Renovation ideas: ‘Before and After’
When an existing house no longer provides the living solutions required but the location remains ideal, choices include bulldozing or renovating. Adding an extension onto an existing house can be a cost-effective and sustainable option.
More space needed
Leumeah-based design company Ideas Iftekhar + design associates is no stranger to requests for more space. The company works on residential projects in Sydney’s south and southwest suburbs and has completed around a dozen extension projects.
Iftekhar Abdullah, Design Associate at Ideas, says the area is home to medium and low-income households, many of whom don’t want to move from the neighbourhood. But when family structures change, the desire for a bigger house emerges. Given the cost associated with demolishing an existing structure and building a new house, and the mostly tight budgets available, an extension is often the best way forward.
“We look in detail at the existing structure and then create some strategies for how the extension can be done, and that is the starting point,” says Abdullah. “We are also dealing with the budget our clients have, and we maintain that focus throughout our projects.”
Steps to create
A three-bedroom, 1950s fibro cottage is a typical example of the ‘before’ home Abdullah is presented with. His approach follows a design process to ensure the best outcome is achieved.
‘Before and After’ renovation design steps
The decision to build out or up comes down to the size of the block and the site orientation, as well as the existing layout of the house. Cost and project timeframe are dependent on the size of extension. In general terms, most of Ideas’ renovations have been in the range of $1000 to $1200 per square metre and taken an average of around six months for a vertical extension, less for a horizontal.
“Budget is very important – we have to be extremely careful about creating any extension so that budget does not overrun,” says Abdullah.
Once the builder is engaged, the client/designer/builder team is created, and the construction management process begins, the focus is on controlling budget. In some instances, there is the option to keep the family living in the house during the build, saving on the expense of renting another property.
“We have learnt from our experience that the architect/owner/builder team is very important. If it is not a team it would be a disaster because we always work to a very tight time and budget. So if something isn’t right there is a delay and delays mean cost,” Abdullah says.
Abdullah believes that lightweight construction materials are a good option for renovations as they are a cost and time effective solution while providing a number of sustainability benefits. The products on offer can also work well with existing brick veneer structures, for example fibre cement cladding on a second story extension can create an ‘old meets new’ style blend.
“Construction timing is very quick and some of the patterns and designs coming from old to new is fascinating and we have found that now clients are convinced with using lightweight building materials,” says Abdullah.
Words: Nicole Szollos
Wow, so much creative talent. I love it! It’s all so inspiring.
Usmle Step 1 01-Feb-2012 09:24 PM