Employing a building quantity surveyor to develop an accurate construction budget from the beginning, conceptual phases is essential to a successful build. If it is discovered that you have incorrect or mismanaged financial estimates mid-build, your construction process can grind to a harsh stop until you have amended this issue or worse yet, the entire project could be deemed to be unviable. At Section 94, our team develop a comprehensive and accurate construction budget to avoid lengthening the construction time or contractual disputes, but there are many additional benefits to paying the initial costs for a realistic construction budget.

What is a construction budget?

A clear construction budget is one of the fundamental first steps in planning a construction project. After extensive research and cost estimations for different build elements, the construction budget outlines the cost of all chosen materials, equipment, labour, permits and services in a detailed and informative manner before the build commences.

Quantity surveyors provide accurate and detailed budgets using their expert knowledge of material and asset value to establish construction costs, allotting a clear figure for every individual aspect of the build. This ensures that all parties involved have clear and unified financial expectations for the builds total costs. Building quantity surveyors can also offer additional services in project management to confirm budget regulation at every stage of the build.

Construction budgets help guide critical design choices

If the client is finding it difficult to decide on certain materials or finishes with the architect or builder, an accurate construction cost estimate can help. A realistic budget created by a building quantity surveyor combines the main elemental costs including the internal and external building components, site works and finishes with the sub elemental costs of the individual building components that create the gas services, plumbing, windows and flooring.

A comprehensive construction budget establishes whether a project is feasible, and what design elements fall outside of the financial scope. By creating an accurate construction budget during the early design phases, the client can better consider which materials or features are more crucial to their vision and create the most cost-efficient result.

Avoid surprise additional costs 

Typically, owner builders can run into additional costs due to unforeseen expenses and services or an ambitious design. Vague build budgets that have not been produced by a professional building quantity surveyor can have errors that cause mismanagement of resources. Insight into the exact specifications, resources, labour required, and schedule of the project ensures that all materials and contractors are appropriately ordered and scheduled, reducing the risk of stressful delays that cost the client time and money.

Expert building quantity surveyors like the team at Section 94 are also adaptable to the unforeseen issues that can arise during renovations, extensions and custom builds. Small deviations from the budget due to contractor availability, interest rate increases, poor weather, holding costs and material price rises can quickly add up and, if left unchecked, lead to a budget blowout. This is one of the many benefits of having a flexible, third-party service develop the construction budget.

Clearly outline timelines and scope between contractors

Comprehensive construction budgets and management also avoids any scope gap between contractors, with all services and roles coordinated and outlined in the construction budget and schedule. Budget management from the commencement of the project allows transparency between contractors and clients, avoiding disputes and conflicting work. The clarity of roles and build timelines is one of the many values of registered quantity surveyors and comprehensive construction budgets.

The value of a third-party estimator

When planning a build, there are indirect and tangential costs that are outside the knowledge of craftsmen and contractors who have refined their skills to their area of expertise in the construction process. There is also plenty of competition when tendering for a project that can lead to more rough estimates in order to be perceived by the client or investor as the best value bid.

Building quantity surveyors provide proven accuracy and precision, the ability to collect, evaluate and concisely present budget data, and extensive knowledge of every aspect of construction including material costs, worker expenses and permit requirements unique to each site. An accurate and adaptable construction budget from the start of the project is valuable to the client and contractors, making it crucial to employ the trusted services of professional quantity surveyors like the team at Section 94.

Premium quantity surveying services

Section 94 is comprised of premium and experienced building quantity surveyors. This expertise guarantees that our solutions are accurate, comprehensive and quick so you can enjoy our trusted service in an efficient timeframe. With over a decade of industry experience, our qualified building quantity surveyors will assist you with all your construction budget and management services such as providing bank prefunding reports, progress claim invoices and section 94 reports.

Give us a call today on 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au to learn more about how we can help you.

