Over the many years our Shipway team has been in the building industry, we have learnt countless valuable lessons– below are our top five tips for undertaking a new build, extension or renovation.

1. Do as much research as you can before starting the process

When considering building a new house or undertaking work on your current home, it can be easy to underestimate the information you will be required to give your builder. When quoting, your builder needs to know if anything on the plan would exceed standard pricing e.g. your desperate need for a marble bathroom! These are some items that that can derail a budget and for you to consider researching even before you speak to a builder:

  • flooring
  • tiles – kitchen, bathroom, living, outdoor areas
  • bathroom and kitchen fittings
  • kitchen appliances
  • external architectural features
  • heating/cooling methods

If you are not confident in your ability to translate that vision of your ideal home into reality, you may like to ask an expert – our interior designer can help you choose colours, materials and personal choice items that will not only suit your taste but remain stylish for years to come. Start gathering inspiration now; some great places to start are Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz and Australian House Magazines.

2. How the banks/finance works

Once you decided on the type of project e.g. new home, renovation/extension, investment property, holiday house/apartment, speak with your banking or lending institution about how their loans are structured. In addition to your fixed price quote, at the start of any project we can provide you with an industry approved payment schedule, insurances, approved plans and an inclusions list. These will help to streamline the financing process and allow you to focus on the details of the building itself.

3. Are you renovating while living in the home?

Renovating is a great way to make the most of an existing properly, but it can be a frustrating and difficult process. If you are making significant changes to the building, we would advise you move out during construction – it’s dusty, noisy and there will be tradespeople in and out every day.

Should I STAY or should I GO?

  • A kitchen or bathroom renovation = STAY
  • Several bathrooms or wet areas all at once = GO
  • New Roof = GO
  • Changing at least half the structure = GO
  • Adding a second storey = GO
  • Adding a garage, pool area or mainly external changes = STAY
4. To build a new home or to renovate/extend an existing property?

This is a very common question and a great many factors come into play when making your decision. Look at the questions listed below. If your answers are mostly in favour of your existing block, then you should maybe look first of all at renovating. If the work seems too extensive, it may be worth considering a knock down/rebuild option.

  • Will your existing block of land/house suit your future needs?
  • Is it large enough for expanding family or too big for empty nesters?
  • Does it have a great view or outlook?
  • Does it have good street appeal?
  • Location – is it close to town, schools, shops, transport infrastructure etc.?
  • Are there any developments planned in the vicinity (housing, roads, zoning etc.) that will impact the livability or future value of the block/house?
  • Does it have the level of privacy you would like?
  • Would a renovation maintain or increase the value of the property or over capitalize?
  • Does it have any damage or issues that will need continuous long term work?

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice! Have a chat with us or a building designer/architect regarding your options to discover what will be the best solution for your family, your lifestyle and your future.

5. Know your building terminology

Fixed price: As it sounds. A fixed price will include every aspect of the build, based on plans provided, a site meeting and inclusions discussed with owners. No extra fees will be added unless the owners make changes to the structure or the inclusions.

Cost Plus: Mainly used on renovations to give an owner more flexibility with budgeting and selections. An estimate is provided but you are billed weekly or fortnightly on the work that has been undertaken, materials used etc. You pay for the direct cost of the build rather than the builder allowing for contingencies.

BASIX: The “Building and Sustainability Index” is part of the planning process in NSW. It is designed to reduce water and energy consumption in homes.

CC: A “Construction Certificate” is issued by a Certifier to ensure that your plans meet with the Building Code of Australia and is necessary in having your project approved by council.

DA: A Development Application is submitted first and once approved a submission for a CC can be made

Allowances: A dollar allowance that has been made for an item where the final selection has yet to be made i.e. kitchen appliances or bathroom tiles

Variation: A variation is simply an additional cost on top of the contract, e.g. if the client wants to upgrade from Basic appliances to top quality appliances after the contract has been signed and construction has started, the difference will be added on to the total price.

Building Tips