Soooo Many Choices ...
For those of us lucky enough to be in a position to be building or renovating their own home, there are a LOT of choices to be made.
Sometimes soooooooo many choices it all just gets too CRAZY and we just close our eyes, point and hope for the best.
This strategy can work out OK ... IF you have narrowed your paint, tile, flooring, taps, kitchen etc choices down to 3 or 4.
In fact, even if you change your mind down the track it isn't too hard to rectify - although some (mainly tradies or partners who are tired of the constant changing) will tell you otherwise! These choices are essentially the bells and whistles, the "glitz and glamour", the "icing on the cake" of your home and seem to take up the majority of decision time.
The REALLY BIG choices, such as building materials and methods to be used, tend to be glossed over by all parties concerned and an innate expectation that "standard" or "usual" is good enough.
Building can be an expensive business for both the client and the builder, especially if either one gets it wrong.
Building is certainly VERY competitive and the huge presence of the larger building companies in the industry has served to really SQUEEZE the margins down on everything!
Keeping on track with your building budget is essential and avoiding cost blowouts from things like plan changes etc is a very important part of this.
With building, as in life - be sure to get the big things right and the little things will follow...
DO make sure your builder (whether from a Home Company or their own Company) not only has a license but ALSO has EXPERIENCE.
By this I mean, not just experience in building the same style of house and therefore only knows one recipe, but experience in different projects. You need someone to be part of the solution not the problem. There is ALWAYS a way!
DO some research on different building products.
If you look around the majority of suburbs you will see brick or rendered homes with either metal or concrete tile roofs, with little or no distinguishing traits.
Today there are numerous products available that will actually increase your living comfort. Below are just a couple to get you thinking.
Insulation for the roof AND walls. Strangely "insulation" seems to have been missing from Australian buildings for a good number of years and after initial catastrophic installation schemes, is being hailed as some sort of new idea. Without too much initial cost it WILL keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter =less ongoing power consumption and cost.
Wall materials Bricks and rendered walls are good solid materials that should not give you too much cause for concern provided they have been built properly. BUT there are other materials to seriously consider, such as Hebel or Western Red Cedar Cladding. Both of these products are:
highly fire resistant (do not burn)
have very high acoustic absorbing properties. Hebel is a lightweight, highly durable, masonry product with built in insulation. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, highly durable natural product that expands and contracts (essentially it "breathes"). Both of these products will assist with improving your building's energy ratings and usage.
Some "green credentials" for these two products;
Hebel has a lower carbon footprint than brick.
Western Red Cedar has a ZERO carbon footprint (more about THAT later)
I think that's enough to digest for now - I really shouldn't get started on the roofing products, just yet!
I guess the big things to take away are:
Initial $$$$$ savings are not always what they seem.
Ensuring your home has good "bones" will mean that ongoing "running costs" won't break the bank.
So saving yourself a few thousand dollars now is false economy if you will have an "ever-after" expense that even the installation of solar panels won't help (also another topic for later!).