Posts Tagged ‘Builder melbourne’

What is the Difference between an Owner Builder and a Melbourne Builder

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

What is the Difference between an Owner Builder and a Melbourne Builder?

Simpy – A Melbourne Builder is a registered builder with the Victorian Building Commission. This is the only legal registration board in Victoria, There are “associations” like Master Builder’s Associations, but these are just information and resource outlets which builders in Melbourne can become members off. They have no legal authority, but they are a rich source of information for builders.

An Owner Builder is a person who owns the land which they are building on, this can be either a commercial or residential project. You are required by law to register with the VBA if your building project costs exceed $12.000. Here is a link to the owner builder kit which has all the required information and forms to complete.

Being an owner builder means that you assume the role of builder in Melbourne and all its guarantees and liabilities. It is recommended that you should only register as an owner builder if you have had some experience with building, as there is many factors, regulations and timelines that need to be adhered to, and if you have no experience in this, then you are likely to cost yourself time and money on the project.

compose and written by William Brinfield of Fast Track Plans & Permits P/L.



How to choose a Builder in Melbourne by their quotes

Friday, April 11th, 2014


Step 1

You would want to have at least 5-6 quotes to assess from.

  1. How long did the builder take to get the quote to you?
  2. Did the builder from Melbourne ask for further detail or information before he quoted?
  3. Does the quote have an estimated figure plus variation costs?
  4. Visit their previous work.

1 – How long did the builder in Melbourne take to get the quote to you?

All builders, no matter how busy they are, will have a system for quoting, either using a program likes kordells or through any other take off system that allows them to use the plans you supplied and estimate your project accurately.

All builders in Melbourne will also have a system on how quotes are processed within the company; some will offer 2-3 days turn around whereas some will take 3-6 weeks to get back to you.

It is important to know before hand what your prospective builder in Melbourne quote timeline is, as this is your first experience with the builder and their abilities to keep timelines, which means if they are late on getting the quote to you, it means that they have no system in place and this should be a red flag.

 2 – Did the builder from Melbourne ask for further detail or information?

This is now another way to access the builder in Melbourne. Most builders will need to speak to you or your designer about the finishing and the PC items. If you get a quote back from a builder in Melbourne that hasn’t made contact or asked about PC items and finishes, this is a big red flag, as the PC items can be as much as a 1/3 of your budget. Some builders in Melbourne will allow for this in a variation cost, which is something to stay well clear off.

 3 – Does the quote have an estimated figure plus variation costs?

A variation cost a cost the builder in Melbourne can not estimate without further information. The only variation cost you would expect the see on a quote is possibly for foundation variation, as it is very difficult to know what is under the ground until you start to dig, unless of course you have done a grid system soil report, but that is way too expensive for most residential projects.

Basically, if you see variation costs in the quote, get them taken out, by either supplying the information the builder in Melbourne needs to amend the quote. Variations are red flag’s for budget blow out’s down the track.

 4 – Visit the builder in Melbourne’s previous work?

Usually you will have 1-2 quotes from the 5-6 that you received that are in your budget range and that you felt comfortable with the builder in Melbourne. The next step, and a very important step is to see their previous work, including where they are working at the moment, this will allow you to see the site as it is run on a day per day process, speak to the current client on how the builder is keeping within budget and timelines. Finally see another of his projects that has been completed, to visually see the finished quality and the clients feedback, as they have been down the road you are about to take with the builder in Melbourne.

How to choose a Builder in Melbourne by the way the site looks

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


Look around at builder in Melbourne construction sites; look at what the builder in Melbourne is building, and assess the site yourself.

  1. Is it the building site project similar to your project?
  2. Is the building site clean?
  3. Is there work actually going on at the site or have you noticed over the last few weeks that he site is always closed?
  4. Are there clear safety barriers, portable toilet on site, clear and well label signage, is there lots of building materials stacked up all around the site?
  5. Are there lots of trade’s people milling about or are they all working on a task?

1 – Is the site project similar to your project?

You want to look for a builder in Melbourne that is doing similar projects to what your project is, this means that they are well versed and experienced in your type of project, it also means their trades people are experienced in your type of project. This also means that the builder in Melbourne is more likely to quote and to quote accurately on your project. You want a local builder, as it cuts down on the builders travel time and he is more likely to be on-site, rather than organizing your project from another site. It also means that the trades people and supplies he uses will be local.

