Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Have you a question on home renovations, building process? Here’s a list of some Frequently Asked Questions and answers that home owners typically ask us. If there’s something else you’d like us to answer, or you want talk to us about your renovation, please get in touch. You can contact us or call 0800 789 537.
Can I make changes during the renovation?
Yes. We would discuss the changes with you to. If the requests incur additional labour time and/or material costs, this request will be treated as a variation to the contract. All variations will be costed and presented to you for approval and sign-off. No variation work would be undertaken until variation is approved/signed-off.
What are renovation variations?
Building a new home and renovation a house are different with respect to risks and unknowns prior and during the project life cycle.
For example, a renovation: once the old outer cladding is removed, the condition of the existing framing may require additional time and cost to repair it. The existing wiring may also be found to be substandard and will require changes to bring it up to standards. These examples are just a couple of unknowns that come to light after work has commenced and will require a variation.
At Style Plus | Renovations we understand and are experienced with dealing with unknowns. Our quotes will attempt to identify any unknowns. We would discuss with you the potential implications and the options for dealing with them.
How does the payments work during the renovation?
It depends on the type of contract you have chosen. For example, with a full works contract you only make payments to one company. Payments made at specific stages of the project (milestone payments). For Style Plus | Renovations, milestone payments will be discussed prior to the build contract being signed. Included in the contract is a payment schedule and also a construction schedule so you know what to expect and when to expect it.
Do I need building consent for my knock-down rebuild garage?
If you have an existing garage/shed and are looking to knock it down and rebuild based on the existing footprint it is important that you check with your local council during the early stages of your planning.
What unitary plan zone is my house in?
You can find out which zone your house is in by using Auckland Councils Geomap. Just enter you address in Geomap (https://unitaryplanmaps.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/upviewer/).
Can Style Plus | Renovations help with my interior and finishing options?
With so many options to select from and many decisions to make, Style Plus | Renovations offers an interior design service that can assist you for all of the design choices.
How long should I expect the completion of the second storey build to take?
The time period of the completion of the second storey build varies depending on the size and scope of the project. Style Plus | Renovations have project management processes in place to ensure high levels of efficiency in completing each stage of a job and strive to meet deadlines as best as possible.
When can you start?
At Style Plus | Renovations, once the building consent has been approved, work can commence within approximately 4 – 6 weeks.
Do I need to move out whilst construction takes place?
Generally this is recommended as it can mean extended delays as the Style Plus | Renovations team work around you. Also there is the Health & Safety requirements.
Will my second storey extension fit with my existing home?
At Style Plus | Renovations we pride ourselves on our design skills and our ability to produce high quality renovations which are sympathetic with your existing home.
Is planning permission required?
You will need a building consent, and possibly a resource consent, for additions and alterations, depending on the rules in your area.
What types of building contracts are available?
With a full contract you do not have to worry about organising anything as we will organise everything for you from subcontractors all the way to the final inspection. We will give you a fixed price cost for the job from start to finish. This leaves you knowing exactly what the job will cost and rest assured we will use only the best sub contractors. Anything outside of the fixed price is our problem not yours.
Labour Only Contract:
With this type of contract you only pay the builder for his labour. You are responsible for organising everything from sub contractors to inspections and this also means you are responsible for meeting any building code requirements. This process can take a huge amount of your time and energy unless you hire a separate project manager capable of undertaking all of these tasks. Additionally labour only contracts can end up being very costly. Labour only contracts are only recommended if you are experienced at managing a project.
Cost Plus Contract:
This is the cost of all materials plus the builder’s margin on top of this. There is no fixed price, so there are no guarantees on job cost but it removes the builder’s risk factor which is built into a full contract. This type of contract allows you to input new things as the project progresses. We will still organise everything from sub contractors through to the final inspection.
Why is it important to hire a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP)?
The Licensed Building Practitioner logo puts customers at ease by letting them know the building practitioners they are engaging have been assessed as technically competent in their licensed field.
From 1 March 2012 building work (including design work) that relates to either the structure (load-bearing walls; foundations etc) or moisture penetration (roofs; cladding etc) of homes including small to medium sized apartments will be classified as Restricted Building Work.
Restricted Building work may only be carried out by competent licensed building practitioners. Additionally it will be an offence for an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise restricted building work and it is also an offence to knowingly engage an unlicensed person to carry out restricted building work.
You can rest assured knowing that at Style Plus | Renovations | North Shore | Auckland we are fully licensed building practitioners, guaranteeing you that we are technically competent and experts in our field. Whenever you undertake any new building work always hire a licensed building practitioner.
Looking to know more about Style Plus, check out ‘About Us’.
Do I need to know about the building consent process and what is involved?
Yes, it is important to know about the consent process as a building consent is usually needed before a project can begin. The same basic consent and inspection process applies whether building a new home, commercial building or structure and is also subject to renovations, additions, alterations and demolition. It is the architect’s job to draw the plans for the project. Comprehensive plans are required to submit to the building consent authority when applying for a building consent. The cost for a building consent will largely depend on the detail of the plans and specifications of your project. Below are some examples of work that requires a building consent:
- Structural changes to a building: additions, alterations, re-piling and demolition
- Plumbing and drainage, this does not include repair and maintenance of existing
- Relocating a building
- Installing a wood burner or air-conditioning system
- Retaining walls higher than 1.5 meters
- Fences or walls higher than 2 meters, and all swimming pools and their associated fencing
- Decks, platforms or bridges more than 1 metre above ground level
Complete an application form and submit to the building consent authority.
