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Building Renovating Guide.

Home Renovations can place many pressures on the unwary, so BE PREPARED

Seasoned renovators all agree that renovating or extending can be a time of tension. You can usually count on it costing more and taking longer than originally planned.

Be Prepared:

Nothing and no one in the house stays clean and you won't be able to find a thing. can vanish overnight with the vanity unit and toilet you are replacing. Unless you're lucky enough to have the budget to move out of your house and hand the keys over to the builder, you and your family are going to have to adjust to major disruption of daily life. If your plan includes adding a new kitchen and/or bathroom you may find you're regularly visiting your once friendly neighbours for the use of their shower, eating endless takeaways in dusty corners of the house, or just fleeing the mess for the nearest cheap restaurant.

Assessing the cost of your renovation

It is important to temper any excitement you may feel about your renovation with the serious considerations of cost. Assess what space you have and what changes and extra space you want. You will need to consider how much you can really afford and exactly what the renovation will really cost.

Checklist for planning a major renovation or extension

Becoming an owner builder

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So you're thinking of becoming an owner builder? Get ready for a roller coaster ride. Many people choose to become an owner builder to reduce the cost margins of employing a registered builder.

However, be aware that without meticulous planning, you may end up spending much more than you expected and find yourself lacking the experience to deal with complex situations.building renovating guide

In reality, building a house is like running a small business. Skills in research, administration,organisation, finance and communication are just as important for the owner builder as are building skills.

Above all, an owner builder needs plenty of time to prepare thoroughly, make well-informed choices of tradespeople and carefully supervise all stages of the project.

The Archicentre has produced a great guide, Home buyers Inspection Checklist.

Checklist for planning a major renovation or extension

An owner builder is a person who constructs or renovates his or her own home. The owner is required to obtain the necessary building permits for the construction or renovation of the home. Owner builders may:

The success of an owner builder project depends on a sound appreciation of the law and skills to manage the project.

Advantages of being an owner builder include: increased control over the whole project, including the design saving the cost of the builder's margin more flexibility. The job may also be small and not warrant engaging a registered builder, or it may involve renovation of a family home where you may wish to do the work at weekends.

Be informed

A starting point for anyone considering becoming an owner builder is the Building Display Centre, a one stop shop for the owner builder and renovator, including three floors of building products, materials and displays.

The Centre provides free advice and literature, demonstrations, seminars and workshops on building and renovating, plus a full range of documents, a technical library, a kitchen design service, and an interior design studio/ workshop.

Legal rights and obligations for owner builders

Being an owner builder doesn't just mean organising labour and materials and making sure everything comes together into a house.

Most of the laws and regulations that apply to registered builders also apply to owner builders. You need to be absolutely clear about your rights and responsibilities under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and the Building Act 1993, as outlined in the Rules and Regulations of Domestic Building section of this guide.

Usually you cannot complete all the work yourself and are required by law to employ registered and licensed tradespeople for some aspects of your building project. If the value of these works is more than $5000 and you are using carpenters, bricklayers, concreters, roof tilers, cabinet makers/kitchen companies, restumpers, re-roofers and bathroom renovators you must also have a major Domestic Building Contract. These tradespeople must have limited, unlimited or manager registration with the Building Practitioners Board.


Even if you intend using some of your own money, it is more than likely you will also need to borrow some money. Check whether your bank lends to owner builders, how much it will lend, the equity required and any conditions it imposes.

In general banks are far stricter about lending to owner builders. Some don't lend money at all to owner builders while other banks lend only to building-related tradespeople, or lend only a percentage of the total cost. Some do not provide mortgage protection insurance or they may charge larger inspection and valuation fees.

Remember that it may be difficult to obtain finance from a bank as an owner builder, once the building process has been started. After arranging finance, owner builders must organise the cash flow to work in with the building schedule, for example, paying the concreter for the slab upon completion.

Read the full Building renovating Guide Building Renovating Guide..

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