 2 – Is the builder in Melbourne site clean?

This has to be one of the most important tell tale signs of a well organized builder in Melbourne, if the site is a mess, then this usually means the builder is not in control of his site, which means he is not in control of his business, which means, he is not in control of your project, and this will cost you time, money and quality.

 3 – Is there work actually going on?

Common complaint that we hear is that the builder in Melbourne started demolishing, and then wasn’t around again for 6 weeks. This is easily assessed, if you’re driving by over a two week period, you would notice minor to significant changes to the project over this time, you would also expect over the two weeks to see activity on the site.

 4 – Is the site well label and secure?

The site should be surrounded with 2m wire fencing. The first thing you want to read is all the signage on the fence, there should be a very clear sign stating safety requirements for entering the site, there should be a clear sign stating who the builder in Melbourne is, registration number, the building surveyor who is overseeing the site and there registration number. Both these signs are minimum and most well managed sites have more than these two signs. These signs are required by law, and if they are not up, it either means the site is run by un-registered builder.

Another issue is poor ordering schedule, if the builder in Melbourne has poor time management; you will notice stacks of building products on-site that are not being used over a period of time. This costs you money, it also leaves the products out in the environment and can create weathering issues to some products, and also creates access and movement issues around the site, but the most important thing is that it welcomes theft.

 5 – are there lots of trades people milling around?

This is a compound issue, it means that either the builder in Melbourne is running behind, or his time management schedule is poor, maybe trades people are waiting on products the builder was suppose to order and forgot. Either way, idle trades people on site is a red flag on poor site management and site control and this will cost you money.

Asbestos Removal

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Asbestos was used in firmly-bound and loosely-bound building materials throughout homes built before the late
1980s. The most common asbestos is in firmly-bound, which was used in:
• Asbestos-cement sheeting;
• Fibro water or flue pipes;
• Roof shingles;
• Flexible building boards;

• Imitation cladding;
• Plaster patching compounds;
• Textured paint;
• Vinyl floor tiles; and
• The backing of linoleum floor coverings. The loosely-bound form was generally used in older types of insulation for:
• Hot water pipes;
• Domestic heaters and stoves; and
• Ceiling insulation (more often used in commercial building permit) Loosely-bound asbestos poses a higher health risk than firmly-bound material. In most instances fibre glass has replaced asbestos in modern day insulation products

What should i do if i find asbestos?

Generally, if your home was built by a Melbourne builder before the 1980s then it is likely that asbestos will be in some of the materials used. This doesn’t mean you are necessarily at risk because if asbestos building materials are in good condition they are unlikely to release fibres.

Can i remove asbestos?

You or your Melbourne builder may legally remove asbestos from your property, but it should be done with extreme care and precautions. The removal, packaging, transport and disposal of asbestos are all times when you are at the highest health risk from fibres and dust, if the material isn’t handled correctly. Only a licensed professional or Melbourne Builder should remove loosely-bound asbestos, as the health risks are significant and much greater than firmly-bound asbestos.

Building A Home- Tips For Attaining A Cooler Home Enviroment

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The design of your house is a very important matter when building in Melbourne. By using the right building plans, you can save a considerable amount of money. It is possible to build an effective home by using the right design and construction process. If you are thinking of applying for building permits to execute a specific Melbourne building plan, then you should take time to evaluate the suitability of options available.

The choice of plans has direct influence on whether or not your home will become cool and hospitable especially in summer. You might think of installing air-conditioners, but the most effective way to regulate house temperatures is to design the interior to enhance coolness.

The secret to a comfortable living home 

Each year, thousands of homes are built in Australia, sadly, most of them can be labelled “hot boxes”, because drafts person and home builders used ineffective building plans. Most builders ignore the solar aspect and the orientation of the home. To help you maximize on the design of the homes and businesses and avoid hot homes, we suggest that you do the following.

1. Select a South Facing Land Orientation - This allows the outdoor living area to face North East, thus making it ideal for outdoor living and outdoor activities.

2. Choose Home Design for land Block - Majority of home plans typically vouch for North orientation, However, you can choose the East, West or even South orientation.

3. Minimize Heat Transfer - you can achieve this by eliminating ordinary windows and using high under eave windows, double glazing, or cool glazing in permanent windows.

4. Construct High Pitched Roofs - These are effective in reflecting heat away and holding more volume of air which has an insulating effect. Besides that, it will also maximize the harvesting of rain water.

