If you are looking to buy a home (or site) to renovate, extend or build afresh, an often overlooked factor is site access. In Melbourne’s inner suburbs our tight Victorian era subdivisions and attached housing can make getting materials and people to the job site a exercise in frustration. This everyday ‘friction’ on site can add considerable cost to any renovation or extension.
When undertaking the typical renovation on an early victorian attached terrace in Fitzroy (new living, dining, central bathroom and kitchen) poor site access can add in excess of $50,000 to the cost of the build.
Perhaps the worst case example would be at attached terrace in the inner suburbs where there is no ROW or rear lane access – located in an area where parking is tight. From the very start of the building process (the demolition) there are on site complications.
It’s often difficult to find a place for a skip bin on the property and council permits have to be arranged to place the bin on the street. Debris are then carried through the existing house via wheelbarrow or material conveyor.
It’s these kind of scenarios where a skilled and organised builder can make a world of difference as to how smoothly the job runs. When faced with a challenging site, be sure to discuss any access issues with the builder before they finalise their quote.
Some things to consider when looking to purchase a renovation candidate;
- The street, is it narrow?
- Is the parking free, metered or permit?
- Is there a place to accept deliveries of materials outside the front of the property (nature strip)?
- Are there mature trees in the vicinity (impeding possible crane or large vehicle access)?
- Is there a fire hydrant, power pole, telecommunications pit or other infrastructure outside the site?
- Is the site flat or is there a significant fall that will make materials handling difficult?
- Are the neighbours properties likely to impede access in any way?
This advice not only applies to detached properties but also apartments. If you are buying in an older apartment building and looking to renovate the kitchen and bathroom you could be in for a surprise. In older buildings sometimes the lifts are too small to bring construction materials up – the only way is the stairs. If access to an apartment is poor, it can add over 20% to the cost of a kitchen and bathroom renovation.