7 Tips for Major Home Extension and Structural Remodeling Projects

The decision to either move to a new home or remodel your current one can be daunting. Review these tips to help you decide whether to renovate or relocate.
Remodeling vs. Moving

Since prices of property never seem to go down, more and more homeowners in major cities worldwide are looking to renovate their homes in order to add value and space. To many homeowners, remodeling has more advantages than moving into a new house, with added benefits if the kids have settled into their schools or homes of their own. Updating your current space also means you don’t have to pack and downsize, and you can buy even more furniture!

What is your goal?

First, you need to list out the major things you’re looking to achieve with your remodelling. Maybe you’re hoping to extend a parents’ retreat, which involves structural modifications and sometimes even repurposing certain areas of your home. In addition, you need to sort out where you’ll be living while the works take place. If there are babies or children around, that brings up an entire new set of concerns. Having school-age children around the building site often means more vigilance on your side.

Set a budget

It’s often said that budgeting is either the most fun or the least fun part of a home remodel, depending on how far you need to stretch your finances. Nonetheless, this is an important step that has an impact on the entire project, from the materials you’re going to use, and equipment you need to hire, to the contractors to whom you’re going to trust your extension with. Once you know what you want to achieve, you should talk to a builder or an architect who can help you figure out the rough cost estimate.

Assess the current condition

This stage calls for through assessment of your property. If you are into house flipping business, assessing if a house is a good buy and ‘renovation material’ includes weighing the listed price to cost of repairs and extensions that need to be done. However, whether you’re target-purchasing homes suitable for remodelling or hoping to extend your own, in both cases, you need a chartered surveyor who can make a detailed building report, pinpointing critical spots and marking the areas which need further specialist assessment.

Interview and choose contactors

A major home remodeling endeavor will require much more skilled work than a weekend decorating project, so you need to get in touch with professionals well in advance to get a timeline, a description of what needs to be done, and quote for the cost. This especially applies if you’re remodeling in spring or summer when home remodeling projects are most popular. Since every company does things a bit differently, you’ll want to research referrals, customer service and warranty on the completed work. Also, keep in mind to check if the firm has all the licenses and permits for the kind of work you need.

Anticipate structural work

If professional home inspection identifies faulty or imperfect structural elements, you may need to deal with those first, before you can proceed with the remodel. Some of the most common structural problems are unevenly supported load-bearing walls, excessive beam and floor-joist spans, and differential bearing on poor soil and bedrock. This scenario might impact your budget more severely, especially if you need additional manpower and heavy equipment such as cranes, which allow for easier installation and removal of bearing elements. Luckily, there are plenty of options for affordable crane hire in Sydney, so you’ll easily find the machine suitable for your site.

Study building regulations

In case you’re using permitted development rights you don’t need planning permission, you still need a building regulation approval. These building regulations determine minimum requirements of structural integrity such as fire safety, energy efficiency, damp proofing, ventilation and many other aspects that comprise the overall building safety. While most repair work is excluded from the building regulations, save for window replacements, underpinning and rewiring, apart from certain non-residential buildings such as sheds, outbuilding and conservatories, all new building work including extensions and alterations is liable to the building regulations.

When is remodeling a better option?

For the entire project to make financial sense, you need to prove that the value reacted by adding the extension is greater than what would cost to build anew. While this can be difficult to assess, various online resources can be used to compare the prices of similar properties in your area with extensions similar to the one you are looking to complete. There is always a ceiling as to how much additional value a property can take, so in case your remodeling figures don’t add, perhaps you’ll be better off building from as start.

What those enjoyable renovation TV shows with contestants and all don’t tell you is that every major home remodel involves a rigmarole of decisions, budgeting, negotiations, regulations, considerations and permitting. The whole process can be overwhelming at times, so a fast seven-stage roadmap like this can guide you to a successful and stress-low major home extension.

About the author

Mike is a Home improvement blogger, DIY enthusiast, and resident sustainability buff. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and a contributor on several interior design and eco blogs, always on the lookout for new ideas and latest trends in the field.

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