5. Reduce Size of Roofing Facing West -  A West facing block can lower temperatures and make the home cooler. With a narrow roof side facing the West, more heat will be deflected away.

6. Insulate the Garage Area-  Do this if you have a West facing block, you should also use eaves and insulate the est facing garage door.

7. Insulate West Facing Walls and Ceiling Space - Other than the summer heat, you should also take note of the cold Westerlies in spring. Use thermal wrap foil and invest in Batts too. Also, given that the roof is the largest area facing the sun, heat radiates on this space. Insulating it will prevent the transfer of heat to living areas.

Can I use my shed as a permanent dwelling?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Buildings in Melbourne such as sheds are not normally approved for use as homes or dwellings as they may not have been constructed to comply with the requirements of the Regulations for a residential dwelling. Following the 2009 bushfires, certain concessions for temporary accommodation in buildings on bushfire affected properties were introduced to the Town planning scheme. These concessions will expire on 31 March 2012 by which time all buildings must comply.

If you are considering building a shed with a view to later using it as a dwelling it is important that you seek professional advice before you Draftsperson, as it may not be the best or most cost efficient option for you. The first choice should be to construct a new dwelling that fully complies with the Building Regulations 2006 (the Regulations).

The following information on sheds (Class 10a building) and dwellings (Class 1a building) may assist you in considering your options carefully.

What are the building permit requirements?

A building permit is required for most Melbourne building work including the following buildings:

• Construction of a shed (Class 10a building) greater than 10 m2 in area;

• Construction of a dwelling (Class 1a);

• To change the use of an existing building from a shed (Class 10a) to a dwelling (Class 1a).

A shed used temporarily as a dwelling is not exempt from the requirement to obtain a building permit for its construction. You should consult your draftsperson or local council for further advice on building permit requirements.

Are there exemptions for people rebuilding following the 2009 bushfires?

People rebuilding following the 2009 bushfires may be exempt from the requirements to obtain a planning permit until 31 March 2011 to complete the construction of the building for temporary accommodation or a new dwelling because of amendments to the Victorian Planning Provisions.

The use of a building for temporary accommodation will need to cease by 31 March 2012 unless the building is brought into compliance with the planning and building legislation requirements for a dwelling.

Can I retain a building used as temporary accommodation on my site permanently?

It will depend on the type of temporary building, whether you had a building permit for its original construction and what your planned use of the building is as to whether you can retain it permanently. You may need to obtain a building and planning permit for a change of use or works to bring it up to a suitable level of safety or amenity.

To assist you in determining whether you may be able to retain your building permanently, a number of different scenarios are provided below. Further advice can be obtained from the building and Town planning departments of your local council.

Town Planning and building legislation contain provisions relating to sheds on properties where they are not associated with a dwelling. Where a shed is proposed to remain on an allotment and a dwelling destroyed by the bushfires has not been re-built the local council may have additional controls and requirements that need to be addressed. Further advice on this can be obtained from the planning and building departments of your local council.

Building legislation issues that will affect your change of use application

A key point to note is that a building permit and occupancy permit cannot legally be issued after the building has been constructed (except where additional new work is proposed).

Where a change of use is proposed, Regulation 1011 of the Regulations allows a municipal building surveyor (MBS) or a private building surveyor to issue a building permit and an occupancy permit to allow the change of use of a building to occur.

The Regulation states “A person must not change the use of a building or place of public entertainment unless the building or place of public entertainment complies with the requirements of these Regulations applicable to the new use”.

There is some discretion given to the building surveyor to allow partial compliance with the Regulations applicable to the new use, however they must take into account structural adequacy of the building, health and amenity and fire safety requirements when assessing your request to change the use of the building.

As many of these buildings will be in bush settings a major issue for consideration in determining if a change of use to a dwelling is feasible will be the construction requirements for buildings in bushfire prone areas.

The following scenarios may help you understand the factors that may allow or prevent you from retaining your temporary accommodation or shed.

Scenario 1

You obtained a building permit to build a shed and would like to retain it as a shed

• This is acceptable;

• You should ensure that a Certificate of Final Inspection has been issued for the shed; If you have used your shed as temporary accommodation following the 2009 bushfires and installed facilities such as a kitchen, toilet, bathroom and laundry, you will need to remove these by the 31 March 2012 when the occupation of the shed as temporary accommodation will no longer be allowed.

