Learn how to simplify the construction of your new build or renovation – and stay sane!
NOTE: At the time this podcast episode was recorded, Manage Your Build was a standalone, self-study program for homeowners to use during the construction of their new home or renovation. It now sits inside, HOME Method, which is my flagship online program. You can learn more about HOME Method here >>> CLICK HERE
You don’t have to spend a lot of time looking to find disaster stories when it comes to the construction phase. It’s where most homeowners experience challenges.
So many homeowners walk blindly into signing contracts, not realising how significantly they obligate themselves … in time, money and by law. They don’t protect themselves or understand what should happen next.
To be frank, it’s where things begin to go seriously wrong in projects.
This, followed by not having an understanding about the sequence of construction, and working with a builder who doesn’t have systems in place, or shows any accountability to timelines and budget, or keeps communication open and regular … well, it’s not long before things go pear-shaped during the build or your new home or renovation.
So, in this episode, I’ll be talking about how to avoid that when overseeing construction of your new home or renovation.
Manage Your Build is an online course to help you simplify the construction of your new home or renovation, and maintain your sanity! (It lives inside HOME Method).
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
Working with me in this course is Duayne Pearce. Long-time listeners of the podcast will be familiar with Duayne … he’s been a guest here in Season 4, and he also co-hosted with me for Season 7. He’s a fantastic guy, a builder with extensive experience in building and renovating family homes, and loves sharing his knowledge to improve your experience as a homeowner, and the building industry overall.
Manage Your Build covers the construction phase of your project, and lives inside my flagship online program, HOME Method. From the point of signing your contract with your builder, through seeing your new home or renovation get constructed, to the builder finishing and you being able to move into your finished home!
Homeowners focus a lot of attention on that construction phase, and they often mistakenly think it represents the whole process. There are actually 4 stages to any project … regardless of where you’re located, how much you’re spending, and what type of project you’re doing. They are:
- Before you begin your project (or Pre-Design Phase)
- Getting your design right (or Design Phase)
- Before you build your project (or Pre-Build Phase)
- Getting your project built (or Build Phase)
Manage Your Build dives into the nuts and bolts of Stage 4 – Getting your project built.
I see homeowners get really focused on this stage when thinking about their new home or renovation project. They’re thinking about
- The builder they’ll choose
- How they’ll find one that’s reliable
- How long the construction process will take
- Where they’ll live in the meantime – especially if renovating – and cover that cost whilst paying for construction
- How they’ll not get ripped off with a poor quality build or a dodgy builder
- What materials, fixtures and finishes they’ll choose
- What their finished home will look like
And in that process, they leave behind some really essential considerations that can cause massive headaches and budget blowouts on site, and expose them, their project, and their finances to huge risk. And they can be boxed into a corner, with a half-finished home and a builder holding them to ransom.
I see homeowners get themselves in a lot of trouble, not knowing who holds responsibility, how legally they might be obliged because of the contract conditions, and leaving it all too late to do anything about the situation.
When you’re in the construction process of your new build or renovation, time is of the essence. The whole nature of construction is that it’s a sequence of activities and people that need to occur in a specific order, within specific timeframes.
If work gets delayed, if things get done in the wrong order, then you can not only run into cost and time issues … you can lose the opportunity to have things the way you want them in your home. And there are SO MANY moving parts and people … it is a complex process, particularly if yours is a one-off project.
Other potential expensive and stressful headaches during construction include:
- Thinking your builder is also your Project Manager
- Your builder not having solid cashflow for your project
- You and your builder not understanding or following the contract
- A project doesn’t have structure to it … so no weekly meetings, no communication systems and no regular reporting on cashflow and timelines.
I just got fed up with seeing them happen time and time again. And so many homeowners I speak to are going directly to a builder, and running the whole project from that first selection, using the builder’s draftspeople etc, which means that your builder selection becomes even more essential.
You … you are the key to your project being a success, because you’re choosing the people you work with. It’s your money, months, sometimes years out of your life, and the home you’ll be living in. So, it’s far too important to just blindly roll along with it.
Manage Your Build will teach you, from the point of view of a builder, Duayne, and me as your architect and secret ally, what to expect and demand during the construction of your new home or renovation.
