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    Why Builders Charge For Quote

    Thursday, August 15, 2019

    Why Builders Charge For Quote

    When it comes to choosing your builder, you may need to collect a number of quotes, for which some companies may charge. While this may seem unnecessary, paying a small charge for a quote early on in the process can save a lot of trouble down the line.

    Here at The Perfect Space, we will not compete to present you the lowest price. While we are more often than not competitive in pricing, we won’t compromise our standards in order to win you over. That’s why we take an approach from the outset that lets our prospective clients know we are serious about our business, our customers and the outcome of their projects.

    Our team always puts the highest level of quality and attention into everything we do, including tenders. There may be other builders that provide free quotes – this is usually because they apply a m² rate and don’t go to the effort of producing a bill of quantities, or sourcing quotes from suppliers and sub-contractors. This practice often leads to unnecessary variations, disappointment and disputes during construction, not to mention extension of the construction period, costing you time and money.

    We like to provide a personalised and transparent service with a tender that will give you confidence and certainty that your project will be completed to an exceptional standard, on time and on budget. There is a significant amount of time, effort and expense that goes into preparation of a detailed and specific tender. In order to be able to provide this level of service, we require the payment of a nominal fee. The payment of this fee also means the quote belongs to you. We encourage you to source other quotes and invite you to compare us (our service, our past projects and resulting testimonials, our approach and our price) with other builders.

    We offer two different types of tenders – a preliminary cost report and/or a detailed cost tender. I always encourage my clients to undergo a preliminary cost report prior to lodging a DA with the council. This ensures that the project is not outside your budget and that you don’t go through the entire DA process and all the fees associated to find out that the budget does not fit the design.

    If we can flag this early, we can work together with the designer and you to ensure the budget is realistic and you can move forward to lodge the DA with confidence. This preliminary cost report is usually more than 95% accurate – note, it is impossible to achieve 100% accuracy at this point as we have no engineer details, selections and detailed plans.
    The second option is the detailed cost tender. Once we have DA approval, geotechnical soil reports, engineer plans, specifications, selections, colours and detailed construction certificate plans and sections, we can then undergo the detailed cost tender. This is a fixed price quotation that is essentially the entire cost of the building work, down to the minor finishes like towel rails and toilet roll holders.

    If you proceed to work with The Perfect Space, all the preliminary/quote fees will be deducted off the first progress payment, meaning this service is ultimately free. Whichever builder you choose, requesting a quote is a great way to test their attention to detail and quality standards, giving a great indication of their work as a whole.

    What is the difference between a DA & CDC

    Thursday, August 01, 2019

    When building a new home, you have two options to ensure that you are meeting all the regulatory requirements:

    • A Development Application (DA) is a merit-based assessment conducted directly through the local council. The council will have a set of guidelines and parameters that will be used to assess your application. In some circumstances, your application may fall outside those guidelines, but the council still has the option of approving your DA.

      A DA is a two-stage process that includes the assessment and then once the DA is completed, a construction certificate must be submitted and approved.

      A Construction Certificate considers the planning aspects of the build. Some of the elements required include site plans, architectural plans, engineering plans, building specifications, fire safety and sustainability statements.
    • Complying Development Checklist (CDC) is a combined planning and construction approval process. It is designed to enable straightforward development applications to be fast-tracked. It can be conducted by either your local council or a private certifier. As a result, the process is faster than a DA.

      The two steps are:
      • A strictly defined checklist that you must comply with for every element. Failure to meet every regulation will render the CDC non-compliant.
      • Second step is the inclusion of the Construction Certificate.


    If your development application (DA) includes a balcony that does technically doesn't fit the guidelines, but when reviewed by council does not affect other properties it may be approved. In the case of a CDC because it does not fit the guidelines, your application would be rejected.

    How Do I Choose Between a DA and CDC?

    Firstly, you need to check whether a CDC is permissible. Some sites have restrictions that will only allow for a DA through council. This permission can be found in your Section 149 Planning Certificate that contains information on how a property may be developed and whether there are restrictions on development. The Perfect Space will obtain your Section 149 Certificate as part of your tendering and concept design process.

