It has been an embarrasingly long time between posts, party due to a crazy work schedule, unreliable internet, trying to complete two units of my post-grad degree and trying to project plan this reno. Needless to say, sorry for the time between chats, I've missed you all!
I thought, given the time, it would be timely to kick things off by giving you a visual update off the house. We have been hard at work trying to get the house through to lock-up stage, and it pleases me to say we are almost there! This has been no mean feat - with a month of rain days and our wonderful carpenter jet-setting in the states, we have had more than a few delays, but once progress starts happening on the house again I forget it all!
We managed to get a house sitting gig through winter, so we used that as an opportunity to move out of the house and start to tear down the walls. Naively, we thought this would take a few weeks and we would be able to start the build. It took almost three months with the help of friends almost every weekend to get it all cleared to a point the builders could start.
- Try to allocate at least two months (depending on the size of your house and the amount of friends you have to help you) to do your site clear
- Make sure you get a qualified electrician and plumber to disconnect electrical, water, gas etc. Don't forget to ask your electrician for a working powerpoint so you have a spot to charge tools and plug in lights etc. You could also get your plumber to do the same for the simple things like washing your hands!
- Budget for the clearing expenses - tip fees are super expensive! We gave away a lot of hardwood, doors, windows etc on Gumtree that saved us heaps of coin.
It took us a really long time to get to this point, but when we did it was very satisfying. Don't stress too much about leaving holes in the floor, your chippy will be able to fill these back in when the floor goes down. At this point, we still probably underestimated the extent of this build, but who doesn't love a challenge right?
When it comes time to hand over to your carpenters/builders, it comes as a great relief, you are no longer flying blind, which is really exciting! From this point on, you'll notice things start to happen really quickly (until they slow down again). The floor went in one day, the walls went up the next, the structural steel was here within a week and before we knew it the second story was starting.
- If you can, try to be there with your trades the day the walls go up. They will have lots of questions and now is your only time to deviate from the plans without too many major dramas. We noticed once the walls went up that some of the design wasn't practical and we were able to adjust accordingly.
Only one tip for roof trusses - shop around! We saved A LOT of money by comparing quotes and playing one off against the other. It took a little longer but it is worth the money saved. They will probably tell you six weeks, so make sure you factor this into your timeline.
The garage was a beautiful surprise for me - we went down the coast for a weekend away and when we got back Callum surprised me with a fully bricked up garage. We had friends and brickies working over the weekend to get it done.
The expenses have well and truly begun to roll in, but it is great to see some quick progress. Again, shop around for scaffolding, we saved about $4K by negotiating with companies and about $10K saved by negotiating with roofing companies. Make sure you ask for rain day credits with your scaffolding hire, it might save you a few hundred bucks and some stress!