Stage by stage, it outlines what will be happening, who will be involved, what you’ll need to have done first, when selections need to get made so you don’t run out of time, and how to check progress along the way. All so you can stay proactive, confident you’re getting what you’re paying for, and that you’ll end up with the home you’ve been working towards.
So, who is Manage Your Build not for?
This one is a tricky one, because I think that anyone building or renovating their home needs to know this information because it helps you understand what’s happening during the construction of your home, for your money, and also enable you to keep tabs on anyone you’re working with, even if you’re not overseeing your project yourself.
However, if you’re working with a seriously experienced architect who will be overseeing your build, and who has managed extensive builds and has a reputation for delivering on time and budget, then you may not need to be actively involved and can trust the process to them.
If construction is well underway, then this course is not for you either … definitely if you’re past the Frame Stage, as there’s most likely little opportunity for you to catch anything at this point.
And if you’re doing a small project, like a kitchen or bathroom renovation, Manage Your Build is probably overkill for you.
And if you’re joining Manage Your Build thinking it will teach you about everything that happens before commencing construction, like choosing your designer and working with them, or getting council approval for your project – that’s not what Manage Your Build is about. Manage Your Build is about the construction process itself. What happens in choosing a builder, signing your contract with them, ensuring you have the best package of drawings and information to commence construction, and then seeing your new home or renovation get physically built on site … stage by stage.
And if you’re an Owner Builder hoping this will teach you how to lay a slab, and build a house frame, Manage Your Build is not the course for you.
Let’s talk now about who Manage Your Build is for …
If you’re planning on commencing construction on your new build or renovation project sometime in the next 2 years, then it’s a great time to do this course. This is because as well as teaching you what happens during construction, we also teach you about the key things to have in place before you sign your contract with your builder so you minimise the risk of budget and time blowouts on site.
If you’re planning on running the project yourself, directly dealing with your builder, then Manage Your Build will be perfect for equipping you to do that. Joining before you enter builder negotiations and sign a contract is ideal, but even if you’ve already signed your contract, it’ll be great to upskill yourself so you can monitor progress during construction and catch anything before it runs away from you.
And if you’re an architect, builder or tradesperson, this is also a great course for you. We’ve had a few builders joining, because we’ve collated some great checklists for different project stages and they’ve been able to implement them in their own businesses. Duayne speaks honestly about how he got caught out years ago from not following projects according to their contract, and so
If you’ve listened to Season 7, The Stages of Home Construction, you may be familiar with some of what I’m speaking about here. In that season, I shared a taste of Duayne and my discussions about the stages of home construction. The podcast season represents about 25% of what’s inside Manage Your Build. So, lets go through now, what’s included, so you can understand more about the course and how it can help you.
What’s included in Manage Your Build?
I created this course so you could work through it to learn before you start construction, and then have it to refer back to as your project is being executed … so it’s always there to support and guide you, and help you know what you need to know as your new home or renovation is built.
The course is laid out in 9 Modules.
Each module contains video interviews between Duayne and me, and also is accompanied by a full transcript and audio as well. You can watch, listen or read this on any device, so you can take us with you anywhere as long as you have an internet connection – or you can download the transcript and read offline. And I’ve broken the video interviews themselves into smaller chunks, so even if you’ve only got 15 mins, you can watch, mark off your progress, and keep progressing your learning. One member told me she has it going whilst she gets the kids ready in the morning, and loves that she can learn it little by little.
Module 1 is about Contract Deposits
This module helps you with the very beginning of your project – and even before you sign on that dotted line and commit yourself legally and financially.
- the red flags that will tell you early to get out whilst you can
- how much your builder should charge for your deposit
- what should happen before construction work starts on your new home or reno … this is a 4 to 6 week timeframe with specific activities that should be happening
- what documents and processes you should expect from your builder at this point
I’ve seen homeowners sign the contract, get a start date from their builder and then hit issues early because they don’t understand what work their deposit is paying for, and the builder gets delayed on a project they’re currently finishing. Meanwhile, they’re often moving out into rental accommodation, and so the cash has started flowing out. So, this first Module will help you understand exactly what to expect.
Module 2 is about Demolition and Site Preparation
Renovating homeowners are often shocked at just how much money can go into pulling apart their existing home – especially if there’s asbestos involved. Meanwhile, bowling down a whole home can be fast and low cost, but messy.
