Pre-Building Renovation Checklist

Mistakes are costly.

Nobody wants to spend more than they have to on their projects.

This is especially true for building renovation projects. Doing things out of order, forgetting important materials or having to change your plans midway are easy ways to lose time, money, and probably even a little sanity.

What You Need to Know Before Renovating a Building

Let’s get clarity on what it takes to renovate a building.


  • Finalize the design
  • Decide whether to do it yourself or hire a project manager/builder
  • Make a list of materials to buy

Final Renovation PlansMake sure that your design is as close to what you want as possible. Having to change plans, whether because mistakes were made or because the designs were redone, can be extremely costly.

You will also want to decide if you want to hire someone to lead the project. This person would take care of subcontracting the appropriate trades, utilizing their skills in the proper sequence and keeping the flow of work moving.

If you’re doing it yourself, you need to do all of that and ensure that their work holds up to Australian standards. Ask for copies of licenses and insurances in case anything goes wrong and hire someone experienced with building inspections to cover quality.

Legal Stuff

  • Get council approval
  • Check all registration/licensing (and reputations) for tradespeople
  • Make sure to have a written contract for all work, large or small
  • Check with your insurer that you are covered for all renovations

When it comes to fiddling around with your home, there can be some necessary legal hoops to jump through.

You should always check with your local council to see if you need any sort of permit before beginning work to avoid fines or any mishaps. Some areas require approval just to change the paint on your exterior walls.

When working with tradespeople, it is of absolute importance to work with someone properly licensed, registered and professional. Depending on the work you need to do, certain registrations may or may not be necessary.

For any project totaling more than $10,000, major domestic building contracts must be used.

Ensure that any work being done has a contract associated with it detailing the exact specifications of the work as well as the cost involved. This is necessary regardless of the cost of that work.

Last, be sure to check your insurance. You want to be certain that you’re covered for the renovations you want to make

Ongoing Renovation ConstructionConstruction

  • Buy your materials
  • Make it happen!

After everything else is taken care of, you simply buy your materials and get to work!

You want to have everything you need by the time the builders are ready for them, and preferably from the beginning. At least all of the fixtures and fittings should be purchased before you start to prevent delays.

Bear in mind that HVAC materials, plumbing, weatherboards, wiring and roof tiles can be very expensive. Don’t forget about the more cosmetic elements like painting, storage, floor covers, tiling and the like. If you have a long preparation time you can wait for sales at Bunnings or other similar stores, or look for bargains in the classifieds.

Once all materials are on site, construction can begin. As a tip,  it’s almost always best to work on a room from ceiling to floor. Also, coordinating the job by trade instead of by room is smoother.

The last thing to remember is the necessity for the work to be up to code. It is highly recommended that you get an independent surveyor for building inspections rather than leaving it to your hired help to find one.

Renovations done well are worth the effort and cost associated. Now that you know precisely what to get in order, the job will go much more smoothly. We also recommend having a read of this Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes before starting work on your project.

Happy renovating!

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