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.
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
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 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 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 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/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 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.