Taking a do-it-yourself approach to property renovations has the potential to save on labour costs but there are also plenty of downsides.
Australians love to tackle DIY projects around the home – the growth of mega hardware stores is testimony to this, and DIY renovators often gain an enormous sense of achievement from their efforts.
But – and it’s a big but – DIY can be hard work. Here are some things to consider:
- Know your limits
Putting in the elbow grease on a home improvement is tiring, time consuming and there is plenty of room for error. So it is essential to recognise the limits of your ability. Unless you’re a skilled home handyman, only take on those parts of the project that you can complete to a competent standard.
Seemingly simple jobs like laying floorboards or plastering walls can be a lot more difficult than many people realise, and calling in a tradesperson to pick up the pieces of a failed or unfinished DIY effort can be more costly than hiring a professional in the first place
- Weigh up the cost savings
A DIY approach isn’t always as budget-friendly as home owners anticipate and it’s essential to weigh up the savings against the additional costs. You may need to purchase specialist tools to complete the job
- Consider the time factor
It can also take far longer to complete a renovation when you do the bulk of the work yourself. If your leisure time is precious or you’d like the renovation to be finished within a particular timeframe, it can pay to hire professional tradespeople to complete the more challenging aspects of the job.
Bear in mind too, if the work isn’t completed to a very high standard the project could negatively impact your home’s value. No matter how keen you are on saving costs, there are some aspects of a renovation, like electrical wiring, that should only be completed by a licensed tradesperson
- Owner builder requirements
If you’re considering taking the DIY route, you may be required to apply for an ‘owner builder’ permit. In New South Wales for example, you must hold a permit as an owner builder if the value of renovations exceeds $5,000. Check the provisions that apply to your area using the contact details in the following table:
|State/territory||Body to contact regarding owner builder permits||Web address|
|QLD||Queensland Building and Construction Board||www.qbcb.qld.gov.au|
|NSW||Office of Fair Trading||www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au|
|ACT||ACT Planning and Land Authority||www.actpla.act.gov.au|
|VIC||Victorian Building Authority||www.vba.vic.gov.au|
|SA||Office of Consumer and Business Affairs||www.ocba.sa.gov.au|
|WA||Department of Commerce – Building Commission||www.buildingcommission.wa.gov.au|
|NT||Building Practitioners Board||www.bpb.nt.gov.au|