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.