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Dreaming of Christmas in a newly renovated home?

Dreaming of Christmas in a newly renovated home?

Image credit Three birds renovations

Christmas is nearly upon us again and if you were looking for council approved plans in your stocking this year, you’ll probably be disappointed. The good news is, you can have your whole new extension built by next Christmas, but you’ll have to spring into action right now.

Depending on the size, scope and complexity, a home extension usually takes about 12 months from the initial planning stage through to completion. While it may seem like a long time to the novice renovator, there are many crucial steps involved and they all take time.

A design and build company can offer you the fastest delivery with a streamlined concept to completion system. There’s one convenient point of contact and a building cost determined upfront, which eradicates the hassle of having architectural plans you can’t afford to build.

(If you still need convincing of the big benefits of the design and build approach, take a read of this: ‘Extending or renovating? Your essential guide to creating your perfect space’)

Using this fast and efficient approach, let’s look at a time plan you should start now (before Christmas 2019) to meet your 2020 home extension goal.

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Research & planning (approx. 3-4 weeks)

First things first. Now you know that the extension road ahead will take approximately 12 months, make sure that the timing works for you. For example, if there’s a baby on the way or someone doing the HSC, how will the build impact these life events?


All OK? Then start fine tuning your ideas. This means determining your (realistic) budget and what you want to achieve.


Make an appointment with your bank if you need to borrow money.
Approach reputable design and build companies who do the kind of architectural builds you like and book a consultation. Tell them what you want to do and how much you want to spend.


Appoint a team that you click with. Make sure they can give you a concept design and cost analysis, have an easy to use project management system and always check references.
Solid planning up front will be worth its weight in gold later.

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Design (approx. 4 -6 weeks)

This is the fun bit; getting those dream designs on paper with your architect.

As your builder will be working closely with you and the architect during this time, they’ll be able to provide valuable input that will help shape the design and maximise your budget.

The design and build team will also be able to provide you with a concept design and cost analysis, so you can go confidently into approvals knowing the plans you have are ones you afford to build. You’d be surprised at how many people find out too late that the plans they have they can’t afford to build. This sends them literally right back to the drawing board, which is a big setback in both time and money. Nightmare.

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Approvals (usually 3-4 months)

First time renovators are often surprised at the amount of time this takes.

The approvals stage is broken up into two parts:

  • Development of architectural drawings and documents for lodgement
  • Council Lodgement of Development Application & Construction Certificate OR Complying Development Consent 

The team will be preparing final drawings, preparing all the documentation that goes along with the submission and then you’ll be awaiting the council’s approval.

While you’re waiting, you can choose your selections with your designer.

For a more detailed look at prelims click here

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Final cost & contract signing (approx. 1- 2 weeks)

The team will be preparing final drawings, preparing all the documentation that goes along with the submission and then you’ll be awaiting the council’s approval.

Once the approvals are in, the build cost is finalised and the HIA Residential Fixed Price Building Contract is prepared. You’ll be invited to meet with builder and go through the stages of the build, so you know what to expect.

The contract is signed, and champagne is popped. Well, not yet but it’s exciting, nonetheless.

You will also need to give the signed building contract to your lender for final financial approval.

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Construction (approx. 4-6 months)

You will also need to give the signed building contract to your lender for final financial approval.

Now you have tradies on site. Your dream reno is finally underway.

Time variants for this will depend on the size of the build, the type of site and any unpredictable factors like the weather.

In addition to construction, you’ll be thinking about the interiors and decorating your new perfect space.

As you can see from the time plan, planning and building a home extension usually takes 12 months all up, but if you get started right now, you’ll be in by Christmas 2020. And with all that extra perfect space, there’s no excuses; it’s Christmas at your place next year!

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