Renovating a Queenslander – We get ready to build!
In our last update, I outlined how we worked out how to cram A LOT into a tight project program. This helps us get the project finished by March 2017 – which is Michelle and Sarah’s deadline to move back into the finished home!
Cause for celebration!
We expected that the Development Application would take 6 to 8 weeks to get approved.
It was a pleasant surprise when it achieved approval in less than 5 weeks. Nick Holt of Norris Clarke O’Brien (our town planning consultant), did a great job. He prepared Council’s Planning Team for our application. This helped streamline their approval process.
(#UA TIP: Getting the right professionals on your team can make a huge difference. It will save time, energy, money and stress for your project! And those savings generally outweigh any fees you’re paying.)
Push push push
As I said in our last update, there were a lot of moving parts involved in establishing our project timeline.
There were even more in executing it! It required strong coordination of the various professionals involved, and managing their interaction.
The team worked closely to drive the various processes and people. It was our priority to get the project to start on site on time.
Choosing a Builder
During this process, we sought 3 quotes from different builders.
We pulled together a resolved package of drawings and information about the home. This included exterior and interior finishes and fixtures. Then we were able to supply a package to builders for quoting. (Remember … garbage in equals garbage out when it comes to working out your costs, so try to be as specific as you can!)
Two of the builders were close in price, and one was much lower. The Building Estimate from our Estimator was higher than the quotes.
The client dismissed the low quote (it was approximately 75% of the other two!) Our feeling was that the builder had quoted quickly, and not completely understood the drawings. Our opinion was it was too risky to pursue it further, and would waste time.
Michelle and Sarah then spoke with 2 of the builders, and visited some previous projects of theirs. This helped them choose Noel Tierney, of Tierney Constructions. They began contract negotiations with them.
Contract Negotiations with the Builder
We continued to issue updated drawings to Tierney Constructions at as they developed. They updated their price as they had more information. We resolved details, made final selections and signed things off. They adjusted their original estimate to suit. We adjusted details to manage the budget.
This meant we could keep the project locked into their timelines. Builders will often only take on a certain number of projects at one time. If you miss an available window, it can mean waiting until another project is complete for their next window.
Once the construction set of drawings was finalised and signed off, the client had a final meeting with the builder.
Together, they went over the various contract conditions. They also discussed the Provisional Sums and PC Items included in the contract. Amounts and allowances were pushed and pulled until Michelle and Sarah had a figure they were happy with. They signed the contract!
We did it!
The contract was signed in August, just days after we received our Building Approval.
And throughout this time, we were updating drawings, resolving details and finalising selections!
The builder started on site straight away. Everyone’s heads were spinning a bit, but it was incredible to see it happen according to our program.
None of this could have occurred without Michelle and Sarah. Their ability to respond quickly, and provide us feedback as required, was essential in helping the project move forward.
Michelle and Sarah also trusted us, and accepted our guidance and recommendations. This was key to things moving as they did.
And of course, it was critical to have a consultant team all ready and willing to work with us and meet timelines.
I’ll be honest, there were points when I wondered if we would pull it off.
This is what happens when you get the right team working together, and create a great, collaborative way of working.
Where everyone (client included) is doing what they need to, to achieve great outcomes for the project.
I’ll start sharing the fun stuff – construction on site! Here’s a sneak peak …
Over to you …
It can be hard to be patient through the approvals and tendering process. A lot of homeowners find it frustrating, because they’ve finished the design process … they haven’t started construction yet … and they’re waiting (and waiting) for their project to get going. What do you think is the most challenging thing whilst waiting for Council and Building Approvals? Or do you struggle with the thought of choosing a builder? I’d love to hear your thoughts – please comment below.
Other blogs you may find useful …
Head back to the start to see how this project began. The first Project Diary Update is here.
This project has a challenge: the view is to the south, yet we need light from the north. Here’s some tips to manage this at your place.
Is your project not going well? Bad designer? Bad builder? Here’s my advice on what to do.