Insider secrets for success
Start with the flooring “It influences so much of the look and feel of a space that it can really set the decisionmaking processes for everything else,” says Stewart Horton. “For instance, if you were installing timber floors, it might have the follow-on effect of minimising the use of timber throughout the rest of the scheme.” The art of compromise Know when practical has to overrule aesthetics, says Belinda Graham. “In this category I place ceiling fans, a three-way bathroom light/heater/fan, windows that easily fit flyscreens and locks, airconditioning units, exterior spotlights, door bolts and powerpoints. You may have to wait for that hero pendant light you want for the bedroom, but you will be so much happier on those hot summer nights.”
The biggest mistake According to James Treble, it’s changing the design or floor plan, or adding things
mid-renovation. “Whether due to poor planning or a change of mind, alterations always cost more money, usually incur delays and cause homeowners and builders unnecessary stress and angst over matters that should have been finalised well before a hammer was lifted.”
Choosing the right people When you employ an architect to design your home, you’re paying for their creative flair, says Derrick Macrae. “They can submit plans and development applications (DAs) to council, and liaise with the builder throughout the job.” A qualified building designer may also be able to manage the whole renovation process. “Like architects, building designers will bring creative ideas to the table, which will pay dividends later on,” says Macrae. A draftsperson is a more affordable option, charging about one-quarter of the price of an architect or building designer. “A draftsperson’s role is to draw up the plans, but then it’s up to you to submit them and DAs to council and to liaise with the builder.”
Builders and tradies To find reputable builders and tradies, ask friends and your architect or designer for recommendations, check the builders of your favourite homes in magazines, or contact professional building and trade associations, says Murray Flynn. “Share your brief with all trades so they understand what you want.” There
are two ways to price a job: fixed price, where the builder does the job for a fixed lump sum; and cost plus, where the builder works for an hourly rate. It’s always a good idea to get at least three quotes, which the builders should not charge you for. It’s advisable that the builder is a member of the Housing Industry Association (www. hia.com.au) or Master Builders Australia (www.master builders.com.au) and has relevant insurance.