And then there’s the waste. Construction and demolition generate around 40 percent of Australia’s waste. Some of it is super toxic. And yet, re-using materials and products in our home’s project can be cost-prohibitive due to the labour involved.
Module 2 takes you through what will be happening in this phase, and how your site is made ready for the construction of future work. This can impact timing and cost, so it’s important to understand what to expect at this point.
Module 3 is about the Slab or Base Stage of your build or renovation
The Slab and Base Stage is the first opportunity to see the footprint of your home. Yet once the slab is down, it can be expensive to make changes down the track, or include things you had assumed were thought about (but didn’t already select or specify).
Getting this stage right is essential to the accurate build of your home.
In this module, Duayne and I share many of the things you’ll need to decide on BEFORE your concrete gets poured, so you don’t miss out on them later – and how to communicate this to your builder. For example, this is the point you may lose the opportunity to have a sink or power in your island bench, or a wall-hung vanity instead of a floor mounted one. If you want flush thresholds into your bathrooms, you’ll need to decide before now. This Module will help you be across those, and many other decisions and choices you need to make before you lose the chance to have them in your home.
Module 4 is about the Frame Stage
Seeing the frame of your home get built is a really exciting stage. Whether you’re building or renovating, it can be the first opportunity to ‘see’ the spaces and volumes take shape on site.
However, this is also the stage where you need to anticipate so much about your finished home, so you don’t miss out on having the things you want.
What do I mean? Well, in this module, Duayne and I tell you all about it. The Frame Stage is a very important point in your build, so we’ve also provide a bonus checklist that Duayne uses in his own projects to support you at this point of your project. Because when you don’t make certain checks at Frame Stage, before everything inside your walls gets wrapped up, then you’ll lose the chance down the track, or it will cost significantly more, to change your mind.
Module 5 and 6 covers Lockup / Enclosed Stages in 2 parts
This is a BIG stage, with lots going on.
You may be surprised to hear the types of decisions that need to be made at this stage, and the order in which work will occur on site. And with scaffolding hire being a really significant cost in your build or renovation, strategic planning of the work is essential to keep your costs down.
‘Lockup’ and ‘Enclosed’ can also have different meanings contractually, which can create headaches if your bank is managing payments to your builder. The race is on to make your home water-tight so work can continue indoors, unimpeded by weather. And decking and other external building work may be occurring. Duayne and I discuss this, and more in these 2 modules.
Module 7 is about Interior Fitout and Finishing
Seeing the interior of your home come together during construction is incredibly exciting … because you can actually see all the fixtures and finishes you’ll be living with everyday, get installed in your home.
It can also be a really stressful stage, where you find you didn’t think of all the things you needed to. I see homeowners delay a lot of decisions until this point, and so dealing with their builder becomes a frantic, intense time … and one full of a lot of disappointments as they realise things that weren’t costed in their contract, assumptions that were made that are different to what they were expecting, and ultimately will mean their home looks and feels different to what they were expecting. This is the stage where I see LOADS of Facebook posts in the renovating and building groups, and homeowners asking what to do because their builder has left something out, or not spoken to them before laying tiles, fixing in bathroom fixtures, installing light fittings … the things that, when they’re not done how you expected, will cause daily frustration in your home. This Module will prepare you so you can avoid these headaches and mistakes during your build.
Module 8 is all about Practical Completion
T his represents a specific point in your project, and it’s also a contractual term. And sometimes you can trigger Practical Completion when your project is nowhere near complete. Sound weird? This module will teach you more about this super important stage, and how to be sure it’s actually been done properly before your Defects Liability Period commences – another important contractual stage. And, you’ll also receive a Pre-Completion checklist. This will help you do the walk-around on site to and confirm that work is REALLY complete before the builder leaves site. So many homeowners experience issues because at this point, their builder still has SO MUCH work to do, and they’ve paid such a chunk of the contract by this point that they have little leverage to make sure it’s completed properly. Manage Your Build, and this module, will enable you to avoid that happening in your build.
Module 9 is all about Contracts
Signing a building contract is serious. It’s a legally binding agreement, with your finances and future. And yet, many homeowners sign their contracts without legal advice or suitable due diligence – and then when things go wrong, criticise themselves for being ‘too trusting’.