Progress claims are vital to construction projects that are not being paid for as a lump sum as they enable you to gain funds from the financier periodically — this can be whenever a stipulated section on the construction timeline has been completed or simply after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Regardless, qualified quantity surveyor services are the key to comprehensive progress claims construction invoices, let us take a look at why that is and how progress claims can help you.


Streamlined construction projects

Progress claim construction invoices go hand in hand with an effective construction schedule. Prior to commencement, the project is segmented into phases — at the end of each phase, a progress claim is submitted to the financier detailing all the costs involved with the recently finished phase so the funds for the next phase can be released to you.

Whilst a detailed construction plan is essential for all projects, progress claims add that extra layer of strictness — pushing you to follow a more comprehensive approach that accounts for elements that may have been previously unconsidered such as potential issues or precise material lists/finding suppliers in advance. This will ultimately pay off in the end as it mitigates last-minute decisions or problems that may halt construction whilst simultaneously providing a more organised construction project.


Instilled trust from the client

In addition to the progress claim construction invoice being inspected by the client, quantity surveyor and financier, a physical inspection of the site following each phase is required to ensure that the work specified in the invoice translates to the physical work. A qualified quantity surveyor will carry out this inspection; the client may also be present to see how their project is progressing.

This can work to instil confidence and trust in the client regarding you and your work, ultimately contributing to a better relationship which can translate to references and further work down the track. Furthermore, the client may use this opportunity to ask any questions regarding the project, which will also fill them with confidence and potentially put their mind at ease; not only will they see the work you have done, but they will also see that you have the knowledge to back it up.


More efficient financial decisions

Since you will only have access to a specific allocation of funds during each phase, you will have to be more precise with your purchasing of inventory and allotment of labour. This will prove to be a more efficient process since everything is regimented and running to a strict financially guided timeline, which harks back to our first point about a streamlined project.

This is further indicated by the mandatory reviews at the end of each phase as every dollar and where it went must be accounted for in detail. One of our expert quantity surveyors can assist you with ensuring a comprehensive progress claim construction invoice; keeping your overall construction costs in check is essential to producing accurate results throughout, ask us about our construction budgets for a more secure project.


How we approach progress claim

  1. Before moving forward to the next phase, the preceding one must be assessed by one of our expert quantity surveyors. We can provide comprehensive and professional progress claim construction invoice templates to ensure your submission to the financier is impeccably presented.
  2. Once you have filled out the invoice, we will inspect it and verify all the costs. This includes an on-site inspection and meeting with you, the builder, to ensure every aspect is reported and to guarantee the most accurate report possible.
  3. In addition to providing a professional invoice template, we will also create an accurate cash flow report to further outline what has been spent, how much is left and if there are any variations to the contract — this will give the financier a better understanding of the progress so far and what to expect moving forward.
  4. Our progress claim quantity surveying service is guaranteed to only take a maximum of three days so the impact on the project’s progress is mitigated as much as possible.


Premium quantity surveying services

Section 94 offers complete quantity surveying services Australia-wide; our solutions are guaranteed to be accurate, comprehensive and quick so you can enjoy our trusted service in an efficient timeframe. With over a decade of industry experience, our qualified QS’ will assist you with all your progress claim and construction management services such as providing bank prefunding reports and section 94 reports.

Give us a call today on 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au to learn more about how we can help you.

Podcasts have risen in popularity over the last decade and with current technology and platforms being where they are, anyone can create and publish a podcast to be consumed by the world. Since there is at least one podcast on almost every topic, it is fitting that construction be an industry that has its fair share of dedicated shows. Today, our Sydney-based quantity surveyors take you through the importance and significance of construction podcasts and recommend a few great shows that you may find interesting.


Rising podcasts for a thriving industry

Construction is one of those essential industries that has continuously thrived. There is always a demand for construction whether it is in the form of renovations, erecting new buildings or bolstering infrastructure. As the world’s population expands, so too does the need for construction. Naturally, this beckons forth new contractors and construction firms eager to make their mark. So, where do podcasts fit in?

