Case Studies

Case Study 1

We were approached by a couple who had been planning an extension and renovation to their double-storey heritage home in Hawthorn. The job required major structural modifications to both the ground and first floors.

They had navigated the design and approvals process by themselves, and had just received council approval, when they provided us with architectural working drawings to provide a quote. When we looked over the plans, however, it became clear that there were major problems with the design. The engineer had designed a structural steel system to be installed inside the existing ground floor of the home to allow the existing stair void to be moved and the footprint of the first floor to be extended above. The first problem with this design, however, was that no consideration had been given to the cost or practicalities of how this system would be installed in real life. The second problem was that due to the partial demolition of the floor above, a complex and expensive process would be required to ensure it did not collapse during demolition, and this process also included protection work to both adjoining properties. Having considered all these factors, we advised our clients that demolishing and rebuilding the first floor ‘from scratch’ would save them more than $60,000 as well weeks of building time. Had these engineering and construction issues been addressed before plans had been produced, they would have saved even more money.

Case Study 2

We were approached by a couple in the very early stages of planning an extension and renovation to their family home. They had needed the additional space for their growing family for some time but had been scared off from the building process because they had received advice from a large architecture firm that the project would cost over $100,000 to design and $800,000 to build. This is an example of a building designer being unsuitable for a job. The architect wanted to work as a ‘superintendent’ – a role suited to large-scale commercial and residential projects but wholly unnecessary for residential extensions and renovations.

In this case, We were able to put them in touch with a suitable, highly-skilled building designer to draft the project for a fraction of the architect’s estimate. We were also able to clarify that the $800,000 build cost estimate was ridiculously excessive for the work proposed. This meant that the clients had the confidence to proceed to the design phase of their project knowing that they could afford what they wanted.