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4 Renovation Jobs Best Left to Professional Builders

When you first start thinking about renovations to your home, sometimes it can be easy to think "how hard can it be? I can do that myself." But you don't have to look far, to find that inexperience, budget blowouts, time pressures and hidden problems can cause major headaches for the enthusiastic home handyman - and perfect material for shows like Renovation Nightmares!

Before you start tearing down, cutting holes or any general demolition, take a look at our list of 4 jobs that are best left to the building professionals.

1) Planning

Any home renovation projects should be planned alongside a professional builder. A key point here is to strategically plan your renovation.

A professional builder will be able to analyse your project and anticipate any potential problems (particularly with your building site or existing home) and suggest how to best approach the job. Having a step by step plan will ensure the job is done correctly, in-line with applicable codes and legislation, as well as realistic timeframes and material costs.

A builder will be able to alert you to any aspects of your renovation that need professional input - such as dealing with structural alterations.

An additional benefit of consulting with a builder, is that they can often make suggestions around materials that will reap long-term benefits, such as passive energy saving and more environmentally sustainable materials.

During the planning and consultation phase your builder will also be able to tell you if your planned renovations will improve the value of your home and make sure you won‚'t be over capitalising on your property.

2) Any work that will effect the structural integrity of your home.

The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment stipulates that a home owner must use a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) to undertake any work that is essential to the structural integrity or weather tightness of a building. The significant benefit to using a LBP is the protection you receive under The Building Act (2004). In addition, if you also use a Master Builder (such as Kit Markin) you are covered by a 10 year Master Builder Guarantee on all residential work.

Particularly with older homes, it can be difficult to anticipate any hidden problems with load bearing walls or structures. Often it is not until the layers have been peeled back that your builder can see the extent of the remedial work needed. Adding a new door way or window may seem like a simple job, but could have major implications for the structural integrity of your home.

Also, bear in mind - structural work is literally the heavy lifting of building. Your building company will have extra builders and safety equipment to make this type of work much easier, faster and safer than anything the DIYer will have access to.

If there is any question in your mind whether a renovation would be classified as a structural job - always ask a builder! Your insurance company will not cover any work that is not in-line with the Building Code or legislation. You will have to cover any costs to demolish and rectify the non-compliant work as well as running the risk of fines and prosecution. When it comes to selling your home, you may also be required to provide appropriate building consents.

3) Water-tightness

As highlighted since the mid 1990's, many New Zealand homes have not been built to withstand the harsh weather conditions here. As a means of accountability and protection for home owners, the New Zealand Government has included legislation that work impacting the water-tightness of your home, must be undertaken by a LBP. Examples of this include external cladding, roofing and windows and doors. Decks and balconies can also be a source of water entering your home (decks higher than 900mm also need a permit).

Water entering a building through poor materials or workmanship can do significant damage to your home, costing huge sums of money to rectify, so if you are not sure if the renovations you plan to do will effect the water-tightness of your home, you should consult a professional builder.

4) High-use areas

The reality is that any renovations are a disruption to your home life. Purely based on time factors, if you have a renovation that would have a large negative effect on you or your family - such as in kitchen or bathroom areas, it is well worth considering using a professional builder to carry out the work. This ensures minimal disruption and downtime to your home and family.

Using a reputable team of builders to renovate these speciality areas also means they will use appropriate products such as wet area wall linings, to ensure with work is fit-for-use and will last for years to come.

When planning a renovation or considering a DIY job you should be realistic about your building experience - the actual construction itself, budgeting, material sourcing, planning and knowing how to adapt to the inevitable curve-balls a renovation will throw at you. These are skills that professional builders train in and spend years honing their craft.

Spending money on a trustworthy and reputable builder will reward you with with less hassle, building work will be compliant with building legislation, and for those of us that are time-poor - a renovation that won't take up every spare minute you have getting the job finished!

For a free, no obligation quote for your next renovation project, contact Kit Markin Homes today.

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