We already know that kitchens, bathrooms and laundries are the most expensive parts of a home to add or update, but the cost of renovating can quickly add up even when it is a simple extra bedroom or games room at the back.
New homes have fewer complications to overcome, and builders generally start with a ‘clean slate’. Existing homes are more difficult, with little surprises such as services running directly beneath the proposed extension area that require diversion, a discontinued brick that would be impossible to match, or very narrow site access that means every component needs to be carried to the area of the work piece by piece!
So what question do builders get asked most often and find hardest to answer? “What is your square metre rate?”
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not to have well documented plans and specifications. One builder may quote $2,500.00 per m2, whilst another has included all finishes and quoted $4,000.00 per m2 for the same project. It may not be until well into the project that you realise that the items excluded from the price will incur much higher costs when done after handover, for instance additional light fittings and power points, air-conditioning, and painting.
Depending on the vintage of your home, and the extent of the planned renovation, building costs can vary significantly. A number of factors are important to consider when you are planning a renovation or addition to your existing home:
1. Site conditions and soil types
2. The size of the renovation (small additions tend to be more expensive – when broken down to a m2 rate than larger ones).
3. Style of building – are you matching existing ceiling heights and materials?
4. Where on your site are you building? How easily can materials be ferried to the area? Are you proposing a second storey? Are you building up to the boundary?
5. Access to the site for work and for material delivery or storage. If your site is restricted, your builder may need to stagger deliveries, so the cost of materials is greater due to additional transport.
6. Finishes, selections and features can vary the price of work significantly.
7. Builder inclusions – check the fine print!
8. Existing building modifications required. The home may need to be rewired, or roof design modified to make way for additions.
It is realistic to budget between $2,500.00 – $4,000.00 m2 for a simple addition (bedroom or games room). When adding kitchens, bathrooms or laundries, the rate increases due to the additional inclusions and trades required, and depends heavily on the finishes and selections you make.
Once you have a true picture of how much your renovation will cost, and how much value it would add to your property, then you can decide if renovation is the right decision for you. Include in your calculations the amount of time you might need to find alternative accommodation whilst the works are being done, as it is not always possible to remain in the home as power and water disconnections can be inconvenient.