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DIY "Do-it-yourself "

The terms "DIY" and "do-it-yourself". - Whether remodeling your kitchen, dreaming of a master bathroom addition or simply repairing a leaky faucet. This can be a personally and financially rewarding undertaking however is often fraught with frustration and stress. Depending on your time, skill, inclination and budget you may like to DIY

Do-It-Yourself Home Improvements - Pros:

  • A major advantage of doing your own home remodeling is that you can end up saving a lot of money. Since labor is a significant cost during home improvements, if you take labor out of the picture, all you need to spend on are the tools and materials. Everything is about having the right tools.
  • It is much easier to alter your home improvement plans if you are doing the improvements yourself. If you are the type who changes their mind often, the alterations can be incorporated more easily when you have only your schedule to keep in mind. A contractor will charge for such change orders.
  • You have the satisfaction of knowing that you are the only one responsible for the wonderful new look of your home.
  • Do-it-yourself home improvements have become quite easy, with stores like Bunnings who sell supplies and tools specifically for the do-it-yourselfer. You can even attend the classes that they host to educate people about do-it-yourself home improvements.

Do-It-Yourself Home Improvements - Cons:

  • Many home improvement projects require expert skills and knowledge that you may not have.
  • You have to commit a lot of time towards your project, and if that time comes at the expense of paid work, the cost savings may not be significant after all.
  • Most states require that technical and electrical jobs be done by certified, licensed professionals. City inspectors will often need to approve such changes. If your home improvements involve such tasks, you will probably not be able to do them yourself.
  • Many home improvement projects require you to use special tools. If those tools have to be bought or rented, you may not end up saving much money after all, and you may not even have the essential skills to use the tools properly. All this can be avoided by hiring a home improvement contractor.
  • If you start a project and are not able to finish it, you may have to pay more money to a contractor to complete your botched up job than you would have if you hired them in the first place.
  • If you cannot follow instructions and don’t like to get your hands dirty, do-it-yourself projects are definitely not for you.
Renovating your house

Managing this task you will need to manage the job, do the demolition, select the colour scheme, source fixtures and fittings, remove and install simple fittings and other simple jobs. However, unless you are really skilled you will need to contract the specialist trades of bricklaying, carpentry, electrics, plumbing and tiling. The following are some general tips that may help to make the process a little easier for you

Keep neighbours on your side. This is an impossible task but do what you can by informing them of noise and inconvenience. You could consider giving them gifts at appropriate times (like earplugs, wine/beer) If they get really stroppy, just tell them how your renovation will increase their property value.

Search the internet for advice and researching materials, appliances and fittings. Print out pictures of appliances so you can see how they look. Study home magazines.

Get the household together and discuss the building. Together draw up a wish list in order of preference.

The exterior presents the first statement about you and your home, consider the architectural integrity of your building. If partially renovating, keep the style similar, or in character with the original house (including the car port and garage.)

Have you ever dealt with a tradesperson and felt you were totally out of your depth? Felt like an idiot? Or thought "they are the experts they know best"?

Think of council as a wonderful resource, they will help to answer all your questions.

Ask lots of relevant questions where ever you go, bathroom retailers, hardware stores, kitchen manufacturers, plumbers, carpenters etc. If they want your business, and they usually do, all these professions and more will give you all the information you require.

Renovating - consider the day-to-day experience

Consider the day-to-day experience. If you are confident and competent to do so, you may decide to perform all the building work on the home yourself. Alternatively, one or more licensed builders can be contracted to do all or some stages of the building project.

Move out of home unless it is a very small job. The renovation will be dirty, dusty noisy. The power and water will go off and when it does you'll have tradesman scrutinizing your breakfast and observing your bathroom habits.

Don't be too ambitious unless you are loaded.

Collect samples and play with combinations. Only use three colours in a room, two if the room is small.

No matter how much space you have, you are likely to want more. Prioritize your space requirements for each room.

Don't over capitalize ie spend more money that you will get back when you sell.

Building can be challenging at best and it is common for unexpected things to arise, complicating the course of works.


Owner building a new home?

Owner-builder work is any work (including supervision and co-ordination) involved in the construction of, or alterations, repairs or additions to, a dwelling (which includes a house, terrace, town-house, garage, swimming pool and certain other structures and improvements):

You can save dollars... You can reduce the construction costs of your home with a few of the following tips

  • While it is acknowledged that owners sometimes engage licensed builders to construct their house to lock-up stage, go to building supply auctions - advertised in your local paper or listed in the yellow pages.
  • Cash and Carry outlets - these shops can sell everything from strawberry jam to ceramics basins, tiles, door stops, kitchen sinks, nails and hand tools... and the list goes on.
  • Call for tenders and quotes.
  • Decide on a quote, and obtain a written contract.
  • Name brands - name brands are generally more expensive than lesser known brands and not always better quality. Shop around and be well informed before you buy.
  • Hire a supervisor or building surveyor as you will need a qualified person to sign the Statement of Compliance for the building work.
  • Seconds outlets - scout your yellow pages for these under white goods, kitchens, tiles, etc.
  • Keep records of the project.
  • Never take the first quote - shop around and talk them down. You will be surprised how much suppliers will move on price if you ask, you have nothing to lose.
  • Ensure you, as the owner-builder, have appropriate insurance cover as you build.

Many people opt to owner-build their home. Owner-builders do not need to hold formal trade qualifications, unless they are required for specialist work, such as plumbing, gas fitting and electrical work.

Lock-up stage includes the floor, walls, roof, eaves, doors and windows, as well as some electrical, gas fitting, drainage and plumbing. With the exception of plumbing, gas fitting and electrical work, the owner can arrange to finish the house, but only in circumstances where they feel totally confident of the processes required.

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