building defects

How to deal with building defects

Yippee! Your renovation or building project is finished and you are ready to start enjoying your new bi-fold doors/bathroom/open-plan kitchen and family room/insert dream project here! Hopefully everything went well and you and the builder are still on good terms (we enjoyed an Australia Day party at a customer-turned-friend’s place this year).


Time for some #realtalk. Building doesn’t always go to plan and sometimes, once the job’s finished there are some defects that need to be rectified. Yeah, that’s a bummer but hey, life isn’t all unicorn meat with sparkle gravy so let’s talk about the best way to deal with building defects and how to get them fixed.


Why don't builders like architects?

Do you know about Amelia the Undercover Architect? She’s a totally fab woman who offers really down to earth and very practical design advice – she won my heart the first time I came across her when she wrote a story for Reno Addict about why you shouldn’t use an architect. Coming from an architect this was powerful stuff! She ruffled a few feathers but I thought it was a great piece.


renovation budget

How to stick to your renovation budget


I love reading renovating and decorating blogs and am so old that I also enjoy magazines (printed on paper, try them, you’ll love it). They are full of gorgeous renovations and furnishings and many of them mention prices. Some of those prices are realistic and some, not so much.


Anyway, when you’re embarking on a building project, price is definitely something you’ll need to consider. You may be disturbed to find that there’s a bit of a difference between how much money you have to spend and how much money it’s going to cost. There can quite often also be a difference between how much the builder estimated it would cost (we very rarely do fixed-price quotes and I’ll explain why in an upcoming post) and what it actually ended up costing.

lovely links

7 lovely links


I know. The last couple of posts have been pretty dry – what can I say, building is serious stuff sometimes! Sure, throw rugs and cushions are great fun but you’ve got to get through the approvals and the dirty work first!


So, here’s some pretty things to remind you of why you’re planning that next building project – and a few other things as well.


Loved this post about granny flats. Peter Stutchbury is amazing.


This cute couple have called in the professionals to finish off their staged renovation of an old house. Plus, puppies!

council approval

Do I need approval for that?


Some days, it can feel like you need official approval for everything – parking, pets, parties and of course, building works. For a larger project that’s a bit out of the box, obtaining council approval can take up a considerable amount of time and money. However, the good news is that there are now a number of projects for which you do not need approval – these are called exempt developments. Yippee!


You can get the full lowdown here, but here are some highlights for those of you living in NSW.



Why you should think at least twice about becoming an owner-builder

I was reading a renovating forum recently and the topic was owner-builders – the pros and cons. The original poster wrote, “Hey there, I did my recent renovation/extension as an owner builder, and all I got was “you will regret it” type comments from friends and families. As it turned out, we had a good experience – yes there were some issues – but the feeling of control over what happened throughout the job was great. I’ve had friends who have employed builders for their jobs and still had problems! What have other people experienced?”



How to decide: renovate or relocate?

JD‘s always talking to people about their renovations and whether it’s worth their while to go ahead. “We can’t decide whether to renovate or sell,” they say, juggling home magazines and real estate websites. Recently, he was talking to some customers who wanted to replace a couple of doors. By the time he’d spent an hour with them, it turned out they wanted to change more than a few doors.


Christmas renovation

Why you won't be in by Christmas

No matter what time of year you start your project, a major goal is pretty much always “we want to be in by Christmas”, or words to that effect. We hear you! Everyone wants to be in their own home for Christmas Day – especially if it’s a home that’s got a shiny kitchen and a new ensuite or some new doors and windows and a nice deck.


As I’ve said before (and no doubt you’ll hear it again), building is all about scheduling and logistics – getting the right people and products to the right place at the right time while coordinating with a number of other people who are trying to do the same thing at other people’s houses at the same time.

What to do when someone else's poo comes up your shower drain

First things first – call an emergency plumber because having poo floating around the bathroom (whether it’s yours or anyone else’s) is not a good look.

My alternative title for this post was (the much less eye-catching) “Why buying off the plan is not always a good idea”. It’s a cautionary tale that involves my sister and the house she purchased recently as part of a fresh start after her divorce. On the face of it, this place (one of eight new terraces) looked great – plenty of space inside, three outdoor areas, in the right catchment for the high school she wanted her sons to attend. It even had a lock up garage. Tick, tick, tick.

Are flatpack kitchens worth the savings?

Search the net and there’s no shortage of beautifully photographed Ikea kitchens with rave reviews extolling their ease of assembly, installation and longevity. They’re so seductive, with their nonsensical names, their smooth Scandi style and their practically impossible-to-beat price. There’s no denying that Ikea kitchens look fabulous in the warehouse and that their ingenious layouts are as attractive as the price however, having installed a few in his time, JD tells me that those undertaking a kitchen renovation using Ikea (or any other flat pack system) components should be wary.