FAQ

 

RENOVATE OR REBUILD?

To renovate, or knock down and rebuild? That is the question… Or is it? Budget and how much time you have affect your choice, but there are bigger issues at play. Here are the real questions:

Can I demolish my existing house and rebuild?

In some areas, planning laws prohibit homes of a certain age or specific historic importance being demolished or significantly changed – especially their street appearance. Check with your local council about these laws. To learn your home’s age, look at the drainage plan in your purchase contract, or pay a small fee to access council records.

How major are my requirements?

If you need lots more room, or so many changes (especially structural ones) that little of the existing home will remain, renovation may not be for you.

Is the orientation of my home generally workable?

Ideally, the sun’s light enters living areas from a north-easterly and/or northern direction. If your home faces the wrong way or the block is too small for an extension with solar access, or you’d need major structural modifications to allow northern light, think twice about investing in a renovation.

Have I checked real estate values?

The worst thing to do is overcapitalise! So please do your research and talk to local real estate agents. The amount your property could be worth after you build, compared to its value now, will help you decide which way to go. Do people prefer renovated or new homes in your suburb? Is your home already one of the most expensive, or small and less desirable, with scope to please buyers scrambling for bigger, renovated homes? What’s a new home worth? Ignore your emotions for a minute and weigh the cold, hard numbers.

Am I comfortable that renovating costs more than building from scratch?

This is the awkward truth of renovation. New homes can be built quickly, using systems and modern materials that maximise efficiency and time. Renovations use these techniques too, but transforming an existing home into a bespoke, unique-to-the-individual creation, is always more time-consuming and labour-intensive.

Have I done my due diligence?

So, you’ve decided your house is too special to knock down. The character, features, location, the way it sits in the street… Time to ask:

  • how structurally sound is my house?
  • what’s access like around, and to, my home?
  • where do the services run and what state are they in?
  • what needs repairing or replacing before renovation?

Secon Constructions will arrange site inspection and advise how much you’ll need to budget for this.

What kind of home-lover are you?

We’ve met two types of home-lovers:

Home-lover One
You love your home’s character, its history, its quirks, and the tales it tells of past owners. You’re passionate about reinvigorating what you have and adding another chapter. Reshaping, reinventing and breathing new life… You’re a renovator!

Home-lover Two
You’re attracted to a home no-one else has lived in before. You love ‘brand-new.’ Council rules, budget and building legislation may restrict your ambition, but you relish the freedom of a fresh start. You’re a new home-builder.

You can have a foot in both camps, or move between them based on where you live and your stage of life but… Deep down we all know which approach is likely to make us happiest.

At Secon, we’re passionate about helping all our customers build their perfect place.
But, at heart, we’re renovators! We love bringing new life to old homes!

WHAT KIND OF SERVICE IS PROVIDED IN A PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT?

Preliminaries contain a project description that allows a builder to assess the scope of the work
and/or provide a cost analysis. Secon can do any, or all, of these:

  • detailed land survey
  • identification survey
  • soil or geotechnical report
  • engage architect/designer for concept plans
  • engineer design
  • townplanning advice
  • other special consultant reports – i.e. fire, energy
  • locate existing services
  • cost analysis/quoting.

If you’ve only started thinking about renovation, we’ll happily do everything. If you’re well down the track, we can just review your documents and tender for your project.

CAN I USE MY DESIGN STAFF AND TRADESPEOPLE?

Communication is key to a successful project. Secon have aligned ourselves with quality contractors; experienced in working together across design, construction, engineering, and surveying. We consider our skilled tradespeople part of our team. Our contractors know how we operate and their qualities and beliefs align with ours, so projects are completed to the highest quality. Using your contractors could lead to disagreements and delays.

LIVE-IN RENOVATION OR MOVE OUT?

While it’s often cheaper to live in your house during renovation, you risk circumstances outside your control. These include things like going without electricity, gas or water. If you work from home, your daily routine also faces disruption.

We suggest moving out during construction, especially if you have young children.

AM I FINANCIALLY PREPARED FOR RENOVATION?

Secon will draw up an accurate cost estimate for your project. Sometimes, with older homes, unforeseen problems are uncovered during the building process. So allow a modest contingency fund on top of the project budget. In the best-case scenario, you’ll never use it.

WHY DON’T YOU PROVIDE A SQUARE METERAGE RATE?

Each custom-built project is unique. Standard square meterage rates may help create a starting budget, but it will be a rubbery estimate. Secon studies your plan, scope of work, special requirements, site condition, likely challenges and time constraints, to produce a meaningful quote you can trust.

OTHER BUILDERS PROVIDE A FREE QUOTE, WHY DO YOU CHARGE?

At our initial consultation, we advise whether your budget is workable. If it is, we start on your accurate, concise quote. Your job is one-of-a-kind and must be thoroughly assessed from A to Z.

Our fee-based service means we devote more time and effort than other builders to getting it right. You can be confident that your quote is meaningful and allows for unforeseen contingencies.

Our quoting fee is non-refundable. However, if you choose Secon, the fee is deducted from your contract deposit claim. Some builders offer free quotes – often based on square meterage – and make up shortfalls by lowering standards or surprising you with sudden extras. What seemed like a good deal upfront could cost way more by the end. Worse, the builder may not deliver what you thought you were getting.

HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE FOR A QUOTE?

Our fee ranges from $500 an estimate, to $3300, depending on your job’s complexity and size.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BILL OF QUANTITY
AND A BUILDER’S QUOTE?

For custom projects over $800,000, a quantity surveyor is engaged early in the design process. They produce a Bill of Quantities (BoQ) which itemises and defines a project so all tenderers have the same information. A builder’s quote is done by a builder. It may be different to a BOQ due to:

  • tendering builders’ capacity and workload
  • quality of the tradespeople employed by builders
  • market conditions at time of tender
  • differing assessments of project risk.

Each builder applies their own methodology to running a job. All Secon Constructions projects go through a rigorous quality assurance program before they are handed over to you – our customer.

WHAT ARE PRIME COST (PC) AND PROVISIONAL SUMS (PS)?

For a quote/contract to be accurate, you must define your requirements exactly – right down to details like preferred globes. Sometimes an allowance for these must be made in a tender or contract budget, before you’ve decided:

Prime cost item (PC)

Allowance for supply and delivery only of any item(s) not selected when the document was prepared; e.g. tapware, toilets etc.

Provisional Sum (PS)

Allowance for work not finalised when the document was prepared. This includes total costs for supply and installation (e.g. joinery, landscaping, heating).