    Restrictions may be in place due to specific issues such as your block is flood-restricted, is part of a critical habitat, is heritage listed or other restrictions related to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

    Once you know that a CDC is permissible, The Perfect Space will provide the right advice on what will be the best process for you. Considerations will be:

    • Reviewing the CDC documents in place for the local council area.
    • Reviewing the design & type of building that meets your needs.
    • How large is your desired home comparative to the size of the site?
    • What are the setbacks from the boundaries?
    • What are the floor/space ratios – how big the building will be in comparison to the entire site?
    • Does the design meet all criteria?

    How long does this process take?

    In general, you should allow up to six months to have a Development Application approved, whereas a Complying Development can be completed in around three to four months.

    The Perfect Space will be able to offer expert advice on all the pros and cons of which process is best for you – DA or CDC based on council regulations for your land and the type of home you wish to build.

    Preliminary Fees. Here’s what you can expect to pay upfront before a build can begin

    Thursday, July 18, 2019


    You’ve heard the term Preliminary Fees and may be wondering what they are, where they fit into the timeline and what you should expect to pay?

    A lot of people seek financial assistance through their preferred lender to fund their new extension or second storey addition. Even with an approved design and building cost, to get full approval and the borrowed money released into your bank account, the finance guys need to see council approved plans and a signed building contract in place.

    The Preliminary Phase is where this happens. It's broken into two parts, and there are fees associated with each.

    We advise our clients that generally they can expect to outlay approximately $15k-$25K in total for preliminary feesbased on a budget of around 250k-500k.

    Here’s how we break it down.

    Preliminary Phase 1 – Development of architectural plans for lodgement

    Once you are happy with the concept design and building cost, it’s time to proceed to developed design. We prepare a full set of DA or CDC drawings for submission and approval. See CDC approval or DA approval what’s the difference?

    The package includes but is not limited to:

    • Site plan
    • Survey
    • Calculations page
    • Site analysis plan
    • Elevations
    • Shadow diagrams
    • Floor plans

    We also prepare documents that support your plans and lodgement to the council such as:

    • A Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) – this details any potential environment impacts the proposed build will have.
    • Waste Management Plan – this applies to all homes across the country and lists how waste generated onsite will be managed, maintained and disposed of.
    • BASIX (Building Sustainability Index) - this applies to all residential homes across NSW and is part of the DA process.

    Depending on your property and build, there may be some extra supporting documents required in your application such as a Bushfire Report, Flood Report or Acoustic Report to name a few. our team will put these together also.

    The preparation of drawings and paperwork for lodgement starts at $6500

    Preliminary Phase 2 - Council Lodgement of Development Application & Construction Certificate OR Complying Development Consent

    This next step is where we lodge your plans to PCA (Private Certifying Agent) or Council as either a Complying Development Consent (CDC) OR as a Development Application (DA) and Construction Certificate (CC).

    At this stage, we’re planning to get your build underway and will be pulling together this additional documentation:

    • Engineering plans and certification to confirm your existing home will support the new addition
    • Sewer Service Diagram
    • Sydney Water check
    • Home Warranty Insurance – for all residential works over $20K
    • Long Service Levy – for all residential works over $20K
    • And any other supporting documents as required

    The preparation of the lodgement for either CDC or DA/CC starts from $8500.

    A tighter cost can be provided once council fees have been quoted.

    What about timings? As a guide, it will take 3-4 months from planning to council approvals.

    Upon approval, you can take your final build cost, councils approvals and your HIA Fixed Price Contract and finalise your finance with your lender. Happy days!

    We hang our hat on delivering a stress-building experience, which starts from the minute we meet you. If you need any advice or guidance during the planning phase, we'd love to help. We'll show you how to stay on budget while achieving a beautiful architectural solution that adds comfort, style and value to your home.

    Call the Perfect Space today on 02 9907 4568


    How much does an extension actually cost?

    Wednesday, April 03, 2019


    You've been collecting home improvement magazines and devouring design inspiration, but before you go any further and get too carried away with your plans, you need to know how much this dream reno is going to cost.

    You jump onto Google and type in ‘how much does a renovation or extension cost?’ Your eyes light up as you see the descriptions of average ballpark costs or examples of sqm quotes or cost per room.

    Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In fact, this kind of ballparking is downright misleading as every build and site have their differences. For example; the land, the age and condition of the existing home, materials and fixtures choices as well as preliminary fees to name a few. A quote that doesn’t include all these variants would be incomplete and could be wildly inaccurate.


