The knockdown/rebuild Project Guide

To quote a famous Australian film, “A man’s (or woman’s) home is his (or her) castle,” and while Darryl Kerrigan from The Castle was definitely house proud, he was also always trying to extend his property and to build up on his home with various extensions and add-ons. He also struggled with the fact that it was impossible to shoehorn all of the different things into the place that he wanted to. Suffice to say, Mr Kerrigan might have been better off with a complete rebuild as opposed to various renovations. It might have turned out cheaper as well. The very phrase ‘knock down’ fills some people with abundant fear as they imagine the process of getting all the works underway – never mind the question of where do you live in the meantime while the work is being completed. To address these concerns, we’ve created a list of some of the most important things to consider in this handy guide so that you can understand the knockdown rebuild process in its entirety.

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Step One – Know your budget

When you’re considering a complete knockdown and rebuild of your home, it’s important to know what you’re doing this for and what you hope to achieve. If you’re hoping to achieve a good return on your investment (ROI) then the budget may be more restrained than if you’re building the ultimate family home. Once you’ve established the what and why, you need to consider how long you want to hang onto your property – as the more you invest, the longer you’ll want to hold onto it for a better ROI.

Step Two – Figure out the planning controls

You need to figure out the planning controls on your property – as in how the property is zoned and whether there are any overlays on the property. Every property is zoned in some way – as in commercial, residential, business zones – but not every house has an overlay. A type of overlay that you’re probably familiar with is the heritage overlay. This can cover buildings, land, gardens and even trees – basically anything that is considered to have heritage importance. As a result of this, it’s vital to know the what’s what about the zoning, before you even so much as pick up the phone to call the builders.

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Step Three – Designing your home

You have a couple of different stages here

  • Sketch designing your home – This is the process of determining how the home can be built (is it a north-south block, are there any landmarks blocking light etc)
  • Designing your home – This stage involves considering the details like where the kitchen, bathroom and laundry will be positioned.
  • Submission of design – You will need to submit your drawings to the town planner for your permit. Not every building needs a permit, but you should confirm it before you begin.
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Step Four – Documenting your construction

The sketches become very technical documents where every last detail is detailed – from doorknobs to tiles to joinery.

Step Five – BUILDING!

Get some referrals from your friends and get some quotes together – making sure that the quotes are going to include vegetation removal and tree removal (if any). Be prepared for a quote to be above and beyond what you have budgeted for, but a good builder will be able to suggest more cost-effective solutions for you. After the quotes are locked in and the contracts are signed, it’ll be time to build! Make sure you’ve advised your neighbours about the build well in advance for peace of mind for both parties.

In regards to where you’re going to stay while the build is being completed, see if you can stay with relatives or friends in the short time that you’ll be without a home (potentially two weeks) and in the meantime, see if you can get the kitchen, bathroom and one room completed first so that you’ll have the option of somewhere to stay. When it’s all done and dusted, you’ll have a beautiful new home.

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