For many homeowners taking on a major renovation, they are stepping into the unknown.
Despite being Eileen and Pat’s second time, it was their first after moving to Australia nearly a decade ago, and a much bigger project than their attic conversion back in Ireland.
They were nervous about removing the roof of their home in Lane Cove West to add a new storey.
“The whole concept was quite new to us because these types of home addition are not at all common in Ireland”, Eileen notes. “Removing your roof and exposing your home is a scary prospect!”
However, she is delighted with both the result and the fact that it was far less stressful than she had anticipated.
“The biggest compliment I can give to Addbuild is that I’d do it again,” Eileen enthuses.
Renovating on a Budget
The family of five were on a tight budget, but their single storey bungalow wasn’t coping with three teenagers. It’s not an uncommon scenario: how to add more space to the family home you love without breaking the bank.
Addbuild was one of three established builders that Eileen called to get quotes, having followed the progress of another Addbuild project happening down the road.
“We watched it happen, going for a walk every evening and passing by because we had thought about doing an extension. I called into their house, and they had no hesitation recommending Addbuild,” Eileen recalls.
Getting Three Quotes
Due diligence also meant that the family called in two other well-known builders.
“They were all good, but Addbuild stood out. Steve from Addbuild came round for an initial consultation. He was good to his word, saying he was busy for a few days but he would get back to us on a set date and he followed through calling us when promised, which to me is really important,” Eileen explains. “One of the other builders wasn’t as professional.”
Steve also impressed with his approach to guiding the family through the design process.
“He was very good at listening to us and centering us on what we really needed. We didn’t have millions to spend, and it can get very overwhelming when there’s so much that needs to be done.”
Eileen also appreciated Abbbuild’s approach to working up initial designs before charging for their time.
“One company wouldn’t come out to see us until we gave them a $500 deposit, the other wanted to charge even for the initial sketches. With Addbuild, we were able to look at 3D sketch drawings,” Eileen notes. “It’s definitely something that sets them apart. It’s a big investment and a big decision. It really reassured us to have a clear idea of what we would be turning into plans before we paid for them.”
Happy with the design work, the family was keen to get cracking. Eileen and Pat were in a hurry and had been warned about potential delays when putting in a Development Application.
“I was aware from talking to friends of the time difference between a full Development Application and a CDC (Complying Development). Addbuild helped us change the design to ensure it was a CDC. That took weeks off the approval process,” Eileen explains, “but it didn’t affect the design much, it came down to moving a wall.”
Having built a strong relationship with Steve, Eileen was keen to ensure that her next key point of contact was just as responsive and available.
Communication During the Build
“Our Site Supervisor John was also someone I felt I could talk to. You could ask questions and you’d get straight answers. He made himself available and called back quickly if we couldn’t get him straight away. I’m a very straight talker and I don’t like to dance around.”
“I told him right from the start: keep me updated. We appreciate things change – there are so many moving parts – but if you say you’re going to be there on Monday, but then you can’t, tell us, don’t have us hanging around. John always told us. He was excellent.”
Responding to Issues
Every build has its curve balls, but how your builder responds is the important marker. Again, Eilieen was impressed with the Addbuild team.
“There were hiccups along the way. We stayed in the house during the reno. The day they took the roof off was a worry but we got lucky: from the day they took it off, it didn’t rain for three weeks!”
“It could be noisy and dirty. Another time, a foot came through a ceiling which was interesting! But John and all the tradies were great and we resolved everything without any dramas.”
“I never had to send a snotty email or anything. It was like ‘that needs to be sorted’ and they were like ‘how about we do this?’ ‘Yeah, that’s okay’. Very easy.”
How was it like living through a renovation?
“For me, I liked the fact that I was on site and able to see what was happening. I think the ‘not knowing’ would have driven me mad. At times, for example when they put the stairs in, it meant that I had builders in the living area of my house and one week of unbelievable dirt and dust!”
“What I would really like to get across is that everyone I dealt with was lovely,” Eileen is keen to emphasise. “Whether it was Lisa and Kelly in the office. I think there was a Joanne, Steve, John, every character that was on site, Shane, who did all the finishing up jobs around the house, the plasterers, everyone. I never felt uncomfortable with any of the people that were in my house.”
Any final thoughts? “I would recommend Addbuild,” Eileen confirms, “and I would do it again, but maybe not tomorrow! I’m revelling in those moments of peace and quiet, having the new space to myself. Rare, but that’s life with three teenagers! It was a very positive experience.”
Ready to Renovate?
If you are looking to renovate and want further advice, Addbuild is Sydney’s leading builder of home additions and extensions with more than 2,000 projects completed since 1980.
Feel free to delve into our comprehensive suite of articles with advice about all aspects of renovating.
If you are ready to renovate now, call our office on (02) 8765 1555 or send us a message using our contact form if outside of office hours.
Addbuild offers a ‘concept-to-completion’ service that includes experienced designers and the management of the Development Application process on your behalf.