Podcasting is something that, in the construction industry, has allowed seasoned professionals to share their experience and insight in an easily digestible format. They do not have to spend time writing meticulous articles and the audience do not have to spend time reading them. Listening to a podcast is like listening to the radio except you choose what you want to hear — this makes it perfect for those who spend a lot of their time on the road as it is an easy and informative way to pass the time.


The benefit of construction podcasts

The invaluable knowledge contained within construction podcasts is predominantly information that you will scarcely find online; it is this knowledge that helps improve new firms, inspire up-and-coming contractors and even teach some new tricks to industry veterans. The format of a podcast presents an easily accessible medium that can be streamed using the same Spotify account, for example, that you listen to music from at any time of the day.

Another beneficial aspect of construction podcasts is that it not only allows industry-veterans to share their knowledge and experience but also interview other professionals. It is during these interviews where unique opinions and aspects are drawn out. With the construction industry steadily rolling along there is always room and opportunity for new businesses to rise above the rest and it is how they interpret and implement the amalgamated knowledge they gather from these podcasts that determines how much they will thrive.


An interactive environment

An aspect of construction podcasts that our Sydney-based quantity surveyors love is the interactive element with people all around the globe. This can be via forums, discord channels, direct messaging or even emails. This allows contractors and industry-heavies from all over to send in questions, offer opinions and have those insights discussed or questions answered on the next episode of the show.

This community interactivity is important as it shows fresh contractors that there are no silly questions, there is no need to feel intimated just because you are new to the industry because everyone is in it together. Construction podcasts do not just educate but also inspire.


Some recommendations to get you started

If you are looking for a construction podcast to enjoy, then the best way to start is by browsing dedicated applications such as Google Podcasts, Downcast, Spotify or Apple Podcasts as well as some general internet searching. A good tip is to look at the background and experience of the hosts to ensure you are getting sound advice from professionals.

Our quantity surveyors recommend starting with Construction Genius; a successful construction podcast with more than 100 episodes. The show is led by Eric Anderton, a leadership advisor with over two decades of experience in public speaking and executive mentoring for construction firms. He interviews construction executives on his show — giving them a platform to share their stories, incites and advice on a variety of topics such as leadership, conflict resolution and business development just to name a few.

MEA$URED with Mick Donaghy is another great listen where, similarly to Construction Genius, industry professionals (many of which are quantity surveyors) are invited on the show for discussions and to share their useful insights; this is a great podcast for those looking to sharpen their industry knowledge.

If you are looking for something a little closer to home, The Master Builders Podcast was launched in February 2020 by Master Builders Australia. This podcast covers the latest news about the Australian construction industry including changes to the National Construction Code as well as helpful insights designed to assist your construction business to grow and prosper.


Are you looking for quantity surveyors in Sydney?

Podcasts are a very personal thing, so finding the right construction podcast that fits your niche may take some time but once you do, you will be able to absorb the invaluable information and put it to work for yourself.

If you have a job coming up that requires a section 94 report or the work of a qualified Sydney-based quantity surveyor, then please give Section 94 a call on 0413 953 869 or send an email to info@section94.com.au.

Timber, concrete and steel have been the driving force of modern construction for at least a century with each individual material dating back even further. But with global natural resources being exhausted, the modern building must evolve to leverage alternative materials. Our Quantity surveyors in Sydney have assembled this article to help paint a clearer picture of the current building material landscape — where it is heading and what some current alternatives to timber, concrete and steel are that you can use in your projects.


Timber — framing the modern home

It is said that the first home built from timber dates back some 10,000 years ago. What is used in the construction industry today is timber — specially treated timber made specifically for construction. Timber is for a variety of applications but one of the predominant applications is the frames for small buildings such as hospitality venues or residential dwellings. Whilst it is a strong, tried and true material, it is prone to warping due to moisture and extreme conditions, as well as rot from vermin and similar insects.

