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Reno & Home Improvement Advice

#renohacks Things to Consider

Firstly, would just like to say we do not consider ourselves to be experts or doyens of the industry and that the information we offer is based only on real experience over many years. There are of course endless sources of information available on make over and or renovations with some sources being good, and some others not so good, ours is simply a telling of our own and other V.I.P. F&HM team members real life building, rennovating and home makeover stories.

The first thing to consider in any case is what do you really need to do to your property and why?

For example, if you are doing your place up to sell then your choices will as a rule be somewhat different to someone who wants to renovate their existing or newly purchased home to better suit their lifestyle or family needs. Regardless of your motivation you will no doubt want to seek value for money but always remember that “The poor person always pays twice”.

We recommend whoever you engage to perform work or provide services to you be competent, reliable, well referenced, and licenced where applicable, going outside of this common-sense approach to engaging trades and service providers is asking for unnecessary headaches and disasters to happen!

One final thing to consider here is your own abilities, know them so as to avoid taking on projects or tasks that are beyond your expertise, I learnt this lesson the hard way many years back!


Some factors that will influence the cost of your home addition, if that's what you are going to do as opposed to simply modernising or lightly altering the internals of your home include site conditions, level of fit out, red tape and design considerations. Rather than "guesstimating" begin your cost estimate by:

  1. Calculating the square metres of your addition if applicable
  2. Finding out the average square metre construction costs in your area.
  3. Multiply the average cost per square metre by your calculations in Step One.
  4. Write a detailed list of other costs. Don't forget to include labour costs, council approvals, flooring, heating, windows, doors and other materials.
  5. Add a buffer of 10 to 25 percent to your total.

Australian Construction Building Costs (fourth quarter 2015) - Custom-built, single- and double-storey dwellings

                 Cost range per floor area ($/m2) - Low   Cost range per floor area ($/m2) - High

Sydney                                                          1,550                                                        4.350

Melbourne                                                     1,365                                                        2,700

Adelaide                                                        1,550                                                        3,400

Brisbane                                                        1,700                                                        3,400

Canberra                                                       1,530                                                        2,507

Darwin                                                           1,750                                                        2,750

Perth                                                             1,420                                                        2,263


*Data taken from Rider Levett Bucknall Riders Digest 2016 Melbourne, Australia Edition

Soil quality can also influence the cost of a buidling extension project.  If for example you have clay, stone or large rocks it will inevitably cost you more.  You can do a soil and contour test which tests quality of your soil and the shape of the land.

Another consideration you should bear in mind os the angle of the ground you are building the extension on.  A sloping piece of land can result in extra costs ranging from $6000 per square metre to $90000 per square.

Other factors to take into consideration  when calculating your extension building costs include whether or not you are in a high risk area for flooding or bush fires.

You will probably need to carry out some design work, this may require an architect and can be fairly costly, alternativly for basic renovations a competant draftsman may be all that you need.

With building materials you can buy in bulk  to save money but custom or niche home extensions will inevitably cost more in terms of materials.

In some cases you may find that having a project manager on board is of great benefit to you but of course this comes at an additional cost.

One of the biggest outgoing expenses when managing a building project is labour costs.  Be wary of the fact that subcontractors are more expensive. This is often how builders will recruit to get all the skills they need to complete your project.

So if like us you are managing the project overall and recruiting trades yourself you can save quite a bit of money this way but of course it requires you to be HIGHLY organised and dilligent!

We hope you enjoy looking at the various projects we have coming up for you and that you get some inspiriation from them.

Kind Regards,

Warren and Vea

Renovation budget update:

Now that we have 99% finished this project and only have some minor finessing to do we can report that we have ONLY exceeded our initial estimate/budget by a mere 2.5%, which considering we increased the initial scope of works and upped the quality of certain items is a pretty darn good result!

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