Open the Book on Building now

Below is a guide to preparing for a building project.

1. Set a budget or at least a budget range

Project Builders always list their house prices without site costs due to the highly variable nature of landform, soil, Council and many other variables affecting cost. So as a general rule all items external to the house itself are omitted until a formal price is requested with specific location details. The budget therefore will need to be enough to cope with uncertainties that come with location and land. The budget also needs to accommodate for luxuries that are upsold to clients eg kitchen upgrades (especially), fitting upgrades etc. Builders do not normally include floor or window coverings, landscaping, fencing or paving (unless requested or offered by promotion).  Gecko will give you a fixed conditional price before spending any money at all.

2. Your design and style priorities- be prepared.

The design brief will always be affected by the budget and it is very common for well planned architect/designer projects to never be constructed due to Quotes overrunning the planners estimate. That is good reason to have a construction price BEFORE spending money on the design.

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  • Number of bedrooms required =Main bedroom location: front – back- upstairs- downstairs.
  • Living  Open plan /Separate Dining 
  • Living 2 ie Rumpus/ Theartre/ Other
  • Laundry Searate room / closet
  • Bathroom/Ensuite/separate WC
  • Garages =Number of cars. Attached/detached/under elevated floor
  • Views
  • Brick veneer/Render/ Clad
  • Concrete slab on ground/ elevated floor
  • Eco design priority./ cost priority
  • Other considerations

IMPORTANT NOTE : Obviously budget can be an overriding factor, however aspect and slope create other opportunities for maximising the lands potential. 

3. Demographics, Geographics and Problems

We have built in the inner city, the beach, Harbour, river, lake, bush, on sand, on rock, on mountainsides and on the flat. Some of those areas have special conditions ie Heritage, Aircraft noise, Coastal and tidal erosion and subsidence considerations, Bushfire conditions, access problems. There is always a way to build, with careful consideration of the problems and with design flexibility.

4. Environmental responsibility

There are many claims to being ‘eco friendly’ in this industry. The truth is, all building activity impacts our environment at the building site and elsewhere. There are a number of ways we can reduce our effect on the environment. 

  • Designing for a reduction in energy use by maximising the aspect and house position, house and room sizes and layout, window sizes and locations 
  • Using materials that reduce the impact of the manufacture and the delivery distance, thermal efficiencies, appliance efficiencies, water harvesting. 
  • Construction: Waste efficiencies and recycling, material handling, poison eradication, run off control.

This is not comprehensive and there are many details to add, however the largest impact comes from the design process where the house size and design establishes a structure that will need energy for lighting, appliances, heating and cooling for many years to come. The materials and energy used in construction is a one off event. So the responsibility lies with the client, designer and builder for a responsible outcome. Design almost always will be a compromise, but energy use should be considered diligently.  

5. Capital values

The age-old problem of over capitalising will always (or should) arise when discussing expenditure on new projects, especially with older generations that lived frugally with a lot less house. I must admit it is a compelling argument. The situation has arisen in the last 15-20 years  where houses have become cheaper to build and our living standard has risen at the same time as borrowing money became cheaper dramatically. The result is much larger houses. Old neighbourhoods with 50 year old 90-100 sq m fibro homes are being demolished and 250-400 sq m brick veneer homes being erected. So a property gets purchased at market value, the house demolished and a large new house erected. Is the new homes market value worth all the cost ? Possibly yes, possibly no, depends where how etc. So much depends on the details. But consider this: the old fibro is all gone, the new house is fully modern and updated with another 50+ years to go (reducing maintenance time and cost),the children all get safe, new rooms, there are robes, bathrooms, kitchen, garage etc etc. And down the track after you have used and enjoyed your home the fluctuating property market increases, at least on all past records.

6.PROCESS (main events)

  1. Prepare your budget, find out what you can and are comfortable borrowing, don’t forget to factor in all the possibilities.
  2. Prepare your list of personal priorities in readiness for financial compromise
  3. Contact Gecko for a free assessment on what will work on your land. We will provide a design and construction cost with that assessment.
  4. Refining of the initial assessment and a Formal quote
  5. Acceptance of the quote
  6. Preparation of drawings
  7. Council submission
  8. Council approval
  9. Contract signing
  10. Commence construction
7. Ready, set,go! Get an internet estimate just fill out the form!