Unfortunately, timber is a finite material and will eventually be exhausted. One alternative that is similar to timber is ply timber — which is a composite that still utilises timber, though not as much as pure timber. Plytimber is essentially thin slices of timber veneer glued together. Plytimber has a fantastic strength to weight ratio and is an incredibly stable material — not to mention more resistant to rot and moisture than natural timber. Plytimber is used in what is commonly referred to as lightweight framing.


Concrete — the foundations for high-rises

Concrete has been used in construction as early as 6500 B.C in one form or another. The fascinating thing about concrete is that there have been countless material combinations that have gone into forming it over the years. Of course, the modern concrete we know today is created by combining Portland cement (which was created in the 1820s) with water and sand/aggregates.

Though it may surprise you, one of the key ingredients used to create modern concrete — sand — is running out. Cortex Composites is an example of a concrete alternative that can be summed up as being “concrete in a roll”­ — in other words, it is a GCM (Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mat). Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite satisfy the demand for concrete in high-rises. This is where steel-concrete composites come into their own, calling for less concrete whilst leveraging steel’s impressive properties.

Specialised concrete solutions such as self-compacting concrete (which requires less labour and makes it easier to form shapes thanks to higher fluidity) and high-performance concrete (which is generally more durable and stronger) are great for high-rises; SCC is especially advantageous for when curves are required to be formed. However, these still utilise sand, and in some cases require more than standard concrete. In terms of sand replacements, researchers at Deakin have been able to prove that recycled glass can be used to successfully replace sand in polymer concrete, which is a step in the right direction and a preview of what may be possible in the future for standard concrete.


Steel — the height of construction

Steel began being used on a large scale in construction in the late-1800s and is a highly desirable material. It is 100% recyclable, durable and impervious to moisture and rodents (unlike timber); it is by all accounts a sustainable and reliable material — so what is there to innovate? Strength, durability, cost-efficiency — these are all issues that are constantly being tackled in the search for a better alternative — and, thanks to innovations like 3D printing, CNC and composite materials, a lot of these elements have either been satisfied or are showing promising results.

A 3D printing company in Amsterdam has printed a 12 m long stainless-steel bridge that goes beyond just being a lifeless structure. Whilst still a while away from being used in large-scale construction projects, it is a promising look at things to come. High-strength steel (also known as quenched and tempered steel) is another example of steel innovation that offers a cost-effective alternative to regular steel; it is much lighter in comparison to regular steel, featuring an impressive strength to weight ratio, and is ideal for structural applications where greater load-carrying capacities are required over substantial areas.


Are you looking for a quantity surveyor in Sydney?

Section 94 employs qualified and seasoned quantity surveyors across Sydney who can ensure all your construction reports are meticulously and professionally handled. Our knowledgeable quantity surveyors have worked on projects of all sizes and are across the latest construction news and standards; you can rest assured you’re receiving a quality experience when you work with us.

Give us a call on 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au if you would like to find out more about our services.

Prefabricated homes (also known as modular homes) have been gaining in popularity over the years as they offer a more sustainable, affordable and socially conscious alternative to traditional, on-site builds. Our residential quantity surveyors in Sydney have had their fair share of experience with this alternative and thought it would be great to explore five vital areas that should be considered when choosing between a home built on-site, and a prefabricated home.


1.     Durability & quality of materials

This really comes down to the company you use but generally speaking most prefabricated home builders make a point of stating that their quality is on-par with homes built on-site. In fact, because prefab homes are constructed within controlled environments, there is far less chance of any elemental damage occurring during the construction phase such as timber getting soaked.

The foundation of a prefabricated home is actually constructed on-site and will vary in style and materials used depending on a number of factors such as the distance between the floor and the ground or if the sub-floor is enclosed. The modular home is then lowered onto the foundation. If you are considering a prefabricated home, then our residential quantity surveyors recommend shopping around and getting all the facts from each company before advancing.


