You have your renovation plans in place and they have been approved by the council. Now you want to make it happen, but how do you go about it?

Select a Contractor

In this article we will discuss how to select a contractor for your renovations. To see a more complete picture of the whole process, download our free eBook, Renovation or Construction. Click here to go to the download page.

Where to find contractors for renovations
Finding contractors is the easy part. The hard part is sifting through them to find a good one for your renovations.

A good place to start is with your friends. From the contractors that we have dealt with, it would appear that about half of their work is from referrals by their previous clients. If you find a contractor like that, you are assured that they do quality work. So, if you know someone who has had a home built or renovations done, pay them a visit. Ask them about who did it and whether or not they were satisfied. Look at the workmanship with a critical eye. While you are at it you can gather some other helpful information about what the council was like and if they encountered anything unexpected. Ask them if the end price was the same as the quoted price. If not, what made the difference?

Hopefully you can get at least one prospective builder referred by your friends. Along with that one you should have at least two more quotes to compare. Check out the internet. We like to look at the photos that they have on their website. That’s not a guarantee that your work will be like that, but it will help you to weed out some. We have been rather surprised to see photos on the websites of some builders that simply look like old homes with tacked on additions. That’s probably the type of work they do, and if that’s what you want, include them. But others show before and after pictures where there has been a total transformation, and when you look at it closely you can see that it didn’t necessarily involve helps of work – a little touch here and there made all the difference.

We might mention that it’s quite unfair to any tradesman to get dozens of quotes for your renovations. Three or four should be plenty to see if someone is way out. Tradesmen have to put in a lot of work to generate a quote, and it’s not fair to them if they only have a 10% chance of getting the job.

Each builder who is giving you a quote will visit your home. Ask them a lot of questions about your plans and whether anything could be done better. They have heaps of experience. It’s good to learn as much as you can.

Along the way if you change something about your plans, email all of those quoting with the changes. When their quote comes in, make sure that the change is included.

It’s extremely helpful to a builder if you can provide a “scope of works” document with the plans. Your designer can prepare that for you, or you can do it yourself. Here’s the beginning of one to give you an idea of what it is.

Scope of Works

Renovations for (your name and address).


Current plans:             Revision B (Date)
                                    Builder name
                                    Combined DA/CC Application - 6 sheets
                                    Structural Drawings – 5 sheets
                                    Specification – 2 sheets

Scope of work

  1. Provide homeowners warranty insurance
  2. Comply with the above drawings and specifications
  3. Remove rubbish as the job progresses, including asbestos.
  4. Upgrade power supply to house if required. If it needs to be upgraded, allow for a new 15 amp circuit to the garage. The provision of that 15 amp circuit to the garage is not a part of this quote.
  5. Demolish interior walls and portion of exterior wall as indicated on plans. Remove plasterboard and cement sheet from walls in existing living room, kitchen, small bedroom, wall between the two bedrooms (both sides of that wall) and waterfront wall to the large bedroom. Remove ceiling in kitchen, meals area, living room and hallway, including framing below floor joists. Ensure that there is proper support provided at the top of the walls where the ceiling framing has been removed.
  6. Remove existing sliding glass exterior door to living room and exterior windows to the downstairs bedrooms – all on the waterfront side.
  7. And so on, stepping through each item that you want done.

If the builder who did the work for your friend has the best price, or very close to it, he’s probably the one to go with. However, if there’s another with a sharper price or something else that makes you think of going with him, first check out his references. Also Google the builder’s name and see what comes up.

Renovation funding
It may be that you don’t have cash for your renovations. That’s not a big problem when you have a lender like State Custodians Mortgage Company to come to. Whether you need a full on construction loan or simply to refinance with a bit extra for more cosmetic renovations, State Custodians can help you. Give them a call today on 13 72 62.