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Saving Your Project Budget | Splitting out Kitchens and Bathrooms from Builder’s Work

Are you thinking that you can save money by managing the kitchen and bathrooms yourself, and getting the builder to finish at lock-up?

Watch the video for my tips to avoid getting into trouble (and it costing you more $$ than you planned!)

And here’s the transcript, if you prefer reading to watching …

Hello, I wanted to chat to you about something that I see a lot of people do. They do this to …

  • trying to save money
  • trying to get a handle on their budget more accurately
  • trying to eliminate builders margin
  • control their project more effectively

It’s this idea of getting a builder to do the work to either lock up – so basically getting all the internal linings done, and the place secure and weather proof.

And then managing everything from that point on … so kitchens, bathrooms, and joinery, and all of those types of things.

I see a lot of homeowners tackle this idea as a cost-saving strategy. They’ll also tackle it as a means of being able to sort of getting prices from a lot of different kitchen designers, or bathroom designers, and suppliers, in an effort to try and kind of compare apples with apples. Because sometimes it can be difficult to understand exactly what a kitchen is going to cost when you look at a builder’s quote because it’s split up slightly differently.

So, I want to share a couple of things that are pitfalls that you need to be aware of if this is what you are planning to do for your project.

Because if you don’t know these things going in, it’ll get you into trouble down the track.

So what you need to understand is that, you’ll go through your design process and you’ll get all of your town planning approvals that you might need, and then you’ll get your building approval, or your construction certificate, to be able to commence construction.

And then part of actually achieving your building approval, or your construction certificate final sign off and being able to move back in, is getting a private certifier or building inspector or somebody from your council (it will depend on where you live). There will be a person who then comes at different points to inspect the work, or needs to see certificates that the work has been executed and completed to meet legislation, to a certain building standard.

All of this paperwork and all of this process gets gathered up to complete your building approval and say that your building has been built according to Australian standards and building regulations – and according to the town planning approval that you achieved for it – and the house is ready for you to move back into.

Now, what the challenge is, is that bathrooms and kitchens, in particular, they’re areas where a lot of coordination is required. So what do I mean by this? Well, what I mean is that there’s a lot of trades that will need to sleeve in and out.

So they’ll need to come, do their work, leave, come back again, do more work, leave. And that can happen with electrical, with plumbing, with the joiners, with the plasterboard guys, with whoever is doing your splash-back or your stone bench tops or whatever you’re choosing in that regard.

And it’s literally this really intense level of workflow that has these people stepping in and out of it.

Now if you’ve got a builder who is including your kitchen and your bathrooms as part of their scope of works to deliver, then, of course, they’ll manage all of that.

If you’re going to outsource those chunks of work to other contractors and leave the builder out of it and just get the builder to do a certain amount of work, then somebody is going to need to coordinate all of that workflow.

And the challenge is understanding where the builder’s work stops and where these people’s work starts, and particularly in regards to your approval so that you don’t get caught up.

Because something like plumbing, for example … the plumbing will go in behind all the walls, all the waterproofing will go on for a bathroom, for example. The wall lining will go on the interior of that room, the plumbing will then be brought through, all of your tiling and all your fixtures and all of those things will go in, and then the plumbing will need to be fit off, so tapware can actually go on.

And the plumber basically certify that all of that work has been done and the waterproofing is being maintained, and all of that is up to standard.

And then that’s the point that you actually get your certification finalised for that room.

But if that’s not happening with the one builder, then what happens with it? Who manages that, who executes that for you, and how does that get coordinated so that you can tidy up all your approvals and know that they’re being done properly?

The other thing is, in understanding where the builder’s work stops and where these other people’s work starts is also in understanding your quotes and your costs.

I see a lot of homeowners really stumble on this because they’ll have assumed that a certain piece of work was included in somebody’s package of works, or they’ll have not even known that that piece of work needs to occur.

So the trade will turn up on site and say, ‘Well this hasn’t been done, we need this done before we can do our work, you need to get this person in,’ and it’s an extra cost that you didn’t anticipate.

So if you are thinking about doing this with your project: Getting the builder to finish work to a certain stage and then getting other contractors in that you’ll manage to try and finish off these spaces and places in your home,

  • then make sure that you understand the workflow overall, and
  • how these two things will work together

so you don’t get caught out with gaps for extra trades and extra costs and things like that that you haven’t anticipated.

And two, understand your approvals. Understand how you’ll still achieve all of your required sign-offs for construction certificate or for your building approval so that you do, at the end of the day, have an approved home. That you’re able to move back into it and that it’s all done and dusted and all the paperwork is sorted out.

I hope that helps if you have any questions pop them in the comments below and just go in eyes wide open.

That seems to be the Undercover Architect motto right?

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