2.     Construction time

For some people, a quick construction time is important whereas others are in no rush to move into their new home. Prefabricated homes are built in enclosed, monitored environments which means rain or shine — construction continues. This ultimately leads to shorter construction times as contractors can finish much faster.

Some prefabrication home companies buy their materials in bulk as well — eliminating the need for trips to bunnings or waiting for deliveries from suppliers. Once prefab homes are completed, they are loaded onto a truck and transported to the desired location where a crane will lower them into place. This can also be done as individual pieces for larger homes.

This is in comparison to homes built on-site which can only operate when the weather allows it and also within certain hours of the day. Depending on where prefabricated homes are being built, there may be some flexibility with construction hours. On the other hand, though, when a house is constructed on-site, everything can be done methodically whereas there are some elements that cannot be completed straightaway during a prefab build.


3.     Utilities

Utilities such as plumbing, electricity and gas are crucial to a home’s development but require connection to external sources to function. This is something that can be done seamlessly on-site as the home is being constructed using traditional methods. For prefabricated homes, however, this will all have to be done after the fact. How it is handled depends on the company but they will generally prepare everything so that it just needs to be connected upon delivery.


4.     Sustainability

It is no secret that prefabricated homes are actually considered to be a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional homes built on-site. This is done through a number of methods such as passive energy-efficient design, eco-friendly materials and minimising/recycling wasted materials. There is also less sound pollution produced — and what is produced will not be affecting the residential neighbourhood.

It is also common for prefab homes to be built to run entirely on solar power, further reducing their carbon footprint. Whilst homes built on-site can still be quite sustainable and eco-friendly, you may have to look around for contractors that specialise in sustainable designs to get the same level as a prefab home.


5.     Size and cost

It is a common assumption that prefabricated homes are small — and to some extent that is correct. Because they are built off-site and then transported, the home itself cannot be too large. However, through multiple modules, large homes can be formed. Overall, prefabricated homes are more affordable than your traditional home.

Traditional homes, though, have so much more flexibility in terms of design, size and future renovations. If you have something very specific in mind, a traditionally built home may be the one for you. For both prefabricated homes and traditionally built ones, you will still have to buy the land the house will eventually occupy so that is something else to keep in mind.


Residential quantity surveyors in Sydney

Regardless of which type of home you commission, you are going to need a registered and qualified quantity surveyor to ensure the construction process stays on track and is viable at every step. Section 94 employs experienced and certified residential quantity surveyors in Sydney that can meet your every QS need and more.

Contact us today by emailing info@section94.com.au or by calling 0413 953 869.

Ask any quantity surveyor consultant and they will tell you that the concept of a modern home is changing rapidly. It is no longer only design trends that are going in and out of season, but a single continuous push towards making life at home easier and simpler for the occupants. Technology plays a crucial part in this and the birth of smart homes — but what exactly is a smart home and how will technology play a role in the future (and present) evolutions of such a dwelling?


Defining a smart home

You could already have elements of a smart home. If you wake up in the morning and ask Siri or Google Assistant what the weather is going to be for the day, then that is making your morning easier as you can continue with your routine without looking up the answer yourself. That is exactly what a smart home does — it makes life easier through technology.

There are many examples of such technology — taps and showers that monitor your water usage, smart assistants that take down your shopping lists or even air conditioning units that can be adjusted with a simple voice command. We are lucky enough to live in an age where technology is progressing so rapidly, that the current technology you are able to integrate into your daily home life is far superior to the technology that was available only ten years ago.


Basic automations and integrations

There are varying levels of integration when it comes to smart homes. We will start with the basic, consumer smart products. For example, Phillips Hue lights can be automated to turn on whenever someone arrives home and off when someone leaves. Smart assistant companions such as Amazon Echo devices or Google Nest can do more than just wake you up at a certain time — but also present breaking news for the day, the weather and even traffic conditions for your morning commute.

A more elaborate example would be a smart coffee machine, which can switch on and create your coffee at a certain time so it is ready for you by the time you reach the kitchen. These are all fairly simple automations that can be set up by purchasing the appropriate products and adjusting the settings on your smart device. Whilst these sound impressive, some people are not comfortable having such devices constantly tracking their actions.

