Things to Watch Out for in a Renovation

Construction and material costs have risen at an unprecedented rate in the past couple of years. Allowing a contingency sum—a part of the budget reserved exclusively in preparation for any unforeseen circumstances during construction—in the building contract has become crucial. Usually, most variations will occur during the early stage of a renovation.

Some items that might initially go under the radar for a renovation include:
  • A site with a problematic or contaminated soil condition:

A soil report will be required to determine the soil condition of the site. The soil condition will determine the level of engineering and footing necessary for a structure. Additional costs will be required for a site with problematic or contaminated soil conditions.

  • Floaters:

Floaters are large rock fragments unattached to underlying bedrock within the soil. One can only discover them during excavation. It can be costly to remove a floater depending on its size but building on top of them could compromise the building structure with time.

  • Existing asbestos on site:

Asbestos was first manufactured in the 1920s. It was commonly used in the manufacture of residential and commercial building materials from the mid-1940s until the late 1980s. Australia first banned the use and import of products containing asbestos due to its discovered carcinogenic properties in the mid-1980s. If asbestos is discovered on site during demolition, a specialised asbestos removalist will be required to safely remove and dispose of all asbestos. The removal cost varies depending on the access and asbestos amount contained in the building.

  • Existing structural, plumbing & electrical wiring condition:

Building Codes are periodically updated to ensure the best standard of structural integrity, safety, healthcare, and amenity of Australian homes. During the demolition, one might discover the existing structure, plumbing, or electrical wiring may not be built up to the current Building Code. It is vital to make adequate allowance in the contract to fix the issue.

While your architect cannot reasonably foresee all issues that may arise during a renovation, we maintain an extensive understanding of them, and are equipped to address them, ensuring the journey to completion is as smooth as possible.


Howard Siow Project Architect — October 5th, 2023


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