Frequently Asked Questions

Renovating or building requires foresight, ingenuity and good planning. Most of all, you need to be informed about what you are legally required to do and understand as much as possible about the process. The more you understand the more questions you can ask and make an informed decision. Here are some links to sites to start your building journey.

Check out the great guides for renovators, inspirational galleries and Q&As to help you through the renovation/building process.

Queensland Building & Constructions Commission (QBCC)
qbcc.qld.gov.au

The QBCC is a regulator in the building industry. Their role is to ensure your rights are protected. You can conduct licence searches on builders, certifiers and contractors. They can assist with dispute resolutions and other issues. They are responsible for the Home Warranty Insurance – Click here to find out more.

Housing Industry Australia (HIA)
housinglocal.com.au

The HIA has put together some very useful information for consumers. Their building and renovating sections have some good articles on what you need to do to get started and to make sure you are well informed along the way.

Check out the great guides for renovators, inspirational galleries and Q&As to help you through the renovation/building process.

  • How do I choose a builder for my style of home?
    • There are hundreds of builders in South East Queensland alone. The best way to narrow down your search is to choose a builder that suits your style of home, your approach and your budget.

      If you are planning on building a standard brick veneer home, project home builders who specialise in this style might be more cost-effective.

      If you have an unusual block or want a custom build then you should seek a specialist builder. Not all builders are geared up to do custom builds. Renovations of Queenslanders or predominantly timber homes also need delicate handling and tend to come with their own set of unique challenges. Working with timber is a specialist area and it’s best to use builders who know how to do extensive timber work.

      To really gauge the quality of a builder’s work, check out his past projects. What style are these? Have a good look at the finish and craftsmanship. Do they have a quality finish or is the work incomplete and inferior.

      Also consider, how does the builder come across on the telephone or in person? Will you be able to communicate with him and his staff? Building or renovating can be a long stressful process and a relaxed, approachable builder will make the journey so much more enjoyable.

  • How do I know if the builder I choose can handle the job?
    • Always ask the builder how many projects they have on at the one time and how many are planned for the near future. This will give you an idea of their work schedule and if they are juggling too many projects which may mean less attention and time for your home.

      Find out how many permanent staff the builder has to oversee and carry out the work. If a builder is not resourced properly, there could be long delays in getting work done.

      Inadequate supervision may cause communication issues and poor management of worksites. Be wary of builders who use only contractors and don’t have a stable team of workers.

  • How do I know what is a fair price for my project?
    • Building and renovation quotes can vary greatly from builder to builder. Design and engineering plans are required for builders to quote accurately. If you don’t have these, then the best a builder can provide is an educated guess – this is not a quote.

      To obtain a detailed comprehensive quote, builders will need full design and engineering plans, and specifications of fixtures and fittings.

      Always obtain at least three quotes from licensed builders. Select builders who specialise in the same style of house as yours. This way you can be confident that they have the expertise and workforce to renovate or build your style of home.

      If the builders’ quotes vary greatly ask why. Go through each quote with each builder to ensure they have correctly interpreted the work required, and have chosen fittings and fixtures of similar quality.

      If you have underestimated the cost of renovating or building, consider carrying out the work in stages. This is a preferable option rather than choosing the cheapest quote, especially if you are hit with hidden charges at the end or worse a poorly finished and inferior quality house.

      So choose the builder who will provide you with the highest quality house at a fair price and in a reasonable time-frame.

  • Do I need an architect or a drafting service only?
    • Choosing whether to use an architect or drafting service depends on three key issues:

      • how much detail you require in your plan,
      • how much time and experience you have in managing construction projects, and
      • your budget for professional services.

      An architect will take your vision right through from design to finish. The architect will project manage all aspects of the build, including approvals and certifications, from start to finish taking the pressure off you if you are time poor and inexperienced.

      By using an architect you will have a professional to guide through the entire project and oversee all aspects of the renovation or new build. They can assist with all the construction details right down to colours and tap fittings and take some of the stress out of the project.

      If you have an understanding of construction and have time to project manage, then using a drafting service is a cost-effective option.

      A drafting service can provide you with a set of plans that specify the structural specifications of your project. It will then be your responsibility to work with the builder and other professionals such as cabinet makers to design and choose the fixtures and fittings. This can be very exciting and rewarding experience but one that requires time.

  • How do I brief an architect or drafting service?
    • A good way to start is to do your research first.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

      • Find out exactly how much you can afford to spend. Acquire a loan pre-approval, so you won’t be caught out.
      • Set a realistic budget for your new build or house renovation project.
      • Enquire about local government/ planning or engineering restrictions that will impact on the design.
      • Draw a list of your top 5 “Must Haves” – these are generally considered non negotiable.
      • Draw a secondary list of “Niceties” – these are “wish” items which can be added as per your budget.
      • Ask for a cost per square metre based on your budget and your top 5 “Must Haves”.

      Finally we recommend being flexible in design and choice of materials as these will give your architect/drafting service and builder room to manoeuvre and meet your budget and overall goals.

  • Do I need approval for my renovation from the Brisbane City Council?
  • Where do I find the latest pool regulations?
  • What are some of the lastest design trends?
    • Trends are changing all the time and ultimately it will come down to personal style and taste. But remember you may not be the last owner and ideally any renovation should only increase the value of your home.  As a general rule, choose neutral backgrounds and materials that can be amplified with your own signature pieces and furnishings.  Opt for quality over quantity and use materials that have classic appeal and will stand the test of time.  We have a strong network of suppliers especially for bathrooms and kitchens who can help you decide what will work best and what is trending.  Of course, we have renovated many houses for clients and a few for ourselves, so we have a good handle on what will work.

      Review these websites for design trends and be inspired.

      Houzz.com.au

      Home ideas from RealEstate.com.au

      Renovation advice from Domain

      Design trends from Better Homes and Gardens

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