How to Choose A Terrace Renovation Company
Terrace homes are still one of the most popular styles of inner-city building in Australia. Modern terrace houses are very stylish and maintain their traditional charm. However, building a terrace home can be tricky if you don’t choose the right builder.
Here are some of the most important issues to consider when choosing a terrace home building or renovation company.1. Don’t pay for an inexperienced builder’s learning curve!
It’s a renovation of an old structure! Anything could be under the floorboards. You could have rising damp, termites, unstable footings, asbestos, rotten timbers… We have seen just about everything in our four decades of renovating terraces in inner Sydney and we know that ‘you don’t know what’s underneath the surface.’ The reason we pride ourselves on problem-solving is that renos are 70% unforseen problems, and 30% neatly drawn plans approved by experts like architects, engineers and council inspectors. We’ve heard this a few times over the years:
"I don't know how you will fix it... you're the builder... that's your problem."
Balmain engineer, 2012.
…. and we solved the problem. If you hire an inexperienced builder, you will pay for their learning curve, especially if their decisions impact your neighbours eg damage to shared walls or ongoing excessive water flow from your property to theirs.2. Ask for references from people you trust who have renovated their terrace.
This is still one of the most effective ways of finding a reliable terrace renovator. A referral from a friend or from family is really valuable, as you can trust them more than a stranger.3. Investigate the builder’s previous projects.
Any building company should be able to offer you a list of previous projects. They should be able to show you a terrace homes portfolio to confirm the quality of their work. You wouldn’t trust someone to mind your child or manage your bank account without proof of their expertise….. Past projects like yours should be the builder’s best proof of competence with YOUR type of project.
You can see many examples of the various types of work we specialise in on this website and we are more than happy to share a list of all previous terrace renovations (highlighting the ones in your area) so that you can look at the outsides of them for yourself. Obviously though, we must protect the privacy of our clients, but if you are serious about renovating your terrace, you should review several projects done by your shortlisted builders.4. Find out if the customers of your shortlisted builders buy ‘quality to live in’ or ‘priced for a quick sale’.
Our customers want to live in the terrace and make more quality-based decisions than if they were sprucing a property up for sale, in which case they will pay for cheapest price materials and builders. Be very careful of this!!! If the builder won’t tell you WHY their clients go with them, you can guess that they attract price-conscious jobs NOT quality-focused jobs.5. Choose a builder who listens to you.
A good quality, reliable builder should be able to take the time to listen to what you are saying. He must understand your exact goals and constraints in order to come up with the best solutions. You should receive recommendations and you should be encouraged to make your own choices about things like bathroom items and materials. After all, you will be living in it!
Good communication will help your builder meet your specifications. Good communication will ensure you don’t damage your marriage or relationships with neighbors during the build…. it is almost as important as the builder’s skill in swinging a hammer!6. Estimates shouldn’t cost you unless you are paying for a fully priced, detailed package of drawings.
A serious building company should provide free estimates. If you are asked to pay for a quote, you should not be hiring that company, as ethically speaking, that is not right. You should also make sure the quote is written and firm.
At Classic Quarters Group, we consider fixed prices the best solution, as the client knows all details right from the beginning and there will be no surprises, except for pleasant ones.