How to avoid a renovation budget blowout

07 March 2022

  

As home renovations and new home constructions surge in 2022, many homeowners are at risk of adding time, cost and stress to the process by failing to meet regulatory standards.

More than 121,000 renovations and new home constructions are expected to take place this year, according to the HIA outlook.

As the 2021 ‘year of renovations’ shows no signs of slowing down, Standards Australia is urging homeowners to engage with experts to ensure their home is built safely and to standard.

Standards Australia General Manager, Engagement and Communications Adam Stingemore says while there is an increased demand for renovations or new constructions all over the country, homeowners can spend thousands of dollars in re-building costs if they don’t follow the rules, or the home is found to be defective.

“For homeowners planning to construct their dream homes, we urge them to become familiar with local and state regulations to avoid unnecessary costs, delays and stress,” Mr Stingemore said.

There are numerous state and local council building and construction requirements across Australia, that are largely set by the National Construction Code (NCC), which on behalf of the Australian Government, State and Territory governments, provide a national set of requirements a technical framework for design, construction and performance/integrity of buildings, plumbing and drainage systems.

“Regardless of where in Australia construction is taking place, all builders and contractors working on homes are required to follow the Australian Standards as set out in the National Construction Code (NCC),” Mr Stingemore said.

“We don’t expect everyday people to know the detail of NCC, however, choosing qualified and experienced professionals, who come with strong recommendations or verified testimonials can mean a smoother and safer building process - without delays due to failing to meet the regulatory requirements.”

Simon Croft, Executive Director Building Policy and Services at the Housing Industry Association said: “Our research shows that the current residential construction boom follows a record year of almost 149,000 new home constructions in 2021, representing an 11 per cent above average over the last decade in home construction.

“By choosing a builder that belongs to an industry association such as the Housing Industry Association (HIA), it helps to ensure that you are choosing someone who belongs to a professional association, which has members codes of ethics, provides education and training for members and promotes the notion of members being leaders in their industry.” Mr Croft concluded.

“While it might be tempting for homeowners to do most of the work themselves, the cost of not following regulations can cost hundreds of thousands in the long run,” Mr Stingemore said.

Top tips for homeowners building or renovating in 2022:

  • Know your local government development requirements before you build

Familiarising yourself with the local plans, policies and regulations can save you a lot of time at the start and ensure the planning and building approvals processes run smoothly.

  • Consult with an architect

Not only can an architect help bring your dream home to life, but they can also do so in a way that marries aesthetics with functionality and safety. Architects can also provide homeowners with peace of mind through the entire building process, by guiding them through the local council application and approval process, building permits and documentation with other consultants, assessing the builders’ quality of work, and compliance with the agreed specifications.

  • Choose a licensed builder

A licensed builder can save you many headaches and costs of re-work in the long run. Aside from managing the construction process and coordinating tradespeople, they can also help connect you with design services, council approvals, engineering certification, construction certification and other reports that may be required.

There are two keys to successfully choosing a good builder. First, and most importantly, deal with a professional home builder or subcontractor - someone with a solid reputation who will work closely with you throughout the building process and are across relevant building codes and Australian Standards to ensure best quality outcomes for your new home or renovation.

Secondly, don't rush. Take time to consider all aspects of your build and ask lots of questions - the more information you have, the easier it is to eliminate uncertainties.

  • Go with the experts

It will be tempting to want to save as much money during the build as possible, but while people can get away with painting the walls or installing new floors, hiring a professional to do the electrical, plumbing, gas and structural work is a must. These specialised tasks have strict guidelines that must be followed to ensure your house is built to Australia’s high standards.

 

BUILD is the complete, trusted and independent online authority on building and renovation for Australians. BUILD aims to answer all of your questions about building and renovation – even those you didn’t know you should ask!

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