If the information provided is incomplete, the building consent authority can request further information which could lead to delays so its best to check your application twice to make sure you have not left anything out.
The building consent authority will check the plans thoroughly to determine whether the proposals will meet the requirements of the Building Code and will charge a fee for this process. It’s best to have your plans done right the first time so that you don’t incur extra costs.
The building consent authority has 20 working days to decide whether to grant or refuse a building consent. If more information is needed this can cause delays.
Once fees have been paid, the building consent authority will issue the building consent.
Notify the building consent authority when work begins on a project. A building consent lapses if the building work does not start within 12 months, unless you make arrangements with your building consent authority.
Organise inspections and ensure they are occurring as required.
Finished project and Code of Compliance Certificate (CCC) issued.
Inspectors/ Building Inspections
The building consent authority will set out the inspections that are necessary on the building consent. These inspections will come at certain times during the project. At Style Plus we employ our own quality assurance checklist that prepares us for these inspections and ensures we have not missed anything.
Certificate of Building Compliance
At the end of the project a final inspection for a code compliance certificate (CCC) is required. A CCC is issued after the final inspection of the finished building project and confirms that the building consent authority is satisfied the completed building work complies with the building consent.
Is it possible to live onsite during the construction of my home?
Yes, depending on the project. We’ve had plenty of experience with families who have chosen to do so even in the case of major home renovations. With the right amount of team management, site safety and proper systems and timelines in place, there’s no reason why you can’t live on site.
How can I keep my project on budget and on time?
At Style Plus our quotes are never one page, we budget for even the most minor of expenses so you know exactly where your investment is being spent. If there are any unexpected expenses that come up along the way you will be notified and we will request approval (through the variations process) for these spends prior to resolving the issue. There are a few steps you can take early on in the building process to combat your build going over budget and over the time frame. These are things like hiring a construction company with project management services that will be able to help keep your costs down, using a good quality certified builder to build your project right the first time, try making all major decisions as early as possible to keep unforeseen costs to a minimum and plan as realistically as possible allowing for contingency just in case.
Choose a reputable builder that guarantee’s their workmanship, we cannot stress this enough. Sometimes you can get an extremely cheap quote that seems almost too good to be true, this can very often be the case. A one-page quote could very well be an estimate instead of a thoughtfully considered quote. When considering hiring a building company ask yourself would you rather a builders who has just guessed a price that would hopefully guarantee them the job or a company that has thought of all aspects of the job, priced the sub-contractors and materials, and given you their best deal for the best quality?
Try to make all major decisions as early as possible. If you are unsure of an aspect of your build, do not wait until a wall is half constructed to realise you want it somewhere else. Variations, while sometimes necessary, have a knock-on effect to the rest of a project both physically and fiscally. All concerns are best addressed as soon as possible. And if in doubt, ask how long you have to lock down a decision so that unforeseen costs are kept to a minimum.
Hire a Project Manager, or a construction company, like Style Plus, that offer this as a part of their service and can ensure that their service is reputable. A good project manager can make all the difference.
While the Architect, Builder and yourself will try to think of every possible cost that will be incurred, try to include a realistic contingency. For example, what if the council changes a standard and the building inspector holds up a build? Not only will your build not move forward until this issue is resolved but your contractors and subcontractors may not be able to finish other aspects of the job, which means you could be in a rental longer and the job goes over time. Who would have known this was to happen? Allow your budget to have room for contingencies and if nothing does happen then you have plenty left in the bank at the end of your project.
Do I need to have insurance arranged?
Yes, definitely. We cannot emphasise enough how important insurance is. Your budget should always include an allowance for building insurance to safeguard your investment. We recommend insurance being in place from day one for the sake of your project reaching its completion no matter what may happen as the process takes place.
What role does a project manager play?
The project manager is key in managing the physical building process, managing staff and subcontractors, ordering materials and stock, liaising with clients, council and the architect, ensuring that the elements of the building process come together smoothly. He is the ‘one point of contact’ for the project. A project manager is extremely important in maintaining efficiency, flow and clear communication between all parties. At Style Plus our project manager understands the critical part they play in the management of timelines and budgets, which is why we offer this service to eliminate any uncertainty or confusion about who is responsible for what at varying stages of the build, ensuring that your project will be built on time and to budget.
Why is it important to select a good architect for your building project?
A good Architect with experience and knowledge of the scope of your project should be able to provide you with advice on everything from optimising living spaces, for a current home renovation, or for a new build, to choosing a reputable builder, creating detailed and accurate drawings and negotiating your building consent and sometimes your resource consent.
At times the roles of both the Architect and the contractor can overlap, so ensuring that both your architect and your contractor are personable, contactable and forthcoming about all information will lead to a positive building process and outcome.
At what stage do I engage the services of a builder?
This can vary depending on the building company and whether they are willing to take on jobs that haven’t been drawn up or consented yet. Most companies do not provide this service and typical practice is to involve the contractor’s services once the design has been consented by the council and is ready to be priced by a contractor. At Style Plus we are more than happy to be involved as early as you require, including at the beginning of the process where we engage with the architect. This way we can give you a realistic budget as early as possible. Once your plans have been drawn up we can help with lodging the consent with Auckland City Council.
Book your consultation today and kick start your renovation project!
Whilst all information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Style Plus is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.