Scenario 2

You did not obtain a building permit to build the shed and would now like to retain it as a shed

• Building Surveyors cannot legally issue a building permit and certificate of final inspection after the building has been constructed.

• MBS from the local council could issue a Building Notice (show cause) and possibly follow up with a Building Order to carry out building work, and if satisfied, could allow the structure to remain, however the structure will not be issued with a building permit.

• If the MBS doesn’t allow the structure to remain the owner would either remove it or appeal the Building Order to the Building Appeals Board (BAB), however the BAB would need to be satisfied that the building was safe to remain as a shed.

Scenario 3

You obtained a building permit for a shed and would like to change its use to a dwelling

An owner may apply for a change of use permit however the building surveyor would need to be satisfied that relevant requirements applicable to a dwelling (Class 1a building) have been met.

The change of use may mean you also need to obtain a Town planning permit from the local council.

The building surveyor would also require plans drawn up by a draftsperson, to show as constructed details and proposed building work still to be carried out. The building surveyor will be concerned about non-compliance and defects, especially with the safety of current and future owners and would need to be satisfied that the building was safe to be occupied as a dwelling.

It can sometimes be very costly to change the use of a building as you may need to replace concrete slabs, footings and other building requirements (see other considerations below). You may also need to consider the requirements in the building standard for construction in bushfire prone areas.1

The building will need to be assessed for energy efficiency and the installation of insulation and other energy efficiency measures may be required.

A building permit will be required for the works to convert the shed to a dwelling and an occupancy permit issued upon completion.

Scenario 4

You do not have a building permit for a shed and would like to retain it as a dwelling

It may be more difficult to justify retention of the shed as a permanent dwelling because the construction details may not be known.

Building surveyors cannot legally issue a building permit (or an occupancy permit) for a dwelling after the building has been constructed without approval.

The Municipal building surveyor (MBS) could issue a Building Notice (show cause) and possibly follow up with a Building Order to carry out building work, and if satisfied could allow a structure to remain; however the owners will not have a building permit or occupancy permit.

The MBS will be concerned about non-compliance and defects, especially with the safety of current and future owners.

Building owners may appeal the Building Notice or Building Order to the Building Appeals Board (BAB), however the BAB would need to be satisfied that the building was safe to remain as a dwelling.

Other considerations

Seeking to change the use of a shed to a dwelling is not simple. There are many considerations and it is recommend that you seek professional financial, building and regulatory advice before you make your decision.

Some other considerations include:

Is it feasible and cost effective to upgrade the temporary building to a standard that it can be used as a dwelling (Class 1a building)? The first choice should be to construct a new dwelling that fully complies with the Building Regulations 2006.

• To successfully change the use of your temporary building to a dwelling you will need to ensure that the structure meets the requirements of the Regulations and the Building Code of Australia. This will include the preparation of suitable plans of the building and a site plan, and the provision of a number of reports such as a BAL assessment, energy rating, geotechnical (soil) report and structural engineering design where required. Key construction elements that you will need to consider include:

o Bushfire construction requirements for the site;

o Energy efficiency requirements;

o Structural construction requirements for footings/slab on ground (soil test required), wall and roof framing; Slabs for dwellings have different requirements to those used for sheds. If the shed slab does not meet the requirements for a dwelling then it is not feasible to consider a change of use.

o Damp proofing under concrete floors;

o Termite protection where required;

o Minimum ceiling heights (2.4 m for habitable rooms and 2.1 m for laundry, bathroom, corridor and toilet);

o Minimum window sizes (including openable portions for ventilation);

o Required facilities for cooking, laundry, bathroom, toilet and damp proofing of floors and walls;

o Certificates of compliance for electrical, plumbing and glazing;

o Septic Tank system (where required);

o Complying steps, landings, balustrades (where required) and

o Hard wired smoke alarms.

1 Australian Standard, AS3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas.

Download this post as PDF
draftsman melbourne, draftsman, building plans, fast track plans and permits, commercial building design, fasttrack plans, simple town planning steps, architectural draftsperson, architect, planning, building, permits,

Knockdown and rebuild

Monday, June 28th, 2010

So you’ve decided that your current home no longer suits your needs but you love the area you live in and don’t want to move away.

This leaves you with two options: you can knockdown-rebuild or you can extend. Your choice will naturally be determined by your particular circumstances. In this guide we examine initial considerations, the financial traps and benefits of each method, council approval and the specific issues involved in a demolishing a house.

