Renovation Masterplanning: Where to Begin (First 3 Steps)

Man Spraypainting a House

Australians love to renovate their homes, adding value and increasing liveability. Home renovators don’t always know where to begin though and can find themselves simply moving from room to room, upgrading as they go. Before beginning a renovation, it is wise to consider a masterplan in the early stages. Having a gameplan and knowing the processes involved can increase the value of your home and decrease your costs in the longterm.

Start Construction When Only The Good Ideas Are Left

Just because your house is planned the way it is now, it doesn’t mean it is the best layout for your climate, your lifestyle or your budget. Having a design masterplan will allow you to finish your renovation with the best possible outcome in mind throughout the whole process.

If you are ripping out your kitchen now, why would you rebuild it in the same place if moving it will optimise the location of the other living areas that you plan to renovate down the track? Sure, there may be some more costs involved now, but you could save in the next phase when you are renovating your light-filled, north-facing, indoor/outdoor living area.

People are inclined to work with what they can see, so having professionally drawn plans can allow you a new perspective on the layout of your house. Architects, Building Designers and Interior Designers can all help you with this process and will offer additional suggestions and design ideas.

If you are planning to live in your house as you build, a masterplan will also allow you to foresee how your house is going to work when the kitchen has been ripped out or the bathroom has been gutted.

Make Sure What You Are Doing Is Legal


It is easy to jump right in and knock down a wall, but you should always first check the planning and building requirements in your area.

Planning permits can sometimes be required and will depend on your council requirements, especially if you are doing major external works. They can take time to be issued, so this should be considered in your planning. The Victorian government is currently trying to speed up the process for minor works.

More likely you will require a building permit if you are doing any structural work or extensive renovating. Some see these permits as red tape, but there are good reasons why building permits are required. The process will ensure your build complies with the Building Regulations and Australian Code/Standards, ensuring the safety of current and future occupants. This covers a lot more than just ensuring structural beams are the correct size. Amenity, energy efficiency and safety in emergencies are some among many other design requirements. When it comes time to sell your house, illegal work will need to be rectified and if council becomes aware of illegal work at any time, they can also have you demolish it.

In order to obtain a building permit, you will need plans produced by an architect or registered building practitioner. You will also need to have a registered builder on board or to become an owner-builder, which has some limitations.

The Value Of A Tradie Is Not Always In Dollars

Renovating is something anyone can do themselves, but that doesn’t mean everyone should do it themselves. Even if you are managing your own project, you will need professional tradespeople to do those things which you can’t. Unless you are an electrician, you should not be rewiring your own home.

Professionals do this for a living and they will have many ideas or options which you may not have considered in their own area of expertise. At the end of the day you will be the one living there, but if you have an open mind to others you could end up with a superior final product. Engaging others can also speed up the process dramatically.

If you are renovating extensively it is a good idea to have a good team of at least builder and registered designer before progressing with the work. Finding those with a good reputation who you trust is a must when engaging other professionals.


Registered Architect & Registered Building Designer from Geelong, Victoria

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