The long and winding road
It was John Lennon who sang “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. Renovating and building can feel a bit like that, too.
Once you finally decide to go ahead and do the work — and get your finances sorted out — you can generally expect that a major renovation or completely new build will take about two years from start to finish. Two years. And that’s if things go smoothly. That takes into account settling on a design and getting plans drawn up, taking them to council, dealing with any changes required and sourcing a builder.
Depending on who you go with, you might need to wait before you get started — the good ones are always booked up — and then the build process really kicks off.
One of the few benefits of living through the drought is that it can mean that your build will not be delayed by rain. Because when we’re in a normal weather pattern, you can almost guarantee that as soon as you take the roof off your old house, you’ll be hit by one of those torrential storms that Sydney does so well.
You can see why people get so frustrated and stressed.
Some aspects have been made a little easier in recent years with the introduction of the Complying Development legislation which has cut the approval process back to less than two weeks, although it doesn’t always help your relations with the neighbours who can feel left out of the loop.
The thing is, a well executed building project can transform the way you live. Done right, it is absolutely worth the drama — and the hit to the mortgage.
Which is why so many brave souls throw themselves into the building abyss. As an architect once told me, the only thing most people regret is not doing it sooner.