All posts by user_kaycee_1

The importance of planning and flexibility when renovating post COVID-19.

We get it – there’s a lot to think about when you’re renovating, especially after a year with so many ups and downs. As with any good house build, if you get the foundations right, you’re well on your way to success.

It’s been said that around 20% of consented building and renovation plans in Auckland aren’t getting built, which could be due to the disconnect between the design and the cost to build. That’s why we’ve outlined the importance of contingency plans, expert help, and pure patience to help you stay relatively unruffled before and during your house renovation.

#1 Put contingency plans in place early

Are you renovating for long-term comfort or for profit? How long you plan to stay in your home (after you’ve renovated) will help you decide which changes you’d like to make and how much you’re comfortable spending.

A well thought out contingency plan not only allows for budget overruns but altering your scope of work and level of specification to ensure your budget is met.

You have probably heard people say to allow for 5-15% of the total build cost on top, to cover anything unexpected or additional homeowner requests during the building process. As we have seen with 2020’s lockdowns, unexpected time delays happen too, and they can have major flow-on effects for you and your builder. Depending on the size of the company, builders usually have a couple of jobs on the go, so it’s important to build in a time contingency to protect both you and your builder.

#2 Call in the experts

The building consent application process can be tricky and requires a lot of patience, which is why Auckland Council recommends getting professional help from your builder early on. Lodging a good quality application from the outset will save time and money. This is because the chances of Council making a Request for Further Information (RFI) are significantly reduced when you have experts handling the technical side of things. After consent is issued, any changes to the plans or specifications must be done through either a minor variation or an amendment. These can add days to months to the project timeline so working with your builders during the design stage in our eyes is critical.

In our many years of renovating, we’ve seen it all when it comes to building consents. Now, we can foresee any possible issues and get them sorted before the plans go to Council. During the initial planning stages, we’ll be looking at the existing building and heading off any problems there. There is always the potential for issues with the general buildability, foundations, and product specification, which can cause both issues with Council and budget blowouts down the track. Make sure you bring in a builder with loads of building consent experience, so they can spot issues early on.

#3 Be prepared to pivot

If we’ve learnt anything from 2020, it’s to be patient. Apply this same patience to your Auckland renovation and you’ll feel much more relaxed throughout the process. With most house renovations, plans will change slightly, variations may need to be made, and flexibility will be needed!

Builders never know exactly what they’re dealing with in your house until they open up the walls. Be prepared that what is found might cause unforeseen variations to the plan. This is why it’s useful to have your ‘must-haves’ communicated to your builder early on, so they can come to you with variations that still deliver on your non-negotiables.

A good builder will keep the job moving forward and sometimes this means changing things up. While our goal is to deliver to the plans (we’re emotionally invested in them too!), sometimes things happen that are out of everyone’s control. COVID-19 has made it tricky to source some building materials so we’re having to use the next best thing, and we’ll always discuss the options with you before making a decision. We also try our best to remain calm and see the big picture when things don’t go as expected!

Ultimately, getting an Auckland builder who is experienced with renovations (and the challenges that can come with them) is your best bet for successfully achieving your plans. In renovation planning mode? Bring us in for a chat and we’ll help you write a success story.

Get in touch today.


My family’s expanding! Do I extend, reconfigure or move?

When your family is growing, either in numbers or in size (hello teenage years!), it can start to feel as if the walls are closing in. So what are your options for fitting everyone under one roof? Do you extend your home and create more rooms? Reconfigure the existing layout to make better use of the space you have? Or is it time to move to a bigger Auckland abode?

Here’s our handy guide to help you make the right decision for you and your family.

When to extend

Do you have a baby on the way or an older family member moving in? Extending either upwards or outwards to create new rooms could be the best option, plus it can add considerable value to your property. Many Auckland buyers want the freedom a four-bedroom home brings, such as bedrooms for all three kids, or three bedrooms plus an office, study, or spare room.

