Sue’s Renovation Nightmares with a Silver Lining

Sue’s Renovation Nightmares with a Silver Lining

I am sooooo annoyed about my renovation nightmares – I just have to vent and share! You can tell me if I am being unreasonable but I think I am well within my rights to have the absolute pips about it.

Our current house is getting too small for our growing family so we hired a company to help us with some renovations. We didn’t want the Taj Mahal, all we asked for was an extension to our current house incorporating an extra bedroom, extra living space, a small study and updated kitchen and bathrooms. Essentially we just wanted a box put on the back of our existing house to give us some extra space. It seems like everyone is doing a reno of this type so we didn’t think it would be something out of the ordinary, but as neither my husband or I had any experience in building or reno’s we thought we would engage professional help.

We hired a company (who will remain nameless for the time being) who advertise themselves as a one-stop shop. It’s owned by a builder, they have in –house architects and they do the tender for the builders. They then project manage the job for you. We met with the owner and went through our requirements and budget and he said “No Worries”. We engaged them and met with an architect and then went through all our requirements – including budget- again!

They came back to us with the plans and they looked quite extensive so we asked for the cost estimate. Despite us telling them the budget numerous times the cost estimate was more than twice our budget!! We asked him to go away and come up with a plan that met “The budget”. Are we the only people in the world who want to keep to a budget?

Anyway they came back to us with a new plan and said it would meet our budget. In order to clarify our position, I called the owner to confirm and HE reassured us that the plans would meet the budget. He confirmed IT WOULD, so long as we had fixtures and fittings at a standard around 6-7 (being Reece bathroom ware, Westinghouse appliances, low level stone bench tops etc.) We agreed.

Then it was all systems go! Getting the DA done etc. I knew we would have to move out so I went through every draw and cupboard and got rid of as much stuff as I could. This was the only good thing to come out of this whole process.

I put everything I no longer needed on Gumtree including car seats we no longer used, baby equipment, toys, occasional furniture and ice cream maker that had never been used and all sorts of things. I made it so that pick up was all on the one day i.e.: a Sunday between 7am – 12pm. It worked really well as I only had to be home on one day. Also I had a quite a few small items that I didn’t think I would get any money for and I had them all in a pile. When people came to pick up their paid items I said they could take whatever they wanted from the “Free Pile”. I had not done a lot on Gumtree before but found it really easy to use and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of doing a clean out. Now I had extra cash for all those ‘little extras’ my new house is going to need. As I say this was about the only positive to come out of this whole experience – at least my house also looks cleaner!

So, after spending thousands on the DA, surveys, soil tests ($2k and they didn’t even come here to take a sample – really!), the nameless company organised the quotes from various builders. The lowest quote was $150K OVER BUDGET and some of the quotes were well more than DOUBLE the budget – ahhh.

After 5 hours worth of meetings on the subject to reduce the cost, the only solution they could come up with was that the whole thing would need to be re-designed. The quotes are so high we could have built a whole new project home for the cost, not just a box on the back of our cottage.

Seriously – is it just me or is this completely crazy? I am an accountant and if a client came to me and said they wanted to spend x dollars buying a company and I said here is one for double that price they would look at me as if I was an idiot!

Thoughts please anyone? I think I am too annoyed with my renovation nightmares to think straight now. Has anyone built a project home they are happy with? Facebook me please!



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