When you’re deciding whether to knockdown/rebuild or extend, a set of essential issues must be addressed. Ask yourself the following crucial questions:

Is your existing home in a condition that is suitable for renovating?
Do you like the design of your existing home?
If you renovate, can you find materials to match your existing home?
If you renovate, will you need to upgrade your home?

Depending on the ratio of renovation to new building, local building administrations may require that your home is upgraded to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) – which can cost your a fortune.

Compare the size of your existing home to the size of any planned extension. If you’re planning a 300sqm addition to a 50sqm home it’ll probably be cheaper to knock the existing structure down and build new. On the other hand, a 25sqm extension to a 250sqm home is most likely financially feasible. But other factors may add to your costs.

Do you have somewhere to live while the building work is being carried out?
Are you planning on engaging the services of a builder? No matter whether you are renovating or building, this will usually speed up the work.
Do you intend to carry out the entire project in one building operation or are there advantages in completing the work in stages?

It’s usually more expensive per square meter to extend or renovate than to build a new home. This is due to a number of issues:

Joining the addition to the existing structure takes a lot of time and is quite expensive. You may need purpose-made materials to match the appearance of your current home. These can be expensive.

Access to the building area is usually restricted by established gardens or existing buildings. This means that equipment and materials may need to be brought around sound entrances manually. Equipment may even need to be winched into your backyard – an extremely expensive operation.

If you are required to upgrade your existing home to comply with building regulations, you will face considerable expense (that is, if you are able to complete the project at all).

Additions and renovations usually take longer to build, so temporary accommodation and the holding costs of finance may be an issue
Many building components in existing homes (such as water pipes, electrical cables, insulation and structure) are hidden in areas which are not accessible. This means that it’s not always possible to clearly determine the amount of work necessary to achieve compliance or a satisfactory end product.

If you can’t clearly determine the scope of works, it’s often not possible to clearly identify the associated cost of the work. This can lead to issues with lending authorities, valuations for progress payments and budget overruns. So when you’re budgeting to extend your home include a contingency sum for unforeseen work.

This doesn’t mean that a knockdown/rebuild is always more financially feasible than an extension. It’s all in the ratios – the more work that needs to be done, the more likely it will be that you’ll save money on a knockdown/rebuild.

There are also costs associated with knockdown-rebuild that you won’t face with a renovation. These include:

Demolition of existing house (typically $10,000-$15,000);
Connection and reconnection of services;
Temporary accommodation costs.

Approval by council

Obtaining building approval from local councils can be complex and time-consuming, even for an experienced melbourne builder .So if you have no experience at all, the process can be a nightmare.

A properly licensed builder melbourne will have the expertise and necessary recourses to obtain council approval as painlessly as possible

Don’t be convinced by unscrupulous operators who suggest that you go ahead with any work, including demolition, before obtaining formal development approval by your local council. You also need compliance approval by a certifying authority before commencing work.

Carrying out unapproved building work is illegal. It will also make your home more difficult to sell and significantly reduce its market value.


In most states demolition can only be carried out by a licensed demolisher. It is likely that your licensed builder can also carry out this work.

The method by which the demolition will be carried out depends upon many issues, including:

Whether the demolition is total or partial.
Whether your home is close to other buildings.
Whether the demolition is internal or external.
You will be required to engage a specialist if you are demolishing a home that contains asbestos.

And don’t forget that homes are a bit like icebergs – a lot of the structure is in the ground. If your concrete footings are large it may be cost-effective to leave them in place. This decision will need to be made on site. It is recommended that you engage a practicing engineer to inspect and report on possible issues. Drainage can usually be removed.

The removal of the in-ground services and the footings of an existing home will significantly disturb existing ground. This action can severely decrease the load-bearing capacity of the ground and should be inspected by a certified practicing engineer.

Removing services and footings also leaves big holes in the ground. These have to be filled with compacted soils, rock or concrete, which is time consuming, expensive and should not be overlooked in the budget process.

Most state building administrations are sensitive toward environmental issues and regulate the disposal of waste. Disposing of waste is expensive, so consider recycling of some of the demolished materials and saving a few dollars.

You may be able to sell some of the materials while they are still in place, on the basis that the purchaser removes them. If you choose this option talk to your insurance company regarding associated occupational health and safety and other insurance issues