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Costly Mistakes to Avoid when Building Your Dream Home

Have you guessed why the terms “Costly Mistakes” and “Dream Home” are often closely phrased? The answer is simple; “Bad Decisions”

At Build Fresh, we have made it our priority to guide you towards “Well-informed Decisions” with our combination of expertise so you could rest easy throughout the process. As project managers who have been involved in various built, renovation and extension projects, we wish to draw your attention to the following aspects. Hiring a Project Manager (Best investment ever!), Selecting a Builder (Yes, A Major Priority) and Professional vs DIY Management (Leave it to the Professionals!).

We have done the research to make things easier for you!

1. Hiring a Project Manager

The role of a Project Manager is to take on the complete aspects of a project while monitoring and solving the issues that arise through the process as it is guided towards a stage of completion. A Project Manager can deliver the desired outcome due to the collective experience, which he or she has in terms of being involved with field experts ranging from Designers, Contractors, Suppliers and personnel from Local Councils. At Build Fresh we provide independent advice and project building assistance to our clients while becoming the mediator between the involved personnel. It is almost as if we provide you with a safety blanket! 

A Project Manager would advise a client on the complete project process from start to completion. Therefore, it is best to start with the basics. A feasibility study conducted by a Project Manager would be the ideal initial process for the project. This would reveal what you currently have, what you need, what you could realistically achieve with the amount that you are hoping to spend and whether it is all worth it! Yes, it is about the numbers at this stage. This would reveal labour costs, material costs, installation costs and renovation costs. What clients do not understand are these costs, which gets presented with a variety of hidden costs! 

A perfect example is getting dragged in to signing a contract, which offers an incomplete design during an initial stage. This is quite a frequent occurrence during home renovation projects. A Project Manager can help clients avoid this issue by identifying the budget and time constraints and allocating focus towards shop drawings, materials and equipment, which are provided by Contractors. The initial reviews by a Project Manager would reveal the achievability of the designs that are being proposed. Furthermore, a Project Manager would advise clients on the advantages of being all inclusive in terms of the said design details and drawings. Being all inclusive would eliminate the possibility of cost blow-outs through design review submission processes by Designers or Contractors. Additional Tip: Try to avoid hourly rates whenever possible!

At Build Fresh we help you tackle this issue altogether as we offer in house Interior Design services. Whether it is a quality carpet that you are after or a simple tile selection with interior colour schemes, we have got it covered. Professional Interior Design advice is not just a combination of colour scheme selection and a collection of dazzling Pinterest images. With the knowledge of both fields, we can advise you on the selection process in a unique manner as we know what higher specification products may be available for you at a lower price. We can suggest you the material applicability that may be within your budget while creating functionality. The finish of a higher standard product could be achieved with materials that are more cost effective. For instance, usage of glass on splashbacks to create an elegant finish could be replaced with the usage of a product such as polished stone, which adds durability and elegance to your design at a comparable price (Sometimes even cheaper!). Depending on the Interior Design trends, you might even want to consider Tiles as it would bring down the price even further.

Most clients believe that they should always consider a few opinions from different Builders. Good point. But what if we do that for you? And by that what we believe is that giving you a customized opinion that suits your situation. A Project Manager is the best person to have that conversation with! Build Fresh Project Managers will avoid building jargon and language and simplify the terms and conditions of every Industry Professional that you come across because we believe you deserve to know the whole truth!

2. Selecting a Builder

Whether it is a high-end renovation or a residential Interior Design project with a modern grey kitchen and a garden design with the inclusion of suitable deck ideas, selecting a suitable Builder for your project is always in our best interest. We have a proven record of working with award winning Melbourne extension Builders that put us ahead in the race. From a variety of the best, honest and licensed Builders in Melbourne, we will help you choose them because we know them a bit better! 

Home owners with a goal towards their perfect dream design often come across Builders and carpenters through simple google searches. Is this good enough? We believe there is a bit more to it than that. At Build Fresh we believe the selection of a Builder should not be limited to a google search, a simple recommendation and the personality of the Builder. We feel strongly about their prior experience and variety of projects, proposition of price, cashflow, building expertise, qualifications and license, and transparency as methods of selection before awarding them with your dream home project. Why? Because it is the right thing to do to avoid headaches for everyone!

It is always important for the clients to be on top of the information regarding the project. Whether you go through a Project Manager or not. However, if you select us (wink wink!), we will make sure we check on the time that is required for the Builder to present an estimate, creating a meeting schedule, whether the Builder has a background in energy efficient and sustainable designs, sustainable material usage, and many more. It is also of utmost importance to share your thoughts with the Builder on the project. If you have done your research, discuss it with them by sharing the precedent images. Ask as many questions as you wish as it helps you understand the capabilities of the Builder. If they are happy to provide references, take a step further and request a tour at a project that they have recently completed. Because Build Fresh do not rest until we are certain of quality. We do the research so that you can focus on your dream without getting exhausted!

