Home' Homes : Homes 2011 Contents Scoop Publishing | WA’s Best Homes & Design 2011/12 91
Time it right
The industry shuts down at Christmas
for about a month and the run up to
the festive season is busy, so it’s a bad
time to start and cost a project. Late
January marks the start of the year and new
optimism, so it’s a good time. Winter months
can bring weather-related delays.
Keep funds aside
Don’t blow your budget. Keep
some funds aside for unexpected
costs such as unanticipated site costs
and additional rental costs if the job
runs late. How much extra should you factor
in? It’s impossible to say because every job is
different, however, the following points will
give you some cost indications.
Architects charge set fees based
on your requirements and the
level of service you’re looking
for and it may be priced as a
percentage of the building cost, on an hourly
basis or an agreed fixed price. Fees can range
from seven to 18 per cent for full services
and are much less for partial.
This depends on many factors. In
the Perth suburbs, average costs
will be from about $1200 per square
metre for a single-storey, medium
finish, brick and tile project home. It goes up
from there. For two-storey construction, the
cost for the upper-floor areas is usually about
double. If building outside Perth, add five per
cent to that for Busselton, seven to 10 per cent for
Geraldton and 45 per cent for Broome, says the
Master Builders Association of Western Australia.
These are indicative prices only and may be way
out depending on the materials and location.
Use those figures for feasibility purposes only –
test the market for actual cost estimates. Make
sure the builder’s quotes are based on the same
materials and inclusions you’re expecting.
Renovating costs start at about
$2500 per square metre, but vary
widely according to the job. Wet
areas are considerably more
expensive due to the additional trades and
work required and complexity and finishes
are the big variable. Depending on the job,
alternative accommodation might be necessary
for a period so factor that cost in.
For ballpark figures for renovation
costs go to the Australian Institute
of Architects’ A rchicentre Cost
Guide, a useful resou rce that
provides typical price ra nges for different
renovation components. Download it at www.
archicent re.com.au/cost-g uide.
Get an estimate
Early in the process get an estimate
of ‘probable cost’ of the project and
agree on this as soon as possible. Work
with an architect, designer, project
manager or builder and have an agreed cost
strategy. Bring in an independent estimator at
the beginning of a project for a second opinion.
As the job proceeds, insist on regular cost
updates from the project manager.
The maximum deposit a builder may
request before starting building work
is 6.5 per cent of the total amount
to be paid under the contract. After
building work has started, a builder can only
request a progress payment if it genuinely relates
to work already done or materials already
supplied. Visit www.buildingdisputes.
wa.gov.au for more information.
How long will it take?
How long is a piece of string? But
there are benchmark guides. New
building activity is about 20-30 per
cent below peak levels of a couple
of years ago so once the builders are on-site
standard times for a single-storey home are 24
to 25 weeks compared with 40 weeks during the
boom. However, if building an architect-designed
home, it can take longer, about 18 months from
start to finish. Renovations, of course, are
dependent on what they entail. Experts
warn to add a fudge factor to this.
Be honest about your budget
Don’t withhold your true
budget from an architect or
builder. Good relationships
are based on trust so it’s best
to reveal the true size of your budget initially.
Get a property inspection
Before you renovate, get a
property inspection - it can
be a saving grace. There are
companies that specialise in
this. About one third of homes are said to have
big hidden faults that can cost thousands to fix.
What you discover may make you modify your
plans. Forewarned is forearmed.
Look to the future
Think long-term benefit
versus short-term saving
when deciding what you can
afford. Features that enhance
resale value, make life more comfortable
and reduce household bills are likely worth
paying more for initially. This mainly relates to
sustainable initiatives (see our Shades of Green
feature on page 100).
“Clients do themselves
a great disservice by
understating their budget
when the true budget can
lead to a rethink of the
whole design, and then
it’s often too late.”
Planning & budgeting
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