5 Tips For Your House Extension Budget

Keep Your House Extensions Below Budget

Are you considering renovating or extending your home? This can be an enormous journey and research definitely helps when it comes to budget control and a smooth project. More often than not, budget blow-outs occur due to insufficient planning prior to construction. These 5 tips are a great starting point to controlling your budget.

1. Demolition

Demolition can be a very expensive exercise during a renovation. Although it seems simple, demolition can be very touchy, time consuming and costly. Whether it is due to removal of a load bearing wall or “opening a can of worms” and finding many other issues within the existing dwelling that require repair or attention, demolition can be a headache.

If you are trying to achieve a house extension within budget, where possible we advise that demolition is kept minimal. It is not thought of this way although removing a wall is not so simple. In some cases it requires propping to carry loads above, installation of new flooring, ceilings and electrical/plumbing re-configurations.  By increasing the amount of trades required the expense rises again.

2. Allowances or “Inclusions/Variables”

It is very important to decide on the inclusions you require and their costs. Many house extensions begin as a “quick job” that is quoted $60,000 only to end up costing $100,000. This happens very often and if budget is tight and a real concern, then it is highly recommended that you understand the inclusions offered to you.

When seeking builder’s quotes, take time assessing the inclusions, exclusions and variable rate. For example, if the tiles you like for your bathroom are $40 per square metre and the builder’s quote is estimated at $20 per square metre, the $20 difference per square is then added on to the final price listed on the quote, along with the profitable “variable” rate that is added on.

This can be easily solved by visiting showrooms, warehouses and suppliers to understand the price range your selected items lie in as well as preparing a detailed inclusions list with your builder or general contractor.

3. Extra Work

A renovation is a great time to update existing features of the existing home such as old flooring, old wall finishes, lights, kitchens/bathrooms, cabinetry and the rest. Not including this in your plans or requirements to your builder can become a shocking and nasty surprise when you mention it later on.

This is due to the fact that timing is crucial on site and supplies/stock must be prepared when necessary as there are many factors builders work on such as booking in of trades, meetings on other sites etc.

If you are planning to update any of the existing elements of your home, add it to your plans/specifications/inclusions! Don’t forget the cost to demolish/remove these elements.

4. Construction Efficiency

Where possible, minimising the amount of trades that will be on site is a great way to cut down on costs. Although this is a fairly limited option, it can be used in scenarios where, for example, a timber framed floor was considered. By changing this to a concrete floor you save the concrete truck from coming back the second time as well as removing the need for a carpenter to prepare the timber floor, which is labour intensive and time consuming.

Another great factor to consider increasing the efficiency of your renovation is to keep plumbing stacks in line. As seen in most project home builds, plumbing is usually in one straight line and bathrooms above are designed to be directly/very closely above.

Standard products and faster construction methods are also a cost saver, such as a truss roof. Using a prefabricated roofing structure that is built off site and transported to the site, ready for use, can save lots of on-site labour (which can be intense due to natural conditions). On a construction site, time is money. Standard products for your house extension can still achieve a modern and classy look with careful attention to detail. For the use of custom products, be ready for extra costs.

5. Lighting Inclusions

One of the less mentioned categories is lighting. Most quick quotes for renovations do not include in depth items such as light fittings or extra lighting, but a standard light and power point per room.

Custom lighting designs or detailed electrical work should be noted early on in the piece and shown in the form of a plan, sketch or at least photograph. Be sure to check the inclusions your builder has provided regarding lighting!