There's been a lot of news coverage in the past week about the cost of renovations at The Lodge blowing out to almost four times the original budget.
Few of us can live in the kind of opulence that the Australian Prime Minister's residence offers, but I'm sure all renovators have experienced the massive challenge of keeping to budget.
With any renovation work it seems there are always little surprises that end up costing extra money to address. Plus, there's what I call the "might as wells" - items that you discover you "might as well" address while you are in the midst of renovating rather than having to go back and update them later.
What tips do you have for keeping renovations under budget?
Planning and preparation are crucial. Yes, there will always be little surprises so you need contingency money, but there's a lot you can do before you start to ensure you stick to budget. The most important is having detailled plans and costed specifications/fittings/finishes. You don't want to get into a job only to realise that its going to cost you double what you had anticipated/guessed.
Yeah, on a big job a quantity surveyor can be very useful to get detailed costings. I think the difficulty with big jobs is that you have to sink a lot of money into the project before you really accurately know whether you can afford it. I've had the experience of getting architect plans drawn up with a strict budget in mind, and also having to pay for things like soil tests and surveyors, then when the full costings was done the project was going to cost more than twice our budget and just wasn't feasible. It wasn't going to be our forever home so we just weren't going to get our money back. We just had to write the money off we had spent on the plans as a big, expensive learning exercise.