As a builder, you don’t always hear about how someone’s home renovation is faring more than a decade after the project was completed.
So it was particularly satisfying to see an enthusiastic comment on an Addbuild social media post from a former client still delighted with their home addition: “They’re great. Added 100s of thousands in value and quality to our house 12 years ago.”
A quick check and we established that Bexley homeowners Bill and Anna had in fact built a second storey back in 2009, just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
Would they be interested to tell us more about what prompted Bill to endorse Addbuild 14 years on? Without hesitation the answer was ‘yes’.
Economic Environment of 2009
The first thing we wanted to know was why Bill and Anna had decided to renovate so soon after the GFC?
“We had a line of credit sitting there and had done some investigations. Then came the GFC and we dropped the idea. However, Anna was the driving force behind starting to look at it again – she really wanted to go ahead and thought it might actually be a good time to build,” Bill recalls.
Anna’s hunch was right. With not that much construction happening at the time, builders were keen to get things moving again and that meant competitive quotes, quicker Development Applications and faster completion times.
Why Bill and Anna wanted to build is a common story: a growing family.
With two young children, they knew that within a few years their single-storey home wouldn’t have enough space as the kids grew, became teenagers and wanted their own privacy.
Like many of the homeowners Addbuild works with, they loved where they were – their neighbours and neighbourhood – and their home, a solid 1950s double-brick bungalow.
“We saw the strength of the way our home had been built, and thought the best idea was to add more living area for our family. So we always had it in mind that we wanted to expand,” Bill explains.
They also wanted to maintain a back garden for the kids, so had a pretty good idea before talking to builders that they wanted to ‘go up’ rather than extend out the back.
“We did discuss expanding out, but I like backyards. I hate losing them. We might have a family event with 40 or 50 people sometimes. And my kids had swings. They’re still in the backyard.”
Moving to find a bigger place was a quickly discarded option, especially when things like stamp duty and other costs were factored in.
Selecting a Builder
The first step was to start talking to design and construct builders, and Bill remembers that of all the companies that they approached, Addbuild stood out.
“We saw a number of builders, but when we met with the Addbuild Design Consultant, Amelia, we immediately felt comfortable. She had a very cooperative approach,” Bill notes.
“The quote was very competitive and Amelia was in close contact with Addbuild Head Office so that we could get immediate answers. They went the extra mile to get our contract and established good communications from the start.”
Working on Designs
The design process with Amelia started with planning the location of the stairs and then the layout of the new second storey. Bill was keen not to lose any rooms downstairs, something Amelia was able to achieve.
Most importantly to him, Bill felt listened to as the CAD drawings came to life.
“When you sit in front of the computer, you’re the customer. You want things to go your way, but sometimes companies say ‘we know better than you, just leave it to us.’ With Addbuild, we had a big say in everything that was happening,” Bill remembers.
Their budget was limited, but Amelia created a huge master bedroom upstairs along with two double bedrooms for the kids, a bathroom and a spacious landing.
“We didn’t go for an ensuite. Partly it was budget, partly it meant one less bathroom to clean!”
For the exterior, Bill wanted to maintain “a classic look” to the home.
“We wanted something that would remain timeless. Addbuild explained their use of the Foamula building material for the upstairs, and that downstairs could be rendered to make it look identical to the new second storey.”
At Home During the Building
Despite some misgivings about what might happen, the family remained living at home during the build itself.
“I was really worried about what would happen when the roof came off. We knew there might be leaks, but we immediately could see that Addbuild were very experienced in how they protected the home,” Bill explains.
“They nailed down the tarpaulin, put the frame up, put the roof on and then cut the tarp. It’s a very intelligent way of building – not having your client having to leave the house and rent somewhere for a couple of months is a huge bonus.”
“I was also really impressed when the guys who did the roof took care to keep as many of the existing roof tiles as possible when taking the roof off. We probably only lost 100 tiles max. That was a big cost saving.”
Another aspect of the build that Bill remembers was the couple of occasions he made changes.
“Normally everyone just smashes you over the head with any alterations, but that wasn’t the case with Addbuild. They used common sense. We wanted some different doors and Addbuild said they’d take off the cost of the original ones we had chosen from the quote, and told us to buy the ones we wanted and they’d install them instead,” Bill recounts.
“We realised we hadn’t put any whirlybirds on the roof and again Addbuild just told us to buy the ones we wanted and leave them in the driveway and the roofers came back and installed them.”
The Renovation 14 Years On
Bill and Anna were delighted by what they had achieved when the building was finished, but how has it stood the test of time?
“Aside from painting the house again last year, we’ve had to do nothing to it.”
Bill, an aircraft engineer by trade, is someone used to looking for issues and being proactive about them.
“There’s been no cracks or anything to worry about. I’m pretty hands on with a lot of things.
If I can see something isn’t right, I would be flagging it,” Bill confirms. “The workmanship is excellent as is the insulation. We love the fact that if you are downstairs you can’t hear the kids bounding around upstairs.”
By now we were pretty sure we’d know the answer, but just in case asked Bill to confirm if he’d recommend Addbuild.
“We have many times. Our next door neighbour’s cousin in Matraville. My father’s next door neighbour in Mascot. In fact Addbuild did 2 homes in the same street there. All were the same as us – they wanted space upstairs in their home and we told them to talk to Addbuild.”
At the end of our chat, Bill returned to why he had posted his comment on social media.
“After 14 years, the extra value added to our home has outstripped the renovation cost several times over. But the main thing is that we’ve loved living here all that time. The kids won’t be moving out anytime soon. We’ll be enjoying that extra space for a while yet.”
Thinking of Renovating?
One of Addbuild’s greatest motivations is to help growing families get the most out of the home they love, and we’ve now been doing that in Sydney for more than 40 years.
We offer a ‘concept-to-completion‘ service that includes experienced designers and the management of the Development Application process on your behalf.
If you are thinking of expanding your home, we’d love to hear from you.
Call our office on (02) 8765 1555 or send us a message using our contact form if outside of office hours.
If you are still looking for ideas and advice for your home addition, feel free to delve into our comprehensive suite of articles with advice about all aspects of renovating.