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What are the steps to a successful renovation?

Are all builders experienced at building renovations in Perth?  This is a question we often get asked.  The answer is you should always use a Registered Builder.  You should also speak to your Renovation Builder in depth about their experience and how they will manage your renovation project.

Over the past 34 years working in all areas of home renovations, we have come across most renovation surprises when building second storey extensions, ground floor extensions and moving internal walls to renovate kitchens and bathrooms.

For most people their home is their biggest asset, and a quality renovation will add value.  Its important not to cut corners as poor workmanship can cost you more down the line, and potentially devalue your home.  Most buyer these days are very savvy and can spot a DIY job a mile off.

So here is how to have a successful renovation experience:

1.  Qualify your builder
Like any profession you don't finish your qualification and automatically become an expert. "Experience is Knowledge, All the Rest is just Information"  Albert Eisenstein 
Ask how long they have been in business.
Ask how long their staff have worked for them
Ask for examples of their work

2. A realistic budget
No one wants to spend more than they have to when adding a second storey, new bedroom or making their kitchen bigger.  We often get asked questions like "How much will it cost to add an extra bedroom upstairs"?  Most of the time our answer is "It depends on your budget and how big you want the space to be".  It always comes down to size, materials used and the build site itself.   You need a plan and scope of works to be able to properly budget for you project.  Make sure you have all these before you start.  

3. Discuss possible existing issues
Older houses, built when regulations were not as strict as now, can often throw up some interesting things.  When moving walls, ceilings or ripping up floors the most common problems we come across are badly installed electoral or plumbing work that may need to be rectified.  The solution to this is to budget for a slush fund.  Fixing these issued while you renovate will usually save you money in the long term.

4. Opting for the cheapest 
When choosing products we recommend doing your research.  In our experience you usually get what you pay for. Saving a little bit of money in the short term can often lead to headaches in the long term.  Think about maintenance of these items, will the manufacturer honer the warranty, if it breaks how how much will it costs to replace (will I need a trade to change it).  

5. Sale Items
Items are usually on sale for a reason and this doesn't always mean it is not a good buy.  You should however ask some questions before you purchase.  For items such as carpets, tiles and flooring in general, ask if the whole of your order is from the same batch.  Different batches can have big colour variations.  For fixtures and fittings make sure you are happy with the warranty.  For electrical goods make sure you are not missing out on the latest technology.

6. Changing your mind.
Make sure you are aware of your builders policy when it comes to changing your mind.  At Core WA we don't charge administration fees for changes as we understand its your perogative to change your mind.  You want your renovation to be perfect and so do we.  Other renovation builders in Perth do charge administration $$ on top of the cost change of the product which will add to your final budget costs.

7. Using your Mate to do a Trade
Its always great to be able to help out a mate and give them some work, however there are some things to take into consideration when bringing in trades outside of your Builders contract.  Questions you should ask your builder about this.  Will their warranty will cover the trade that doesn't come under their contract?  The answer is most often NO as they cant guarantee the quality or experience of that person.  So what will happen if something goes wrong, is wonky or doesn't work property.  Most often the blame game starts, which you will have to sort out and pay for if no one accepts responsibility.  

When all the trades come under the builders contract this becomes the builders responsibility.  If a mistake is made the builder will sort it out.  We have been working with our team for years and as such they are well aware of the quality and service we deliver.  This in turn means that our projects run smoothly with very few mistakes.

8. DIY Painting to save a few dollars
We know the scenario,  you budgeted for a value for money, good quality cook top, but then you saw this beautiful self extracting on point black state of the art cook top that you just couldn't live without. Purchasing this cook top also impacted your extraction requirements and meant extra work to your cabinetry.  This with a couple of other upgrades are all worth extending your budget in your mine (and I would agree), but it means your budget has been stretched and you are contemplating taking the painting out of the contract and doing it yourself.

This is the time to be honest about your own abilities.  We use the term "you get what you pay for" a lot because we have seen this scenario over and over again.  A good painter makes their trade look easy and effortless.  The paint job is the icing on the cake, do you want to risk leaving unsightly brush marks, paint drips and messy edges that you will have to look at for years?  If not use the builders professional painter.