Like the Griswold’s, does your extended family spend Christmas Day at the same home every year? Is your New Year’s resolution for next year to finally do something about the dark and musty smelling living area?
If you are considering embarking on a home building project in 2021, whether it’s a renovation or brand-new home build you probably want to know:
- Will I be able to build what I want?
- What will it cost?
- How long will the process from design stage to building take?
- And what’s your next step once the decision to build or renovate has been made?
You’re not alone in asking these questions; these are the most frequent questions asked by those who embark on a home building project.
To help answer these so you can start your home building project with confidence, we have outlined a brief rundown of the design, compliance and builder tendering processes and an estimate of timings for each stage.
Question One: Will I be able to build what I want?
Gaining your local Council’s approval is an important step in the building process. It can lead to frustrations and delays. If you are building in NSW, unless you are experienced with your local Council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP), Development Control Plan (DCP) and the NSW Governments “Exempt and Comply Development Code” you will need the help of a suitable professional. They can explain the “rules” for what you can and can’t do to your property.
At Willoughby Architects we offer a fixed price “Needs and Options Review”, our review helps you to understand these areas and assists you in putting together a realistic design brief that all also ticks the boxes regarding your needs and wants.
Once you have a good idea of what you will be able to build within your local council area, what’s next?
Question Two: Determining what it will cost
Architects aren’t the best professionals to give you an accurate price, in fact, we aren’t allowed to provide them, that’s for a Builder or a Quantity Survey.
However, neither the builder nor the quantity surveyor can provide you with that figure without some sort a scaled sketch. Typically consisting of a Plan, Sections and Elevations and your architect is the best professional to provide this (By using the knowledge gained in Question 1).
Question Three: How long will it take from design to build?
A large range of factors will impact the design, approval and building time, including council and local government permits, inclement weather conditions, land slope factors, easements and sometimes delays are caused due to financial institutions.
At every stage your architect will need to consult and obtain approval from you to move to the next stage.
These stages are:
- Schematic Design
- Design Development
Schematic design (6-8 weeks)
A feature survey is typically required for any project that involves any external changes. You should allow 2 -3 weeks to have this done
While you’re waiting for the survey, your architect would normally undertake a full internal measure up of your home, as this won’t be included in the survey, as well as conducting an investigation to establish the constraints of your site
Once the above has been completed, then most architects would typically provide three designs.
- Your design
- Your architects design
- Combination of the best parts of both
Design Development (4-6 weeks)
This is the stage where we turn the sketch plan into a submission document for approval to councils and regulators and provide all the additional supporting drawings and reports.
For a CDC (Complying Development Certificate, Complying development certificate (CDC) | Service NSW) , this will typically also require input from other consultants such as an engineer, so we can’t be 100% definitive about timeframes.
Approvals (3 weeks)
There are two paths to get an approval for a residential building project:
1.Development Application (DA) Your guide to the Development Application process – (nsw.gov.au) through the Council or
2.Comply Development Certificate (CDC) Complying development certificate (CDC) | Service NSW through the council or a private certifier.
The CDC is the quickest approval process, and about 80% of our approvals are obtained that way.
Once all the paperwork has been provided to the certifier, they have 15 days to review and approve the project
During these 15 days, your architect will update your drawings so that they will be suitable and ready for the builder tendering process.
Tendering (5 weeks)
At Willoughby Architects we recommend our clients engage three builders to tender for the project, we find that tendering to three builders works well. Any more and the builders aren’t keen, any less you don’t get a good indication of the “right” cost.
We find the longer the tender period, the more accurate the tender figures are, so we would recommend 4 weeks to tender and 1 week to assess and negotiate.
TIP – Ask each tendering builder if they have availability to tender, how long it will take and find out their building capacity for the next year to ensure that the tenderers understand your expected completion time frames. There is no point in asking a builder to tender if they’re too busy to complete your tender adequately and not build your new home or renovation within your time frame.
Construction (36-52 weeks)
After the tender process and an examination of the costs, i.e., what the builder will include and what is not included; and you have obtained the necessary funds to finance the build, you are ready to appoint a builder. Once appointed a builder will take 1-2 weeks to “site establish” and then will be on-site between 9 &12 months depending on how considerable your building project is.
In Conclusion, the design and approval process take about 3-4 months, depending on the size and complications of your site.
Question Four: I’m ready to start planning my new home build or renovation, what’s next?
Whether you’re looking to build a new home from the ground up or renovate an existing property to better fit your dream abode, choosing the right architect is crucial as they need to be able to take your ideas from imagination to the drawing board.
Since their knowledge and expertise are vital to the success of any new build or renovation project, choosing the right architect for your needs will quite possibly be the most important decision you make throughout the entire project.
Aim to find an architect who you can communicate with easily and who you connect with, as you’re likely to be working with them for the next year, if not longer. An architect who you trust and feel like you can approach them about anything. Also it’s a good idea to choose an architect who is familiar with your local planning authority, it can make all the difference if they have previous (successful) experience of dealing with local councils and planners.
Want more tips on how to find the right architect for your project? Download our “8 tips to hiring an architect” free guide here: Willoughby Architects – Sydney’s Favourite Architects in the North Shore)
Willoughby Architects are well-established architects who operate out of the Lower North Shore of Sydney. We design, organise approvals and project manage the building process for new build homes, as well as renovations for existing homes.
Book your Needs and Options Review today at https://willoughbyarchitects.com.au/book-an-architect-review#services
Contact our Principal Architect, Wayne Farmilo on Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 0412 998 027
About the Author: Wayne Farmilo, Founder & Principal Architect of Willoughby Architects has been a registered Architect, in Vic and NSW, for 25 years. Wayne started his practice NSW in 2002, initially focusing on the retail and dining space; however, since 2012, the practice has actively focused on residential design projects.