In this Module, we approach the building contract from two perspectives – The Builder and The Lawyer. The contract we discuss is the Master Builders’ Association QLD contract, however all building contracts will have commonalities that you can translate this information to. Module 9 is super helpful for simplifying the contract itself, before you sign it.
There are also a range of bonuses available in Manage Your Build (and HOME Method generally!). Let me take you through them.
The first bonus is a sample set of drawings:
I’ve found time and time again, that homeowners often seek to save money on the drawings for their home – and this can be hazardous.
One key way to get a decent quality quote, and to control the way your project is built, is to create a comprehensive set of drawings, or documentation, for your new build or reno.
A home can be built from 5 drawings, as equally as it can be built from 50. One will exercise far more control though!
If something is not drawn, the builder will generally do one of 3 things when building on site:
- do it the way he / she always builds it
- assume you want it a particular way and build it like that
- be on the phone to you asking for information asap (and potentially charging a variation because what you want is not what they priced)
It can be frustrating, and cause delays in your project. So, preparing a comprehensive set of drawings for the construction of your project will help you get what you want, and help the builder price your job accurately in the first instance.
Your drawings are one of the ways you control your project. A well-run project needs a detailed, comprehensive set of drawings prepared prior to quoting and signing contracts. This Bonus section contains sample drawings to help you identify what your project requires, and a list of recommended drawings for your project type.
The second bonus is to support your selections:
Throughout the modules, Duayne and I discussed the importance of bringing your decision-making forward. This assists with actually getting the finished project you want. It will only cause headaches, stress, extra costs and time, if you delay your selections until construction starts. Yet so many homeowners do it … and then run into issues, or end up not being able to have what they really wanted in their home. This Bonus section will help you think ahead on all those decisions, and provide a template to document those choices. I include selection schedules I have used in my own projects, as well as instructions for how to fill them out. I also include a ‘Shopping List’ of sorts … basically a list of all the selections you’re most likely to have to make – whether you’re building or renovating. This will help you avoid missing things, and stay ahead on your project.
The third bonus is a selection of Checklists.
Many homeowners want to be involved in their project, but struggle because it’s unfamiliar territory. Unsure of their rights as clients, and what’s ‘allowed’ or ‘expected’, they can feel kept outside of their project’s progress. As a result, it can be difficult to catch problems as they happen, or handle difficult disputes and disagreements.
This BONUS provides 3 key templates to assist with tracking progress and being proactive:
- A Site Meeting Minutes Template you can print out and use for your weekly site meetings.
- A Framing Inspection Checklist to use at the completion of Frame Stage before commencing Lockup / Enclosed Stage.
- A Pre-Completion Inspection Workbook + Checklist to review throughout the build and then complete prior to Practical Completion and handover.
The fourth bonus is all about Schedules.
I’ve spoken about how it’s super important that you get a time commitment for your project, from your builder. A builder’s schedule or program is the best format for this, and it should be finalised during your Deposit Phase. This Bonus section gives you a walk-through of a sample of one of Duayne’s programs. I also share a free tool for project schedules, and take you through how to use it.
So, are you commencing construction on your new build or renovation sometime in the next 2 years?
Then now is the time to get ready for it. Because what you do NOW, will impact every choice you make from here on. And whether those choices lead to a gorgeous, on budget, finished family home … or a stress-filled, anxious and expensive journey.
When you’re building or renovating your family home … well, it’s important. There’s too much at stake. We’re not only talking about a big chunk of money … but most builds are 6 – 12 months (even longer) so we’re talking about a big chunk of time too. AND we’re talking about the quality, and longevity of your future home. Plus your sanity along the way.
It could be the perfect time for you to join, learn what you need to know and get informed for the construction of your new home or renovation.
I’m super passionate about you being who you need to be, and knowing what you need to know, as you build or renovate your home. Confident, in control, able to be proactive, feeling informed and in the driver’s seat for your project. So you can know how to ask for what you want, be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for, and reach that beautiful home you’re dreaming of – saving time, money and stress.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
If you’d like to find out more about Manage Your Build, head to https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/manage-your-build/ … and if you have any questions about the course, don’t hesitate to email me on [email protected]