who are you living with?
Most couples with no children decide to live through the renovation process, but only when smaller-scale work needs to be done.
But, if you are doing major building works and you have small children, teenagers, pets, and are living with elderly members of your family, consider moving out. It would help if you got out of the way so the builders would be able to get more done quickly.
Factor # 7 – Which is more stressful? Moving out or staying in?
Whether you stay or move, your large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition can cause stress. Of course, stress is simply par for the course when building, and nearly everyone — regardless of whether they moved out or stayed put – experience some sort of challenge during the build.
Deciding to live through a large scale renovation, ground floor extension or first floor addition or to move out is a personal decision. It is up to you and your family to weigh up the pros and cons, depending on your situation. Assess the amount of work to be done and the time the builders need to finish construction. Once you know the scope of the project and the specifics of the construction and design, you’ll figure out where you will stay while the work is being done.
The most important thing is communication – confirm your selections and questions before your build commences and then allow your builder and their team breathing room to get stuck in and complete the project at hand.
Get a $25,000 contribution towards your Addition, Extension or Renovation through the HomeBuilder Program
Eligible Australians will be able to obtain a $25,000 HomeBuilder grant towards their addition, extension or major renovation under the near – $700 million federal government housing package in a bid to boost the economy and act as a lifeline to the home construction industry (Homebuilder program).
The government announced the $688 million HomeBuilder program on Thursday 4 June 2020. In an attempt to boost new projects between now and the end of the year, the Government will give $25,000 grants to owner-occupiers for certain works on their homes.
Renovation work does not include structures separate to the main property, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, granny flats and sheds.
The scheme will not apply to investment properties or owners who intend on building or renovating on their own without the help of licensed builders.
The plan will be restricted to people on middle incomes and to new homes and major renovations valued between $150,000 to $750,000.
The pre-renovation value of the house must not exceed $1.5 million and excludes sheds, pools, granny flats and any other structures not attached to the property.
The temporary scheme that will last until the end of the year, aiming to build 30,000 homes by Christmas.
Construction of a new home or a substantial renovation (including first floor additions, second storey additions and ground floor extensions) must be contracted to begin within three months to prevent a rise in house prices.
The grants will be means-tested, allowing singles who earned up to $125,000 the previous financial year and couples who earned up to $200,000 to access the scheme.
The scheme will work along existing state and territory first-home owner grants programs, stamp duty concessions and other grant schemes, including the federal government’s first-home loan deposit scheme and first-home super saver scheme.
Click the links below to download HomeBuilder Program Fact sheets
|HomeBuilder Fact Sheet
Last updated: Thursday 4 June 2020
|HomeBuilder – Frequently asked questions
Last updated: Thursday 4 June 2020
To take advantage of the HomeBuilder Program and secure your $25,000 grant, it is important that you start the planning process now.
Contact us now to discuss your first-floor addition, ground floor extension or large scale renovation project.