“What do you mean $400K…?!” she said with a sound of disdain.
There was a long silence…
“But… our architect said it would be less than $200K… That is all we have in the budget and we have already spent over $20,000 getting it through council,” said the quivering voice on the other end of the phone.
I tried to reassure her. “What I suggest is that I put together a detailed quote with all the quantities and the costs…”
She cut me off sharply. “Look! Don’t worry, I will call around…” And just like that she was gone.
Two weeks later I get another call.
“Hi, it’s Erika. We spoke recently about our renovation and you offered to do a detailed quote? I have been requesting prices from several builders and those that have bothered to respond have not included many details. It feels like these guys are just pulling prices out of the air because they are busy and can charge what they want…”
I get calls from people like Erika all the time. The truth is that 95% of builders are honest.
And in reality putting together even a basic quote takes them a lot of time, usually after-hours time that was previously reserved for family.
In Erika’s case, she was looking to add 100 square metres to her house.
Her architect had estimated $2,000/sq mtr but that is very conservative. $2,500 is more realistic for quality workmanship and $3,200 on the high end. Then there was everything the architect had forgotten to mention in his estimation like:
Now Erika was faced with the bills for plans and a building consent on a project she couldn’t afford to complete.
This situation could have been easily avoided. Here are the five mandatory steps that anyone considering a renovation or extension must do before starting.
Find a builder
Get a concept design
Get it costed
Now you can get working drawings
There is lots to learn about renovation and when you do it, you want to do it once and do it right!
So, be honest with yourself
Keep this in mind when moving forward. Remember, free advice always costs the most.
Graham Cooper is the founder of Cooper and Cooper Renovations, who specialise in residential extensions and alterations. We know that when builders work in your home, you want a tight-knit team that you can trust and communicate with effectively. Our unique approach to cost control in the design stage enables you to move forward into your build knowing you will have a quality home to enjoy for years to come... and within your budget.
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