As it comes to the time of year where people take breaks from work and spend more time with their families, or more relaxed time around the home, it’s generally the time where you start to think about your plans for the new year. That extension to your home might enter your mind again because you’re tired of not being able to comfortably entertain your guests, or you may reconsider your options for building a new home because you’re sick of hearing your kids argue in their shared bedrooms… or simply because you’re growing out of your home.
Whatever it may be, BEFORE you make the call on what it is you want to do, we can’t stress enough that you know your BUDGET. Know what it is you have to spend BEFORE meeting with your designer or builder. You don’t want to go through the whole process of designing something that looks great, it’s big, it’s got all that you ‘want’ and then get to the building stage and your quotes are coming back as figures way out of your budget. Not only is that a waste of time and money, but it’s going to cost more again in redesigning.
You also don’t want to go to your designer or builder with your absolute maximum figure that you’ve got to spend. Be reasonable and safe. Understand that sometimes unexpected construction costs may arise (especially in extensions due to findings upon commencement of works), or you may REALLY want that Caesar stone benchtop when you thought you’d be ok settling on Laminex. Leave yourself some room for play if need be, don’t max yourself out upon the acceptance of a building quote (and be weary of hidden costs with some builders – especially in the base/slab stage).
It’s important that you feel comfortable with your designer. You want to be able to ask all the questions you may think are silly, but in actual fact are questions that are putting you at ease about where you’re spending your money. It’s also important that your designer has an understanding of these four things: 1. Your budget 2. Your needs 3. Your lifestyle 4. Your wants. Upon meeting with your designer, these are the four things that are important to cover to ensure you’re wasting minimal time on going back and forth with the design (time is money) and that the design meets your brief. The reason ‘Your wants’ is number 4 is because the designer will work with your budget to first suit your ‘needs’ for your ‘lifestyle’ according to your ‘budget’ and then can incorporate the ‘wants’ if there is allowance for it.
As designers and builders, we like to offer an estimate budget quotation for the construction works at the preliminary design stage before finalising the architectural working drawings. It’s only an estimate as until final design elements are completed ie. engineering, soil test reports, energy rating reports, client specifications etc., a firm quotation cannot be given. In saying that, we like to tell our clients to allow approximately 10-20% from the budget price as a guide so they can do their rough calculations according to the preliminary design before taking things further.
Therefore, before doing anything, know how much money you’ve got to work with. There’s no point spending money on designs that are out of your reach then having to rework and rework designs until they are anywhere near your budget. Make sure you and your designer are on the same page and, finally, look at getting an estimate construction quote prior to finalizing your design and architectural drawings.