    For a better idea on the cost, get a few different quotes to compare

    Do your research and invite at least three highly-reputable builders to your place to quote. On site, they will be able to get an understanding of your existing home and the land underneath it. Then share your ideas and vision with them as well as your budget.

    Remember, when the quotes come in, you need to compare apples with apples. If there is a big difference between them, you need to ask why. Are there hidden costs? What haven’t they included? Do they have the same level of experience/ reputation? It’s also important to engage with builders that have experience in your type of extension.

    For an accurate quote upfront, invest in a concept design and cost analysis

    If you have a fixed budget or need to seek financial assistance, then the best way to get an accurate upfront cost for the extension is with a concept design and cost analysis. This does have a fee associated with it, but it's worth it for the extra peace of mind it delivers in finance approval and budget managing. The design and build teams who offer this use a rigorous process based on years of experience to prepare a comprehensive concept and building quote with no hidden surprises to greet you at the end of the build.

    With a solid figure to work with, you can now approach lenders for funding

    Armed with a concept design and building cost analysis, you are in the best position to seek pre-approval. While you may have a great relationship with a traditional banking institution, it's always worth speaking to a broker as they have access to a broad range of lenders who can tailor finance based on your particular circumstances.

    The other beauty about the concept design and cost analysis is your ability to go confidently into Development Approval knowing that the design you submit, you can actually afford to build.

    Don’t jump on to Google. Give us a call today on 02 9907 4568 and set up a FREE consultation with our talented design and build team who’d be happy to answer your questions and get you started on an accurate cost upfront for your extension.


    Planning a reno? Here are 4 big reasons to engage a builder first

    Friday, February 08, 2019

    Here you are, reno ready. You’ve got big ideas but also a budget you need to stick to. Time to call the architect or designer. Right?

    Whether to call the architect or builder first is a common question for most people but did you know, there are several significant advantages in calling a builder first? Input from an experienced builder upfront will enhance your plans and maximise your budget. Here’s why:

    1.Builders will know whether your design ideas match your budget 

    Submitting design plans for development approval that haven’t been reviewed and costed by an experienced builder can result in beautiful design being abandoned and architect’s fees wasted – nightmare!

    Through an on-site consultation, an experienced builder will be able to review your extension ideas and advise on any issues with the land as well as potential red flags that the design may produce. While an architect is aware of the money, it’s the builder who will know whether your dream design can be built for the budget you have.

    Hot tip: It’s important to do your research thoroughly and only engage with builders that have proven experience in your type of reno. It’s worth speaking to past clients.


    2.Builders can provide valuable input upfront that could save you thousands


    Hot tip: Be careful of over-engineering in your design stage. An experienced builder will be able to advise on effective structural materials that don't cost the earth.

     A builder always keeps timings and budgets top of mind and will look carefully at not only building the best second storey addition for the budget you have but will be able to advise on costs upfront that you may not be aware of such as preliminary fees, site works, essential upgrades and repair to existing structures. The builder can also advise on whether there are any complexities to the build that the architect should ‘nut out’ further.


    3.Builders can deliver an accurate quote for your extension at the beginning

    A quote is essential in ensuring you have an exact figure to work with and stick to, but the reality is, unless an architect/ designer has a strong relationship with a builder, it’s difficult to get an accurate building quote for the design. This could mean lots of nasty cost surprises later. And no one likes that.

    It's always worth investing in a ‘concept design' and in-depth ‘cost analysis' at the beginning. The builders who charge for quoting take the time that is needed to prepare an accurate estimate. They usually have a streamlined process they follow based on years of experience that will give you a clear picture of what you can expect to pay for materials and labour.

    Hot tip: A staggering statistic is that if a builder does a ‘free quote’ you have less than a 20% chance that the quote will be accurate. Yikes.


    4.Builders can recommend the perfect architect/ designer for the job

    As they say, great minds think alike. An experienced builder will be able to recommend an architect or designer that they like and trust with a successful track record in builds just like yours. This synergy means great things for you. Apart from taking the hassle out of searching for the right team, it will ensure a smooth-running project with open communication, timings adhered to and a budget that is kept sweetly on track.


    Calling in a builder first to have a chat is a good decision but calling an experienced design and build team could be the best decision you make in the whole journey. At the Perfect Space, we build every renovation we design, and that is why we can provide you with an accurate quote up-front – with no hidden extras. Give us a call today – 02 9907 4568