Extension Guide Part 4: Five Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

At this point in our series on home extensions, we’ve covered the importance of organising your finances, outlined the fundamental planning process, and discussed how to go about choosing the materials for your project.

At Hylton, we have over 20 years of experience in designing, planning, and building home extensions, and we have earned our reputation as a home and apartment builder Melbourne homeowners can rely on. In this blog, we’d like to take you through five of the most common mistakes homeowners encounter when planning or building their extension, and give you some advice on how to avoid them.

Failing to Set Clear Goals

It seems obvious, but before you start planning your extension you should be clear about why you’re doing it and what you want to get out of it. Do you want to create more common space for your family, add an extra bedroom or study? Are you aiming to add value to your home?

Often, the answer is a combination of those two elements. If you’re focusing on how an extension will increase resale value, you’ll have to pay extra special care to your budget. Is the added value really going to be greater than the cost of the build? If you can’t answer this with certainty, it’s time to rethink your extension.

If capitalisation is a key concern, also think about how long you plan to stay in the property after the extension is finished. Unless you’re planning to sell as soon as the build is finished, you want to be sure that the space will be practical and comfortable for you and the other occupants.

Inadequate Budget

We’ve already covered finances in our first blog in this series, but since so many projects find themselves over budget mid-build with no backup plan, we feel it’s worth reiterating.

Before you start the build, calculate your budget as accurately as you can, down to the last nail. Give yourself a buffer of around 15-20%, ideally more if this is your first building project. Endeavour to pay off any outstanding debts before starting your project and make sure you’re in a good position to apply for a loan if you need to. Hopefully your existing budget and the buffer will make applying for a loan unnecessary, but you don’t want to find yourself out of money and unable to secure a loan with your extension half-built.

Plan thoroughly for every stage and calculate the associated costs, factoring the price of permits, materials, and labour, and do as much research as you can before you start the application process. This might seem like a lot of work – and it is – but remember for every figure you jot down there will be a real-world process with many moving parts. You will thank yourself for this later.

Lack of Design Planning

Think carefully about the design elements of your extension during the planning stages. How will it fit with your existing home? Will you attempt to seamlessly blend the old with the new, or will there be a clear contrast between the two sections? If you are planning to use any unusual materials, make sure that they are available and within your budget.

You will also need to keep in mind the balance between aesthetics and functionality. If your extension employs an unconventional or daring approach to design, how will this affect livability? Some beautiful home extensions have been made using glass as the main building material, but an all-glass structure presents a whole array of complications related to cost, energy efficiency, durability, specialised equipment, and building standard restrictions.

Setting an Unrealistic Schedule

Spending adequate time on planning will make a huge difference and will save you a lot of money and stress. But no matter how well you plan, there are certain things you can’t predict. Extreme weather events, unexpected financial strain, and changes in building regulations are just some examples of the kind of thing that can delay your building process.

As with your budget, it’s a good idea to have leeway in your schedule to allow for the unexpected. Being prepared will mean you are able to keep a positive outlook, work together with your builders to overcome obstacles, and look patiently ahead to the end goal of completing your project.

Trying to Do it All Yourself

Every construction project requires a joint effort from a committed team. Architects and designers, builders, electricians, plumbers, and council planners all have their own pivotal roles to play at various stages of planning and building. It’s natural to want to retain control over your project and to keep costs down by taking on multiple roles, but it’s important to know your limits.

This is especially true of the development application process. Many homeowners attempt to do the application themselves, resulting in unnecessary delays and additional costs down the line.

How Hylton Constructions Can Help

At Hylton Constructions, our team of specialists works with you through every stage of planning, application, and construction. Twenty years of experience in delivering the highest quality home extensions has taught us that no two projects are alike, and we strive to provide personalised service and expert advice while allowing you to retain total control over your project.

The final product is always a collaboration between the client and our team of highly skilled professionals. The unique collaborative relationship that begins with our first consultation and continues well after the build is complete is a big part of what sets Hylton Constructions apart and has made us one of the most respected and trusted extension builders in Melbourne.

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