Each year in Australia, over 150,000 new homes are built. Billions of dollars are also being spent on renovating.


Did you know that 1 in 2 projects go over budget? Getting it right involves making the most of every opportunity to create a great home, without the stress of blowing your budget.


As an architect (and budget-stretching mum!), I’m passionate about helping homeowners avoid the stress and heartache of blowing their budgets. So here are the top 3 mistakes I see:


Mistake 1: Not enough time in the design phase

The design phase is the opportunity to really build in efficiencies that will serve you well in the construction phase. Things are inexpensive whilst they’re just lines on a page, and even though you may be itching to get started, you are not efficient, or make the best decisions when you rush.


Mistake 2: Changing the goal posts

It is natural to want more when you’re renovating or building. Ensuring this doesn’t cause budget overruns partly relies on the planning you do upfront, and also relies on understanding the consequence of certain decisions. For example, extra high ceilings will require non-standard glazing, and increased costs in internal lining, external cladding, lighting and scaffolding. These extra costs will seem inevitable – but they were the consequence of an initial decision that could have been made differently.


Mistake 3: Taking too long

Time blowouts are another big problem with home renovations and new builds. Delays can mean having to source alternative tradespeople, materials, additional interest payments, additional storage payments, damage on site as materials are exposed to weather for too long, and having to extend approvals. It can also cause a huge amount of stress as it can impact how and where you’re living during your build or renovation.


So how do you stay on budget, and make sure your project isn’t another statistic? Here are 3 tips to save your money, and sanity!


Sanity Saver 1: Get Educated

Like anything new, building and renovating can be challenging. Get informed so you’re in the best position to do a good job of it. You wouldn’t get up tomorrow and run a marathon without weeks of training first.


Sanity Saver 2: Get Expert Guidance Upfront

If you had $50,000 to invest in the stock market, would you do it without the best professional advice first? How about $200,000? Or $500,000? Probably not!

The assistance that architects and licensed building designers can bring to your project can save big dollars. Beginning well with expert help will eliminate mistakes, and save you time and money … as well as maximise the opportunities for your project overall.


Sanity Saver 3: Establish your budget

It can be scary to find out how much it will cost to build your dream, because there is a fear that it will be the point that your dream is killed.

However it is much better to know what’s affordable before you commence – rather than when you’re standing in a half-finished home.

There are some great (and free) online tools to help you create a budget. Create it early, and then continue to investigate and firm up your figures as you develop your design.


A final word… For every project that runs over budget, there is another that doesn’t. Whilst this is a scary statistic, with some preparation, guidance and awareness, you can beat the odds.


Renovating and building your home may not be easy. I can promise you though, when done well, it is SO worth it.


Amelia Lee

Amelia Lee  

Amelia Lee is the Undercover Architect, your secret ally in getting it right when designing, building or renovating your home. As a wife and mum, she knows how important our homes are in helping our lives run more smoothly. As an experienced architect and serial renovator, her mission is to help you save time, money and heartache. Undercover Architect is about helping you feel informed, confident and supported as you create or transform your home // www.undercoverarchitect.com.au