Another thing to consider is that these products all rely on a stable internet and wi-fi connection (something that can occasionally suffer) as well as the compatibility of a smart hub. This means that you might connect your lights or television to your Amazon account, or your Apple account, for example, and that will become the hub for your smart products. For those that want to take home automation to the next step — there are more advanced options available.


Keeping your automations local with open-source platforms

On the other end of the spectrum, there are open-source platforms that take automations to the next level. These do not rely on cloud-based hubs, but instead, keep everything local. A popular open-source platform is Home Assistant. This is where you can really take things to the next level with a bit of patience and learning. Motion sensors, for example, can be purchased and placed around your house so they activate particular lights (or any compatible product, really) when triggered during certain parts of the day.

The catch with something like Home Assistant is that there is a bit of learning involved, especially if you are not very tech-savvy. However, once you get the hang of things, what you will be able to achieve is quite impressive and can go beyond what is possible with regular consumer smart products. Being open-source means that there are virtually no limitations as you yourself set the boundaries for each automation.

Depending on what you are looking to achieve in your daily routine and how you are interested in simplifying it, our quantity surveyor contractors know that either of the two aforementioned options (or options similar) will suit your lifestyle.


Are you looking for quantity surveyor consultants in Australia?

Whether you are considering building a new property or renovating an existing dwelling, our seasoned and qualified quantity surveyor consultants can deliver efficient and reliable service all over Australia. From handling progress claims to preparing bank prefunding reports, you can rely on our professionalism and discretion moving forward.

Contact us today by emailing info@section94.com.au or calling 0413 953 869 and one of our surveyors will be happy to help you out and answer any questions you may have.

Like most quantity surveyor contractors, we were keeping a close eye on the 2021 budget release this month, and whilst there was a lot of funding splashed towards COVID-19 vaccines, women and child care — the construction industry also faced some continual support through the HomeBuilder and First Home Loan Deposit schemes. Let us see exactly what that means for the Australian construction industry.


First, a bit about HomeBuilder

The HomeBuilder initiative was put into effect in June 2020 and was part of the Morrison government’s economic recovery plan to provide more work for the residential construction sector. This provided first home buyers and eligible owner-occupiers with a grant of up to $25,000 that would go towards the construction of a new property or the (substantial) renovation of an existing one.

There were a few criteria that had to be met, though. Chief among them were a few financial ones:

  • Singles earning more than $125,000 p.a or couples earning more than $200,000 p.a collectively cannot apply for the grant.
  • A price cap of $750,000 for national dwellings applies to new builds.
  • Renovations must be between $150,000 and $750,000 and the property being renovated cannot be valued at more than $1.5 million.
  • Construction must commence within three months of the contract date.

Over 120,000 applications have been received for the HomeBuilder grant. Initially, HomeBuilder was slated to end on the 31st of December, 2020, but the application process was extended to the 14th of April, 2021, with a three-month extension of the commencement window. A few days after that, the Morrison government announced that the commencement window for existing applications would once again be prolonged a further 12 months bringing it to 18 months.


How the 2021 budget boosts the HomeBuilder initiative

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that another 12-month commencement extension would be put into place for existing applications. So, whilst no new applications can be made for the initiative there is more potential for contractors to become involved with the work thanks to the extended commencement window. This will ultimately create more work for building contractors, quantity surveyors, architects and all those involved in the residential construction industry.


First Home Loan Deposit Scheme extension

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (also known as the New Home Guarantee scheme) was designed to help first homeowners both build and purchase a new home with an incredibly low deposit of just 5% — waiving the lenders mortgage insurance that is usually required for home loan deposits below 20%. An extra 10,000 places have now been added to this scheme, further encouraging new homeowners to purchase and — more importantly to the construction industry — build new homes.

