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Building an extension to our house - some advice please

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by guggle, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    My wife and I have taken delivery of plans from our draftsman for a 2nd storey extension to our house. In the next few weeks we'll be contacting some builders to get some quotes for the works.

    We're asking for any advice people here are willing to give about how to deal with builders, what to be wary of, questions to ask them, and any experiences you'd care to share with us. We've never dealt with builders before so anything people can offer would be greatly appreciated..

    Cheers, Michael.

  2. I haven't dealt with builders myself, but know a fair few who have gone the building route for their new home...all have advised to get a building surveyor out to make sure the builder is building everything to regulations. Not sure if it is the same with extensions but I'd assume it wouldn't be too far off in differences.

    One of my friends got his house built and got a surveyor to come out at different stages. It cost him a fair bit of money but in the end it paid off. His plumbing was wrong which required re-routing of the hot water service, bricks over hanging slab, some frames were put together incorrectly (I don't know how they could have gotten that wrong) and some other minor things. In paying for a surveyor, he had saved himself double the drama later on.
  3. knock down rebuild bloke, the say its cheaper :)
  4. We did a reno 14 years ago.

    Never trust a builder who wears a tie. They are really salesmen. I went with the middle quote out of 3. Let the builder make a profit and he'll probably be there to complete the job. Don't try and screw them down to the last dollar and you'll more likely get a quality job.

    Have your shit together. Don't let the builder be waiting for your decision on which tiles, tap ware etc.

    Don't yell at the builder. It won't help and will most likely make it worse.

    Having a building surveyor is a good idea.
  5. we had an extesnion doen about hmmm 14 years ago, we were one of 25 projects dumped by the prick, claimed 'broke/bankrupt' on the friday with master builders started new company under the other 'license' and just went about doing new business under a new campany name and the c*nt got away with it, good thing he had insurance at the time..
    Renno's is a huge marriage test!! Goz has a point, knock the farker down and put a new home on the block!! rent for 6 or 12 months so your life isnt disrupted. Good luck in what ever you choose, hope it goes smoothly..
  6. Get a fixed price quote (hope your draftsman is good) and if its a substantial build get a project manager.
  7. Assume since you haven't mentioned it that you are funding the renovations yourself, so therefore no bank involved. This means you control the progress claims. Surveyor is a definite, would suggest archicentre, they will give you a quote for their inspections, they have the appropriate insurance, are registered etc etc.

    Be careful of PC (prime cost) sums in the contract. If builder (he is registered right & has insurnace himself?) has quoted these too low, to make the whole job look cheaper they can blow the budget. Things such as tiles are a common one. Builder may quote tiles $50sqm metre, but nothing you like is under $80sqm, doesn't sound ,much but if you've got 50 sqm of tiling, there's another $1,500 to find.

    Would also suggest a retention clause in the contract. If builder is confident of his work, shouldn't be an issue. Commercial terms would be 5% of the contract payable 12 months after completion. Residential, if you can get 5% or even 2.5% for 30 days take it.

    Also if there are appliances involved for a say a kitchen, you can order and pay for these yourself, which would reduce the builders mark up or margin. Some places like Clive Peeters for instance, let you order the stuff (and sometimes only pay % upfront -depends on $$), store it in their warehouse and then you just have to let them know week before delivery is required and pay the balance then. If you have already picked out the items you can give builder specifications for any cabinets etc.

  8. http://www.news.com.au/business/not-so-e-e-easy-clive-peeters-collapses/story-e6frfm1i-1225868963331
  9. Yep, sorry about that, they were the people I used on my last private renovation. Working in commercial field these days. Harvey Norman or any others should offer the same deal - just ask, at very least you can get them to hols stuff for later delivery.

    One other thing......ask for names/addresses of people the builder has done work for. If he can't provide at least 3 that you can go check out...........run
  10. I am in my final year at uni of my Building and Construction management degree which qualifies me for building basically anything ( unrestricted builders license ) . I will also be a qualified quantity surveyor. I also teach construction at the university to first year students

    All I will say is that some things here said by others are accurate and some are not.
    Please do not ask me any more.
  11. Hi Michael,
    Have just come through an upstairs extension. It will test your marriage especially if there are kids involved.
    Make sure that your plans have everything on there that you require. Any variation that is required will cost you. This where the builder makes his cream.
    Source your own PC items it will save you money in the long run. Best to have these sourced very early on. Make sure when the builder does his quote to give you an exact list of PC items, not just a generalisation. (we got stung here)
    Make sure you understand the contract.
    Make sure all communication is confirmed in writing (email).
    When you sign the contract make sure the payment schedule is method A.
    Don't be afraid to ask questions, to make sure you know what's going.
    Don't get to friendly with him, he is your employee not your mate.
    I wish you all the best.
    PM and I will tell you the builder NOT to use.
  12. Wow. What a self absorbed post!

    Op, you may find some useful anecdotes in here...
  13. Dunno about self-absorbed but I did wonder why post if you're not prepared to answer questions based on your "inside knowledge".
  14. simple answer - as I am not yet licensed by the bureaucracy I do not believe I should recommend anything

    same as the disclaimers you see about people saying "this is not to be taken as legal advice "
  15. OP, have you got your engineering done yet? Builders can't even give you a ball park figure without engineering specs. Our builder talked to our selected engineer at the beginning. The result was we went to a different engineer who redesigned to job much more economically.
    (Engineering took MONTHS though!).

    Oh, and If a builder quotes really high, it means he's too busy to do your job. Find another one.
  16. Well if I was the OP after Takamii's post saying, "Some people here are right, some are wrong but I won't tell you which ones", I would be confused as all fuck.

    Nice one.
  17. the best advice has been to engage an independent third party professional to act as your superintendent on the job.

    This superintendent will be the one that gives the yay or nay for any progress claims made by the builder.

    The superintendent must act fairly though - their position is not one of "working for you to screw the builder down" however they will also not let the builder get away with shonky work.

    Sure this adds to the cost of the work but will give you peace of mind

    Dont do a design/construct contract with a builder - if you do you will pay a lot more as the builder will put margins on everything.

    Do a construct contract only based on payment by progress claims approved by your superintendent - this way you are the one financing which means builders margin will be lower.

    If you engage a competent architect / engineer for design they can then be the superintendent through the job

    all depends how big a job it is and its value as to your best course of action.

    Quantity surveyors also make great superintendents due to really knowing the value of works and materials - they can price the job up based on the engineer design and then you can put it out to tender - the QS will then advise who is on the ballpark and who is trying to put you over a barrel.
  18. Also, every building project runs over time. Expect that. There should be penalties in the contract for late completion. We chose not to enforce them in our case because they were entirely outside of the builder's control.
  19. I'm involved with a lot of major projects (2M - 30M)- but the principles are the same. Definitely negotiate a witholding fee, definitely consider some project management if you are spending significant money - and importantly, get references from the builder and check them.

    Takamii is right about a QS. They are not expensive in the scheme of things and can save you a lot of money.
  20. Thanks for all the advice peoples!!

    Our draftsman arranged for the engineering spec's, soil tests, and energy reports.

    We'll definitely being arranging for a surveyor/building inspector!