Home extensions can be a real pain the in the neck, especially if you aren’t fully prepared. While no one goes into a home extension without a little forethought, the amount of planning you do beforehand can really impact how stressful you find the process.
Undertaking such a massive transformation of your house requires perseverance, a practical approach and a good dose of patience. Two of the biggest things that need to be considered before your home extension begins is your budget, and any time constraints you may have. Once these have been detailed, you can get onto the fun stuff, like the design!
We’ve put together a few of our top tips on how to avoid a complete headache during your home renovation process, and it may come as no surprise to you that many of them focus on being prepared!
1. Understand the purpose of your extension
The first thing to consider is your motivation for undergoing a home extension. What will you use the extra space for? A parent’s retreat? A guest bedroom? A rumpus room for your growing family? Pinpointing the purpose of your extension will allow you to hone in on what you want to get out of it, and how you want it to be designed. Think about the practical features you need in your new space; do you want carpet or floorboards? Will you require air conditioning? How many rooms will you need? Establishing a clear vision of what you are after will assist your builder in making preliminary cost estimates, and finding the right tradespeople for the job.
2. Keep your budget in check with fixed price quotes
Now for the most stressful part: the dreaded budget. It’s tedious but essential to map out your budget restrictions. Unfortunately, having a clear idea of what you want your home extension to look like is one thing, but figuring out whether it fits into your budget is another. And you often won’t have a concrete understanding of whether this is possible until you speak to your builder and they undertake a feasibility study. A good builder, however, will always try their hardest, using their contacts, expertise and innovative approaches, to custom build the design that you want within your budget constraints. It’s also always advisable that you look for a builder who can organise a fixed price estimate of what the build will cost you so that you know your extension won’t be blown over budget even if you encounter setbacks or delays.
3. Leave your building approvals up to the professionals
Submitting building proposals and gaining local council consent to begin construction is often a process that will lead to that second glass of wine at the end of a long day! And it’s especially frustrating if you aren’t aware of the ins and outs of the system. Leaving this paperwork up to your design and construction team is always the best option. They do this for a living, after all! And may have worked with your local council before. Experienced builders and architects are invaluable in these circumstances, as they’ll know the best ways to fast track your approval so you can move onto the construction phase ASAP.
4. Build up instead of out
This is often an option that people don’t consider, but which can save them a huge amount of money and stress. Extending your home with a second storey rather than building onto it horizontally has many benefits. It’s particularly useful for those who want to keep their yard space or avoid the extreme costs associated with levelling sloped land. The best part is, you already have a solid foundation to work with, so there’s no need to lay another! And despite what people believe, it is possible to live in your home while a second level is being added, depending on the design of your extension, and whether you have a clean and considerate construction team. A second storey extension can also provide you with better views (a massive asset if you live near the ocean or the river!), more sunlight and further opportunities to catch that cool breeze in Summer.
5. Know your limitations
We’re willing to hedge our bets on the fact that you aren’t a fully trained carpenter, tiler, painter, plumber and joiner. DIY is great for saving on the budget, but it can lead to all kinds of issues down the track. Especially if you spend an incredible amount of time constructing the fittings for your new extension, only to find that they don’t pass council inspection. When considering what you want to do yourself, and what you need a professional to tackle, it’s important to be realistic. Leave the big jobs that need to follow compliance up to the specialists and have a go at the simpler stuff by yourself. That way if anything goes wrong, your whole home extension isn’t jeopardised (just your dreams of getting on Reno Rumble).
Total Lifestyle Builders are QLD’s leading specialists in second storey home extensions. We provide custom design and construction services for your home extension, complete with a 3D walkthrough of your vision before designs are finalised. Contact us today to begin making plans for your second level home extension.