Finally (well not really), building contract advice! It is surprising how often clients get in trouble due to overlooking the contracts that are provided by Builders. We always recommend that you take the contractual agreements seriously. Any project build, which exceeds the amount of AU $10,000 should draw up a major domestic contract. Such contracts should include all essential aspects ranging from erecting and constructing external and internal structures, renovations, alterations, extensions as well as home improvements, demolitions, and preparation of drawings and related detailed documentation. It does seem quite a bit, does it not? Build Fresh will provide the necessary advice from the selection stage of the Builder in order to avoid complications. It is imperative to draw up the major domestic contract and list your specific furniture, fixtures and equipment as well as all other design and theme related aspects in your contract. With our assistance, you would be aware of the responsibilities of each involved party (i.e. Supplying and installing major electrical appliances, bathware and tapware)

With Build Fresh assistance you can feel at ease knowing that you have done what is legally required for your project to get on with smooth sailing as a major part of the scope of works and project checklist have been pre-approved when we select the perfect match for your dream home project!

3. Professional vs DIY Management

We have saved the best for last! It is strongly advisable that you get a Project Manager in your team in order to do the heavy lifting for you. This allows you to focus on the details, which matter to your dream project as we create pathways for you to obtain them. It is not the same as referring to a sea of web searches in order to find a single answer because not even the best building blogs will have the important answers catered for your situation. We are certain that we can answer such questions!

At Build Fresh we will provide you with important information that you would not hear from friends, family members and the Builder that you are hoping to include in your project. Upon observing your requirements, we would be able to guide you on the aspects of cost savings during the build, a projected duration suitable for the build and even whether you should move out during the process (We say yes, as it is allows project tasks to be completed fast and smooth with a less stressful atmosphere for you!). The best thing about this conversation is that you get to find out our background as well! We provide you with our references, extensive experience on projects and a transparent overview of how we conduct the project from start to finish.

Not only a Project Manager will check for the licenses of Builders and Trades, they will also ensure that correct contracts are being used and their period of warranty are at 10 years. Yes, it may sound as if it is an odd fact. However, it is an important odd fact! Prior to project commencement Project Managers will ensure the state of the existing property as it would lead towards both good and bad depending on the Builder that clients hire. Therefore, Build Fresh Project Managers will ensure standards by forming checklists for building defects, building permits, town planning and council contracts. The process will include the thorough inspection of permits and preliminaries in order ensure all costs that would be included during the project, which are usually presented in the form of council fees, service provisions, taxes and stamp duty charges.

Hiring a Project Manager for your home renovation project would mean you are getting the complete package rather than you having to monitor the duties. Project Managing the project on your own could be overwhelming to most of you as there are certain aspects that you might miss out on as it is most likely your first time. Your project requires you to constantly be cost and time effective. The mistakes could even vary from National Construction Code errors to development applications. The revision works and variations could be another area what you might miss out on. Furthermore, maintaining the relationships is something that Project Managers specialise in! We have often seen how clients struggle as their Builder turns the other way halfway through the project and it is not a great look! 

Build Fresh Project Management will be on top of quality control and record keeping throughout the project. With reference to Australian Standard Codes, keeping track of project elements would be much convenient as it is the right way to conduct the tasks. Everything would be added to our project progress reports with photographic evidence as we move along the scope of works starting from day one. This is the best way of being on top of the scheduled aspects of the project (It is the best practice method to avoid disputes among project involved personnel). The comparison of pricing by different Builders and fast-tracking quotes would be the easiest method to select the correct pathway when concerned with budgets. Processes will be followed up from the initial stage rather than allocating large sums of money to a single task, which allows clients to be flexible in terms of their expenses. This type of advice is often provided by Project Managers for the benefit of the client. Council restrictions would be known before hand prior to engaging in external and internal renovations, which safeguards clients from making incorrect decisions that they regret.

It is important to realise that a well thought project by a Project Manager will be enjoyable, stress free and legal battle free in comparison to a DIY Managed project!

We hope that we were able to provide you with some guidance and answers on what you were in search of while swimming across web searches. Finally, when you are ready for that dream home project of yours, think Build Fresh!

Emily Potter is a construction Project Manager with Build Fresh with over 18 years industry experience in the Melbourne building industry on and off site of renovations, new builds, townhouse developments and high end luxury house construction.