In an ideal renovation your home builders would complete your renovation on budget, on time and just as requested. But, the best builders will tell you this is a challenge. The fact of the matter is that renovation takes a lot of time, preparation and organisation.

So, with the wrong team running your renovation, you will struggle to achieve even one of your desired outcomes! The odds are simply stacked against this happening.

The biggest mistake most home-owners make, is not forming a grand plan in advance. For example, not getting the designers/architects and home builders together at the very beginning of the project – before drafting any plans.

The changes in the last 5 years have resulted in building cost increases. While square meter rates may be useful to estimate the cost of a new build, they have never been an accurate way to gauge the cost of your renovation.

So here are a couple of tips on building a successful home renovation with your architect and home builders.


1. Set your budget

Talk over your initial ideas with your builder to get an estimate of the likely costs. Then make it clear to your designer/architect that you want your builder to give you your cost estimates. It should be at each stage of the initial planning stage, before committing to a home plan. By having this meeting right at the start, you’ll avoid the disappointment of designing beyond your budget.

2. Be clear about your wish list

Know your renovation requirements beforehand, before meeting with your designer and builders. For example, start making a list that begins, “We would like to achieve…” and then rank in order of importance. Your list might look like this.

  • An additional bedroom
  • A new kitchen
  • A renovated bathroom
  • An open plan living area

3. Ask for a fixed price quotation

Once you have your design concepts get your builder to price your project as best as possible. Include quotes from all the subcontractors. Ask for quotations that are fixed priced quotations where possible. This will reduce the risk of a project going over budget. Most tradies will include a contingency for lost time and for the unexpected as these are common reasons for a project going over budget.

Remember that sub trades are not really interested in spending too much time quoting at such early stages as the actual project could be quite different. So focus on finding the tradies that would be great to work with and who understand how important this process is for you.


If you start your project with these clear guidelines, you will put yourself in good stead for creating the home that you always wanted rather than ending up with renovation plans that are outside your budget.

Wishing you all the best.

Good luck.

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Belmont, Auckland, New Zealand


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