With no shortage of land and a more than certain increase in residential construction in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, there are sure to be more applicants for the grant. This decision will ultimately funnel funds back into our local economy with more singles, couples and families starting new lives in new properties — boosting community value and providing more work for those in the construction industry.


Construction industry on the rise

Throughout the pandemic, few industries were allowed to operate — construction was one of those industries, which operated largely unaffected until stage four lockdown — which saw restrictions allow only 25% of a regular workforce on site. Since the final quarter of 2020, the industry has seen a return to normalcy. The extension of these grants is expected to boost the chances for potential work across the residential construction sector whilst also providing opportunities to first home buyers.

Though not a direct cash injection, this latest budget announcement is ultimately a win for construction — an industry that plays such a crucial role in our economy. Construction makes up around 8.5% of Victoria’s workforce — roughly accounting for 13% of the state’s economy and producing 9% of our country’s gross domestic product. Our quantity surveyor contractors welcome this continued support and look forward to working on many projects across Victoria and Australia over the next year and beyond.


Are you looking for quantity surveyor contractors?

Section 94 employs highly experienced and qualified quantity surveyors who can help you with all your construction cost and contract requirements. Drawing from an invaluable bank of knowledge and sources, our specialists can operate remotely and survey any property in Australia regardless of location.

If you would like to request the assistance of our services, then please give us a call on 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au.

A bank prefunding report is an in-depth account that a quantity surveyor engages in on behalf of homeowners. The purpose of such a report is to seek financial approval for a construction project from the bank. Today’s article will be looking at some of the elements that go into such a report and how quantity surveying services can help establish a comprehensive report for you.


Why are bank prefunding reports necessary?

The whole point of a bank prefunding report is so a construction project can be independently assessed to ensure certain aspects of the project are in order – such as its construction price being at market rate. Other aspects that are assessed include background checks on the builder, confirming the insurance is current and preparing a cash forecast report.

Essentially – a bank prefunding report enables the bank to protect itself from giving out loans that have a low chance of being repaid. It is our job as quantity surveyors and independent assessors to gather the information that will indicate to the bank whether or not the loan is worth their time and money.


Gathering the information

In order to give a comprehensive and truthful report to the bank, we must assess all the relevant documentation for the construction project including the building plans and contract. We can use this information to form cost plans that will bolster the legitimacy of the report. If a bank can see a clear cost plan for the project, then it will raise their confidence in your repayment abilities and sway them further towards a loan.


Why are the contracts important?

Contracts feature elements such as construction timeframes and builders’ insurances as well as liquidated damages (which is an agreed-upon number that must be paid should the contract be broken). The construction timeframe, for example, is laid out and includes the total number of working days with leeway for inclement weather days, rest days, weekends and public holidays.

The contract will also establish details such as the cost of the deposit, who is in charge of gaining and paying for the relevant permits and extra costs that are payable by third parties that are not included in the contract’s final price – such as utilities that will be used during construction as well as telephone bills.


Quantity surveyors report

Some of the areas covered in a quantity surveyors report include the project description, estimators cost report and recommended construction cost. The project description, for example, is a basic rundown of what is involved in the project – how many storeys the property is going to be, what types of rooms it will have – as well as what materials the walls, floor and roofing will be made from. A two-storey townhouse may use brick veneer for the external walls on the ground level but weatherboard for the first floor. These sort of details all come together to help us establish a more comprehensive prefunding report.


Analysing the construction plan

When it comes to construction costs, there are different averages for the varying types of construction projects depending on the construction area. New builds in metropolitan Melbourne, for example, could be anywhere between $2,200m2 to $3,800m2 – whereas the average in suburban Melbourne could range from $1,400m2 to $2,100m2. This difference in cost is due to several various reasons such as tradespeople being able to access the site easier and a simpler overall build cost.

We review the floor plan and measure it to determine the cost per m2 to determine its accuracy. Furthermore, we take into account the forecasted construction cost prepared by the builder and estimator to judge whether or not it is a reasonably accepted amount for the type of project and more importantly, if the estimated costs are viable enough to complete the actual project.


