Whether you’re planning to add an extension to your existing house or creating your forever home, a building project of any size is a big deal.

While renovating is an exciting time, it takes a bit of leg work and attention to detail in the early stages before diving into the hard hat work. But, if you set yourself up properly, with a clear plan in mind, you will save loads of time and money in the long run.

To help make the process smooth and simple, we’ve pulled together the ultimate renovation planning guide to start you off on the right foot.

Here are four essential steps to follow before the trades get on the tools:


1. Design

The design process is an exciting step, it’s essentially your first glimpse at what will become of your extension, but it can also be a little overwhelming. Narrowing down your style, inspiration, relocating your floor plan or even figuring out how in depth this extension will be – it’s a lot.

You may have an architect or draftsperson on deck, ready to help you with the initial design and drawing process, if not, we can help. We can recommend experienced and reputable designers we have previously worked with.

Having a discussion with a professional builder before progressing with your plans will be valuable to the planning stage, their advice is fundamental to the whole process.

The appointed designer will create draft plans and working drawings, ready to submit to the council or private Building Surveyor.


2. Planning and permission

Before diving into council submissions, there are a few extra bits and pieces you’re required to organise first. In most cases, your designer will be able to advise whether you need to acquire town planning permits. You will also need to consider a building permit, and engage an engineer to provide engineering computations and drawings.

Once you have ticked off the above and we are getting the okays we need to proceed, you will be required to get a soil report, energy rating report and bushfire attack level (BAL) report.


3. Budgets

Establishing a budget is an essential part of any building project, and the chances are you will be faced with this question a few times over. Your appointed designer and builder will need a clear understanding of your budget in order to work towards your goal. It is important to be realistic, not stretching yourself too far to leave you high and dry and unable to complete the extension. Your budget will provide clarity and match your expectations from the beginning. It will also save you time and money in the long run, by avoiding making any alterations to existing plans which will come at a fee and a time halt waiting on approvals.

For more clarity on budgeting, check out this article.

4. Choose the right builder

Selecting the right fit for the job is a tough decision, but very simply comes down to a few ticks of approval.

a. Reputation

First and foremost, you want to choose a reputable builder. Whether they have been referred to you or you’re basing your selection off Google reviews and past client testimonials, you can have confidence in your choice. Most reputable builders will showcase the great commentary they’ve received from happy customers, and you will be able to get a good understanding of the builders work ethic after reading a few. Asking for references will also provide a great insight into the company you’re looking to engage, hearing about first hand experience is second to none.

b. Industry and project experience

There is no harm in doing your research to see how busy your prospective builder has been and what kind of experience they’ve had.

Checking out some of their past projects will also give you a good insight into their workmanship and abilities as a builder.

Be sure to enquire about how many jobs they have on the go, their future works and how many past projects they have been involved in to get an understanding of how involved in the industry they really are.

c. Professionalism

You will be able to get a clear idea of a builder at your first consultation, getting a good vibe on first impression is important.

If a step-by-step process is outlined in the project brief, along with extra information about what is required to get the most out of your project and experience, you can be sure you’re in good hands.

Having transparency and complete clarity will save you from asking a million and one questions and eliminate any confusion throughout the project.

Following these few steps will have you on the right track to starting your project. Once you’ve made your choice on your designer and builder and you’re working towards getting your planning and permissions in check, don’t forget to enjoy the journey!