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Building for the First Time? Here’s What to Expect

Building a home for the first time can seem intimidating if you’re not sure what to expect—but it shouldn’t be.

Whether you’re considering adding an extension to your existing home, doing a full knockdown-rebuild or embarking on a dual occupancy opportunity, a simple way to put your nerves at ease is to familiarise yourself with the design and build process.

Here we shed some light on what you can expect throughout the various stages of the process so you can approach your building project with confidence.

1.   Initial Design Concept

The first thing you’ll need to do is find an architect, building designer or draftsperson to draw up an initial concept of what you want to achieve.

Meet with several designers to discuss your ideas and find out more about their experience, approach, fees and deliverables, so you can make an assessment of how good a fit they are for your project. It’s important to select someone you feel comfortable with, who understands your vision and respects your budget.

The architect or designer may visit the site to better understand the conditions, then develop two or three design concepts based on your discussions to establish the overall design direction.

Your architect may also provide a general idea of the cost of construction at this stage—while your architect may have a basic idea of the cost of construction, it can be highly advantageous to engage a builder at this stage to gain a more accurate cost estimate and ensure your plans are aligned with your budget.

At APC Build, we have a unique capability to accurately cost projects at a very early stage, so it’s well worth getting in touch with us early in the piece.

2.   Finalise Design

Once you’ve selected your preferred design concept, the architect will commence work developing more exhaustive drawings of the design which detail the various materials and construction techniques that will be used for the build.

3.   Permit Approval

Upon completion, the plans developed by the architect are submitted to the local council for permit approval. The council reviews the plans to ensure they meet building safety codes, as well as town planning, zoning and overlay requirements before either approving them, or requesting for the architect to make some alterations.

Depending on how quickly the municipality can process your permit request, this process may take several months.

4.   Select Your Builder

While your plans are sitting with the local council for approval, you can start looking for a builder that will be able to bring them to life.

If you already have a builder in mind, you can approach them directly to request a quote for construction. Alternatively, your architect can conduct a limited tender on your behalf, inviting several builders to submit quotes for the project for your consideration.

When reviewing quotes, give preference to builders with a solid portfolio of previous work and a completely transparent fixed-price quotation that details exactly where your money will be spent.

5.   Construction

Once your plans are approved and you’ve selected a builder, it’s time for the exciting part!

Here’s a general overview of the various stages of the home construction process:

  1. Site Preparations & Base Stage – Your builder will determine the exact positioning of the home on the block and lay the footings and foundation.
  2. Frame Stage – The wall frames and roof trusses are erected—now you’ll be able to see the general outline of the home and get a true sense of its size.
  3. Lock-up Stage – The exterior of the home is constructed, which includes roofing and wall cladding, as well as the installation of the windows and doors.
  4. Fixing Stage – The interior of the home is constructed, including the installation of the internal cladding, skirting boards, architraves, internal doors, flooring, cabinetry and any other fittings and fixtures.
  5. Final Stage/Handover – The final touches such as painting and tiling are completed and your plumbing and electrics are finished off. A council building surveyor will conduct an inspection of the home and issue an Occupancy Certificate, granting you permission to move into your new home.

A Bit About Us

At APC Build, we’ve been a stalwart on the Melbourne home construction and renovation landscape for three generations, building everything from bespoke homes and multi-residency projects to conducting major renovations and extensions (including within a heritage context).

We have a unique capability to accurately cost construction projects from a very early stage and our transparent quotation process provides a complete and detailed breakdown showing exactly where your money is going. We’ll also introduce you to our value management process that will ensure you achieve the home and finish you want, while staying on budget. View our portfolio of previous work, find out more about our team or get in touch with us to discuss your project.

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