Steps to building your own home
This blog post is an independent piece of information for anyone who wants to build their own home in Australia.
Step 1 to building your own home
Getting your building design
The first step to Building your own home is the conception of your ideas. In my experience people who know what they want or need before they start renovating already have a good start. So make sure before you get your plans drawn up you have a fair Idea of what you wan’t. Don’t Rush ! It is important to study the preliminary plans over and over again before you submit them to council to make sure its exactly what you want. Changes or variations to the plans after council approval can be very expensive for a number of reasons.
Reason 1. Changes may have to be approved ( Draftsman, Architect, Building certifier fees )
Reason 2. Most builders charge variation fees on top of the variation work ( Especially project builders $$$$ )
Reason 3. It can stop the progress of the build ( This can affect the cash flow of all of your contractors. although it’s not really your problem it can make your project become stagnant and you may find it hard to get people back to finish things. Your contractors may charge you a little extra for the extra messing around.
Reason 4. Things such as scaffolding, toilets, fencing etc can also add to the extra cost’s
Step 2 to building your own home
Finding a designer.
There are a couple of ways you can go about this. First of all you can get a Draftsman to draw your plans for you. Not all draftsman have great knowledge of building lay outs. They can draw plans but they may not give good advice all the time on building lay outs. In my experience I have come across some great drafts people and I have also come across some that aren’t so great.
Architect’s are like drafts people who are a lot more educated on building design. They should have excellent knowledge on creating beautiful spaces and when it comes to the re sale of your home this can be a very important factor. However they come with a lot heavier price tag.
A rule of thumb. Architect’s costings have been known to go way over budget. So make sure you speak with your builder before you get your mind set on a price.
Step 3 to building your own home
Preparing your plans for approval.
Once your plans have been drawn up you will need to have them assessed by a building certifier, depending on which state you are in. Building certifiers are an important part of the building process.They approve plans and also help with Development applications when needed, by making shore your application is abiding by local and federal building regulations. They also carry out inspections to ensure that your house is being built in accordance with the National construction code ( or the BCA building code of Australia ). Depending on how busy things are this process usually takes around 6 weeks. The important thing to remember is that if council refuses your application you will need to change the plans and re submit them. You will also need to pay again.
Step 4 to building your own home
I put the costing step after the council approval step for 1 reason. Yes you can be looking for quotes whilst your plans are being approved However make sure that when you give your plans to various contractors that they are up to date . It is always good practice to use the stamped approved plans for costing because there may be important details from the engineers and assessors on the stamped plans, that may differ from the pre approved set. So once your plans have been approved send a copy to your contractors and make a note that these plans are the plans that you are using. Ask for a reply via email saying whether there will be any variations. ( you need a yes or no answer ) Also NOTE it is also imperative to only use the stamped plans once the build starts to avoid any mix ups. So once you have your stamped plans back from council make a heap of copies and throw the other pre approved sets in the bin.
Step 5 to building your own home
Whether you are hiring a builder to run the project or you are managing the project yourself the information below can be quite useful.
HINT ! I recommend using Google drive for filing emails, plans etc for my projects, it’s so easy to use and you can access any file from your smart phone. Its like Microsoft office but better and it’s free!!!!!!!! VERY VERY HANDY !!
If you a hiring a builder I suggest do not sign a contract until your plans have been approved. Let them price it but don’t sign any thing. For this reason.
- Before the contract is signed you have power to bargain.
- if you sign a contract your power to bargain has been defused.
- If you need to make changes to get approval after the signing of the contract it can can cost you unnecessary $$$ depending on what your builder is like. Put it this way I wouldn’t do it.
Always check to see whether your contractors are licensed. (By Law for any work over $3300 trades people must be licensed by their state body)
Always get email confirmation of changes, pricing and anything else that may be relevant. ( This way there is no he said she said )
Always ask for a detailed breakdown of works. ( or a scope of works ) Then compare to all of your other quotes. Make sure you are comparing apples with apples. In my experience the less there is written on a quote the more unknowns there are. I have lost count of the times I have been undercut by someone who has only done half the job. Always go over quotes with a fine tooth comb and compare the scopes of work meticulously. VERY IMPORTANT !!!!!! THIS CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS !!!!!!!
Make sure that all contractors are aware that any variations must be signed off by you before starting. Its a good Idea to to write this on your acceptance email. ( Otherwise you could be running an open cheque book)
Find contractors via Word of mouth . Maybe your friends can recommend someone preferably not a friend or family preferably, maybe someone they have used in the past. ( things can get difficult with friends, family and business )Recommendations mean happy customers, this is the no. 1 marketing tool for any business.
Find contractors in new housing estates. You can find good contractors in new housing estates. Go for a drive and walk onto a couple of jobs speaking to trades. Tradies that contract for large volume builders usually work for lower rates, who knows you may get them for the same rates they are charging the large volume builders ? I know some great Tradies who work for these type of builders and you can guarantee they will know other trades you may need. Such as plumbers electricians, roofers etc.
So that’s it for this post, please note that this is the way that I would personally do things if i were to build my own home. Some people may have different opinions regarding these topics. When you are dealing with money it pays not to leave your self open!
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