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Jump­ing into a build­ing project with­out do­ing your re­search is the sin­gle big­gest mis­take you can make.

“There are just so many vari­ables,” ex­plains pro­fes­sional ren­o­va­tor and TV pre­sen­ter Cherie Bar­ber.

“You need to be 100 per cent clear about what re­stric­tions might be ap­pli­ca­ble in your state and what per­mits you need.

“Don’t rely on other peo­ple to tell you, make it your busi­ness to do your own re­search and be pre­pared.”

Cherie says ren­o­va­tions can be split into two cat­e­gories — cos­metic and struc­tural.

“There are three types of cos­metic ren­o­va­tion works,” she ex­plains. “The first is ex­empt works that re­quire no ap­provals, then com­ply­ing works such as re­plac­ing a slid­ing door that should re­quire no ap­provals pro­vided they com­ply with coun­cil reg­u­la­tions, and lastly sub­stan­tial works that re­quire a build­ing per­mit or ap­provals.”

Cherie says any struc­tural ren­o­va­tion work will def­i­nitely re­quire ap­provals and if you want to do it your­self you’ll need an owner-builder per­mit.

“It’s a great op­tion for peo­ple who are con­fi­dent, or­gan­ised and good com­mu­ni­ca­tors, but be­ing an owner-builder comes with a great deal of risk too,” she warns.

“You can get your­self into real strife. In­stead, hire a pro­fes­sional and sit back and re­lax.”

This ex­ten­sion of a 1930s home by ar­chi­tects Mark Szczer­bicki and Sam Rigoli mar­ried old with new.

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