If you’ve been watching renovation reality TV shows, you can be forgiven in thinking that an entire house can be renovated in four to six weeks. Wouldn’t that be great? The reality is, there’s a bit more to it than the construction side of things.

Whether it be going up or extending out, there are many factors and stages to consider, each with their own time constraints, even before we get on the tools.

This guide will help you better understand lead times and realistic time frames you can expect during both the planning and building stage of your project.

It’s important to recognise any builder that says they can start next week, may not be taking into consideration all of the prep work required. There is a lot of planning and permissions we need to get through before we jump on site.

Design phase

The design and research stage will be a short but sweet process to begin with. Here you will begin to discover your goals for your new extension and look at what you really want to achieve. You might spend a bit of time gathering inspiration and putting together a mood board to take to your designer.

Once you engage a draftsperson or architect and provide them with your brief, they will start on drawings for your approval. You may go back and forth a few times until you are perfectly happy with the design.

This process can take between 2 – 4 months depending on the size and complexity of the project, and your ability to be decisive

Plans and permits

Depending on the depth of your project, this phase can significantly vary in time. 

If your project is larger and more complex, it may need town planning approval. This means submitting your initial planning drawings to council for approval, prior to construction drawings being undertaken.

This process can typically take between 6 – 12 months.

You can then engage a  building surveyor to assist with the building permit process. They will be able to provide you with a checklist of additional requirements needed to approve a building permit for construction. 

This process can typically take up to 2-4 months.


Construction phase

Now for the fun part, it’s time to watch your project come to life. Depending on your builder’s schedule and the scope of your extension, you can expect the construction stage to last anywhere between 3 – 18 months.

Just remember, a professional builder that employs quality staff and trades will ensure an efficient build. If a sound process schedule is in place, chances are your builder will offer clarity and transparency throughout the whole project.


Any builder hopes for issue-free construction with no hold ups, but unfortunately there’s some things that just can’t be avoided, such as weather. Let’s face it, we live in Melbourne, four seasons in one day isn’t unusual, so we can often be faced with delays during the wet seasons. 

EBS plan our works schedule based on conditions and use our time efficiently to work around unreliable weather conditions.

A common hold up which can generally be avoided is amendments and variations. Ideally any changes to plans are made before construction commences to avoid delays in waiting on new plan approvals or even waiting on new products and material choices.

You’ve probably already heard about the building industry boom in the past two years and the effect it’s had on material shortages. Unfortunately, this is also one of those things that simply can’t be avoided, but an experienced builder can definitely make provisions during planning to safeguard ourselves with every project.