Thursday, 21 June 2012


As a mother I know plenty about guilt; I didn't breastfeed, I let my kids watch TV during the week and to top it off some afternoons when I have managed to force them into the garden I lock the back door so they can't come back inside.

There's plenty more to anguish over but at present this guilt pales in comparison to what I am experiencing in relation to obtaining builders quotes.  My whole life I've have it drummed into me to get three quotes for everything, it just plain common sense!  Consequently I am now the world's best bargain hunter (have you heard the one about the $1050 boots I got for $150?) and never feel comfortable paying full price or buying anything unless I have visited every shop and supplier around town to make sure I'm getting the best deal.

So why in the world do I feel so dreadful getting three different builders to quote on our renovation?

I think the reason is that we know the builder we would prefer to use - a lovely man Ross Stone from Prestige Building Group.  Our building designer introduced us when we first started on the plans and he has been a font of advice already.  He has given us an estimate price which is pretty close to what we budgeted (I will be happy to share this with you once I receive the other estimates).  For some people I know, this would close the deal - they would sign up with Ross pronto.

My builder-guilt stems not only from being unwilling to commit to Ross immediately, its because I feel that I'm wasting the other builders time.  Wasting these poor guys time when business is so tough at the moment.  Wasting their time when they could be at home with their families.  Wasting their time when they could be quoting on a job they have more of a chance of winning. Wasting their time when they could be at the pub having a beer after a long days work.

Because we really do want to use Ross.  Of course this may not end up being the case - one of the other builders quotes could be tens and ten of thousands of dollars cheaper.  But emotionally I feel that I would then be questioning why they are so cheap anyway.   Am I just going through the motions of getting the quotes to appease another type of guilt - the guilt of not doing the right thing?  Or is a case of first with the head, then with the heart?

I've been trying to appease the builder-guilt with the knowledge that builders factor quoting time into each job and if they don't win the job they just add it onto the next job they do win (or so I have been told). But then I just start feeling guilty about the poor sod who might end up paying for my actions down the track.

There's are real guilt-a-thon going on round here!

How many quotes did you get if you have done a renovation?  Did you choose for cost or like-ability?  Any regrets?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Measure twice, cut once.

My grandfather, Bill Seward, always told me to measure twice and cut once.  I have discovered when you apply this principle to developing plans it's more like measure fifty times, pace things things out at least thirty-two times, draw it on the ground with chalk and try to envisage what furniture would fit where twenty times and then have about seventeen anxiety attacks that perhaps the economy is stuffed and you shouldn't be renovating at all.

So that's what James and I have been doing recently and is the reason you may have noticed my blog has been quite of late.  However, we think with a few tweaks the latest iteration of our plans will give us what we need. Plus the economy needs building industry needs stimulating so we might as well be the trendsetters.

You may recall in my last instalment I had to tell our building designer that whilst his plans were great they weren't going to work for us. About a fortnight ago we received new plans, straight away we were much happier - the whole thing seemed to provide us with the space and the requirements we wanted and was along the lines of what we always thought would happen to this house - basically a box on the back.

Click on the picture to see the plans clearly.
Peter Latemore said to have a good think about it all and get back to him.  You might be interested to know the approach James and I took to considering the layout and functionality of each room. It may seem over the top but remember I am anal and James is a business put these things together and you get this...a spreadsheet which lists each room and the things we needed to think about for each room eg light, security, storage, entry/exit, heating/cooling etc.  You can see the spreadsheet here and the list of things that that we came up with here.

Once we felt that we had measured, paced, discussed and debated enough we made a time to meet with Peter and ran through what we thought needed to change.  The main things are that the pantry will swap places with the laundry, the drying area will move to the side of the house and the screen that divides the deck into two areas will be removed.  One of the windows in the kitchen will be removed to make space for a hutch for the kettle etc.  There are few other things - I guess we will get another plan soon that I can show you.

So now we are approaching the stage of the working drawings being produced and council approval.  We also need to start confirming the cost  - that will be the topic of my next post and I guess what has been worrying us most of all - BUDGET!!