Do you require quantity surveying services?

Section 94 is well-versed with crafting in-depth and accurate bank prefunding reports to ensure you have access to the loan you require for your next construction project as well as simultaneously assuring the bank that the loan is worth it. With years of experience under our belts and the ability to offer our quantity surveying services to anyone in Australia, you will know you are in safe hands with Section 94.

If you would like to contact us to chat about our services, then please do not hesitate to call 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au.

If you’re an owner-builder looking to renovate your home, then you’ve got a big task ahead of you. A multitude of elements must be considered, researched and taken care of before the construction even starts and that’s what today’s article is all about – the preparation and what you need to know as an owner-builder. Our experienced quantity surveyor contractors have handled countless residential renovation projects over the years and are best situated to help you prepare for this exciting undertaking.


Why are you renovating?

The first thing that needs to be established is why you are renovating in the first place. Are you looking to boost the value of the property and flip it in the near future? Or, are you renovating purely so you can improve your own living situation? This will ultimately affect the renovation itself. If you are looking to flip, then popular and trendy designs may take precedence over personal opinion and vice versa.


Evaluate your budget

When it comes to determining a budget for your renovation, our quantity surveyor contractors recommend staying below 10% of your home’s market value – especially if you are looking to flip. The reason for this is so you don’t lose too much when selling. That being said – if you are looking for more extravagant, structural renovations, then you may be looking at a higher figure. A good strategy is also adding 10% to 20% extra to your budget to cover any overspends or unforeseen issues that may occur. If you are unsure how to fund the project, then take a look at our article on financing your home’s renovation.


Plan the design

With projects of this magnitude, it is wise to plan before commencing – this is the worst industry for improvisation or suggesting ad hoc tasks halfway through. Finding a professional and experienced architect that you trust and whose work you are happy with is key to a successful end-product. Work with them to establish every aspect of the project and confirm material specifications. You will want to confirm exact particulars such as joinery finishes, tiles and carpeting to avoid any confusion or mistakes further down the track.


Find the perfect time to renovate

There are two factors you should consider when looking at the best time to renovate – the weather and the market. If you are looking to flip then a rising market is the best indicator so by the time it’s ready you can take advantage of the high prices. The weather is obviously important as strong winds and rain can sometimes stifle renovations (depending on the type of work). If you know the work will be done outside, then it may be worth holding off for spring or summer.


Gaining permissions (council and strata)

Most internal renovations – painting, changing floorboards etc. – will not require council permission. If you are unsure, it does not hurt to ask. For major structural renovations or changes that may affect services such as plumbing, electricity or gas, you will need to consult your local council and gain approval before moving forward. They may also need to inspect said changes after the fact to ensure everything is up to code. If you own an apartment, however, you should seek approval from the body corporate before any type of renovation just to be sure.

Whilst some simple apartment renovations are generally considered to be possible without permission (think painting, installing cabinets, replacing floorboards etc.) – every building is different. Body corporate will not want changes made that will devalue or compromise the structural integrity of the surrounding apartments. If you are thinking more drastic changes like removing walls to create a more open concept, then body corporate will need to be consulted prior in case the walls are load-bearing.


Living arrangements

An often overlooked, yet, crucial element that particularly applies to large-scale renovations is where you are going to stay while the work is being completed. It can be a hassle going about your day during renovations and potentially even hazardous to sleep in an active construction environment – which is why you must factor in your accommodation for the period. You could stay with a family member/close friend or rent a property. If you are going to rent, then be sure to include that in your budget.


Are you looking for a quality quantity surveyor contractor?

Section 94 has had years of experience dealing with residential renovations and can help ensure that all contracts and forms are in order and that your budget is accurate and well-planned. We can also help you with bills of quantities, construction budgets and section 94 reports to name a few.

For more on our services, please don’t hesitate to email us at info@section94.com.au or call 0413 953 869.