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Are you ready to renovate?

Do you want to add extra space and comfort to your existing home, without the cost of buying and selling? Easy! Renovate!!

Staying in the same home avoids the need to move out of your neighbourhood, away from nearby friends, family and schools.However do consider these preparations in order to have a stress free renovation project.

Necessary paperwork

stress free renovatingDepending on the type and scale of your intended project, you may have a Development Application (DA) approved by your local before you can start making any changes to your home. Not having these paperwork may see you at odds with the law.

Small renovations and repairs like painting the outside of your home or replacing the roof may also require council permits. Your local council will be able to advise you about what sort of measures you should be taking and the regulations that may apply to your home and project.

Covenants,Heritage Regulations and Legislations

Check if your home is subject to estate covenants or body corporate requirements.
If your home is subject to heritage regulations. And, whether your renovations conform to energy- and water-saving regulations. Avoid fines by having good site management that considers waste management, recycling, litter and sediment controls and the like.

Also make sure that your plans do not conflict with the Building Code of Australia (BCA)
If your plans do not conform to your respective legislation, it's likely that your DA will not be approved and you will be unable to proceed with your renovation project.

building permitsBCA's recommendations are given legal status by State and Territory's own laws and regulations on the matter - the BCA must always be read alongside your respective State or Territory legislation.

You may also be required by law to have a contract drawn up. If your renovation requires work from outside trades persons and, that work is valued at an amount that exceeds your State's declared amount then a contract may be legally essential. However, a contract does not need to be dependent on the cost of the job and it might be worth considering one if it gives you peace of mind.

Hiring contracted builders

Home renovations can be carried out by a contractor or by the owner.
Contracted builders receive payment for doing the work and should only be hired if they are registered and appropriately accredited. A builder enters a contract with the home owner that can make clear the conditions under which the work will be done. A contract typically includes the price of the builder's work, the dates of work commencement and completion, description of the work to be done and the builder's licensing information. Contracts can also spell out the consequences of either party not upholding the conditions of the contract.

Being an owner builder

Couple sitting on the floor with blueprint of their new housePeople choose to become owner builders to reduce costs, have flexibility in their completion schedule, and to have control over the project. Home owners who does their own building renovations or manages sub-contractors are called an owner builders. Owner builders are subject to their own set of legal obligations and rights (according to respective Territories and States laws) and should be familiar with the appropriate legislation. For those wanting to do it themselves, they will need domestic building insurance and an owner-builder certificate of consent.
Owner builders' responsibilities include but are not limited to: the occupational health and safety of workers on-site; organising permits, insurance and inspections; and ascertaining that contractors have the appropriate qualifications, licenses and insurance. While owner builders may carry out part of the work, they must employ licensed tradespeople for certain jobs include electrical and plumbing tasks.

Budget! Budget! and Budget!

budgetHave a well-planned and realistic budget. Calculate the costs you will be faced with and then add extra to that budget for the unexpected. The Australian Government Initiative  recommends that a renovation budget should include an added 5-10% to cover extra costs. The Archicentre cost guide gives estimates for costs of typical renovations across Australia.

It's important to spend your hard earned money wisely when renovating. Shop around for quotes, take care of details such as the fixtures, the type of lighting or even the door stopper to be used. You can buy these yourself from online stores like, By doing so you know how much the items are and how good they are without needing to suffer top-up revenue if getting them from a retail store outlet or having your contractors buy them for you. Don't taking shortcuts when it comes to people you hire. For example, a good designer can give wise advice that can save you money on your renovation and even more in the long-term. Do your homework to find reliable and good contractors by asking for recommendations from friends, family and other people helping out on your project. Shop online to see and compare prices and quality in a wider range of lower costing options available online. Be clear about what is to be included and what is to be excluded from the price with contractors. If you're taking out a loan to finance your renovation project, look for the best deal that fits your repayment needs.

Also know that the changes you make to your home (especially to do with energy or water saving) may leave you eligible for rebates. This can be factored into budgets and reduce your costs. Moreover, look for cost effective ways of doing what you have to do and be proactive about potential things that could go wrong and end up costing you more.

Safety Points

kid safetyIt is important that any renovations you make to your home are done safely. If you are renovating your home and have small children around, be sure they are never left unsupervised within the renovation site. Keep them away from areas where work is being done. Pre-1990 homes may contain asbestos and asbestos-containing structures (such as eaves, roofing and wall-linings) must be dealt with by specialist asbestos removal contractor. Similarly, homes that pre-date the 1970s may have been painted with lead-based paints and this also requires specialist treatment when removing or re-painting. You may also have structural issues like  termites and rising damp that must be surveyed by a trained architect, builder or engineer. Be careful when renovations and DIY projects around the home - ladders and power tools can be extremely dangerous when used incorrectly.

Review your insurance policy

If you've made renovations to your home, you may need to update your insurance policy. It's also important to realise that insurance covers have certain clauses that come into effect when you are renovating, and that you may need to take measures to ensure that you remain safeguarded in certain situations.

So remember, "Failing to plan is planning to fail".

Happy Renovating!