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Whether you have decided it’s time to renovate or build a new home from scratch, the concept of starting off the design and build process can feel exciting yet overwhelming.

So, where do I start?

  1. List Out Your Needs

Firstly, start off by listing out in detail the elements that are must-haves for your new home. You may even like to break these down into functional and aesthetic needs.

For example, you are renovating to accommodate the needs of your growing family – so functionality wise you will require; the addition of two bedrooms and one bathroom, and a more open planned living/dining area.

Next, do some research into the look and feel that you would like for your home design. Would you like a coastal/Hamptons look exterior that flows to the interior details such as decorative wall panelling? Or do you like the modern presentation of raw materials such as timber, concrete and stone?2.

      2. Set Your Budget

It is important to determine your budget early in the piece, so that you are aware of what costs you will be up for, and so that your Designer can work with you to create a project that will fall within your means.

Firstly, you must consider the cost of all financial aspects leading up to the build, such as design, approvals, and pre-build fees.

Secondly, what you will need to determine is a rough build cost, inclusive of all martials and labour. Your Designer may be able to help you create a ballpark figure here.

Next, don’t forget to leave yourself some financial wriggle room for unexpected costs, which can often occur during the build process – especially during extensive renovations.

Finally, you may want to roughly plan your landscaping fees for when your building project is complete. For example, will you require a new concrete driveway and/or paving, new trees, plants and/or turf?

    3. Contact Your Designer

Once you have your needs and a rough budget listed, it is time to get in touch with a Building Designer or Architect who can work with you to bring your vision to life.

Remember to consider elements such as the overall layout and functionality of each living space, and how it will fit into yours and your family’s daily life.

Here at Cullen Residential Building, we can recommend several wonderful Building Designers.

    4. Get Your Plans Approved

Once you have finalised your design plans, they may need to be lodged through your local Council for approval.

It will need to be determined whether your building plans require Development Application, or may be approved with a Complying Development Certificate.

Complying Development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward development that can be determined through a fast-track assessment by a Council or an Accredited Certifier.

Designs that do not comply with Complying Development can potentially be approved by your local Council through Development Application.

The Council allow more leniency in certain areas, whereas Complying Development is very strict, and much faster than applying through the Development Application process.

Your Designer should be able to help you determine the requirements associated with your plans, and either lodge them for approval for you or guide you through the process.

    5. Collate Your Documentation

Next, and in preparation for obtaining a quote from a builder, you will need to collate the following documentation;

  • Your approved Design Plans
  • Structural Design Plans

A Structural Designer is responsible for creating the structural designs for your build, and they will use your approved Design Plans to generate them. Ask our team at Cullen Residential Building for recommendations for local Structural Designers.

  • Basix Certificate

A BASIX certificate is obtained after completing the sustainability assessment for your project using the online BASIX assessment tool. Usually, a building professional such as your Designer or Architect will be able to do this for you. Once the design of your project has met the BASIX requirements and the fee paid, a certificate will be issued electronically as a pdf.

  • List of Specifications

Building Specifications are usually prepared by Architects, Engineers, Designers and/or Specifiers. They may be published as part of the contractual documentation for building contractors.

      6.  Seek and Select Your Builder

Like selecting a Designer, choosing your perfect builder will determine the ease and enjoyment of the whole practical process for you and your family.

When starting initial contact with builders, remember that first impression is everything. Have they returned your calls promptly? Have they arrived at your meeting on time? Or at all? Do they communicate well? Do you feel looked after?

Secondly, try to gauge if the builder has the knowledge required to undertake your project. When having initial face to face meetings with potential builders, have a set of questions ready. The way they are answered (when on the spot) will tell you a lot about the builder.

Thirdly, check on their work and past client’s satisfaction. Ask to do a walk through of a couple of their recent projects, and do your research in terms of checking references and reading company reviews.

Click here to read more on how to choose the right builder for you and your family.

Brady Cullen

Brady Cullen leads Cullen Residential Building, a Culburra Beach based team of highly experienced, local tradespeople.

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