Pushing out external walls gives you an opportunity to consider how to better utilise your outdoor space. You could add a covered deck off the living area for more entertaining space and the all important open plan, indoor/outdoor flow.

Extensions are only limited by your imagination and budget – and that’s where our Auckland builders come in. We talk through your wishlist, price up a range of concepts within your budget, and help you turn your house into your forever home.

When to reconfigure

If budget is top of mind, reconfiguring your existing layout could be the way to go, such as changing internal walls. To get the best bang for buck, and potentially avoid costs such as consent fees, we suggest bringing in your Auckland builder as early as possible.

When we are looking to reconfigure a home, we would initially consider whether our clients can strip everything out and rebuild. This gives you a completely different perspective on your floor plan. Then, you can work out a new layout specific to your lifestyle and needs. You can even add additional rooms with the right reconfiguration.

If money is really tight, consider converting underutilised spaces. For example, you could turn your garage into a living space for growing teens or create a loft in the roof cavity for a study or extra storage.

When to move

Moving to a new house can be exciting but it’s also the most costly (and stressful) option for getting a bigger home. There’s the cost of bringing your home up to standard for sale, agents and lawyers fees, and the money to upgrade to a larger Auckland home.

If moving is something you’re considering, think about your neighbourhood. Would you need to move out of the area to afford a bigger property? What does that mean for schooling, work, and commutes? There’s a lot to consider so write up a list of pros and cons to shed light on your thinking.

Decisions, decisions….

We believe any home can be a forever home with the right renovation, whether it’s a reconfiguration or extension. Our experienced builders have helped hundreds of Auckland families create the space they need for the future – and you could be next. We’d love to help you get what you need from your current home so you can enjoy it for years to come. Give us a call today.

What to expect when you’re expecting . . . to renovate! (And how to manage those expectations)

Renovating can make your dream home a reality. However, the reality of making the dream come true isn’t as simple (or as fast!) as ‘reality’ shows like The Block make it out to be. If you’re thinking of renovating your home in Auckland (and you want it to go as smoothly as possible) read these top four tips from our team.

#1 Get a builder involved – early!

Even if you only have basic sketches on the back of a napkin, get in touch with a builder. By engaging a building company first, you can get plans drawn up, work out what you can build for your budget, and get realistic timeframes. We estimate 25 – 30% of consented plans don’t end up being built because a builder wasn’t involved in the planning stages. Builders can also help find the perfect architect, get plans in for consent, and bring on board trustworthy experts (like surveyors and engineers). We love a good daydream with our clients, so get in touch as early as you can and we’ll walk you through our step by step renovation process

#2 Keep the communication flowing

Don’t take effective project management and communication for granted. It’s an essential foundation to a successful build or renovation that comes in on time and on budget. That’s why everyone at KN Construction uses project management software Co-Construct. It allows us to all be on the same page with your build from the start – a hub of communication for everyone involved. Everything is in one place – budget, messages, timeframes, schedules, and specs for each aspect of the build. At any given time, you can log in and see exactly what is happening with your renovation. Our builders and subcontractors all have access, which eliminates any confusion and saves you time and money. 

#3 Don’t rush!

We know how exciting it is to finally get the ball rolling on your renovation, especially if you’ve been dreaming of a second bathroom or more outdoor living space for months! But there’s a long list of decisions to make early on – and it’s important to take your time. The temptation to rush and get the renovation underway is huge, but it’ll cost you time and money in the long run if big changes need to be made once the build is underway. 

#4 Know your style 

Whoever you choose to build your renovation will need to know what you’re looking for in terms of style and design. It can make decision-making a lot easier if you and your builder are shoulder to shoulder when it comes to your vision. Make sure you dedicate some solid hours to perusing Pinterest, scrolling through, and checking out other Auckland renovation projects, such as these. The more thought you put in, the easier it will be for everyone to start the build on the same page.

From the minute you make your first big decision to go with KN Construction for your Auckland renovation, we’ll be with you for every decision after. Ready to have a chat about what’s on your napkin sketch? Talk to us about what our Auckland teams can do for you.