Renovation Guide


Over the years whilst working in the construction industry and focused on residential renovations we have noticed a few areas that commonly get overlooked or not considered when planning to renovate or buy to renovate.  Here is a few tips that we think could reduce the cost or stress of your project.


Whilst it is becoming more and more common these days to fully shrink wrap properties when renovating, it is not always cost effective to do this. If the project allows, timing the external work with the dryer months could save you thousands of dollars.  If the size and scope of the project require that you must use wrap, then having a good professional scaffolding company with an itemised hireage breakdown is a must. Adroit Builders is proud to recommend Summit Scaffolding who we have used for nearly a decade with great results.

The ‘Lie of the Land’

This section is pertaining to the land that you are intending to build on and we have found that there are a few expensive factors to consider. The first is the degree of slope of the land,  after about 5 degrees of slope the cost of foundation work will increase, this is likely unavoidable but its worth thinking about if you have a choice.  Also staying well clear of any civil stormwater or sewage lines on your property, getting to close to these with the foundation of your intended project will require a structural engineer, adding cost to both design and construction. The next consideration is the underground substrate type, some suburbs of Auckland are built almost directly onto the volcanic rock whilst others are meters of uncompacted topsoil, so have this checked by a geotechnical engineer at the design stage will save you from any nasty surprises. Finally any contamination of the land needs to be considered, it is quite common these days that there may be some contaminants that you are unaware of such as pesticides, dumped rubbish, asbestos etc. All of these have a cost to deal with.

Don’t Blow it

Basically the more time spent on planning the less chance of having a surprise cost (think of the 6 Ps).

Here are a few links to sites with good information on how to prepare for your renovation and what to expect:

Be Sun Smart

Spending some time figuring out the best place to put a new window, room or kitchen can be the difference between a good renovation and a great one.

Are your affairs in order?

This is a subject that doesn’t get talked about a lot in the race to get a new kitchen, master en-suite or new internal access garage, but are you up to date on all of your maintenance? Remodelling the inside of your property is not a good idea if your roof needs replacing or the south side needs new cladding. Also the plumbing and electrical infrastructure of your property has a life expectancy of a few decades so be prepared to have to upgrade these systems during the process.


Okay, this is an easy one, when planning a renovation, or buying a property with the intension of renovating in the future, how will you get access to the site? More often than not this is not an issue, but when it is, it can be a very expensive one, going across the neighbour’s back garden and through the fence is one thing, craning everything over the top or using a helicopter is another.

temporary accommodation

We often get asked whether or not the property can be lived in whilst being renovated, so here are some things to consider. Working hours are from 7.30am to 5pm, and can often finish late when trying to meet deadlines, so how does that fit with your schedule? If you have children we have found that this doesn’t work too well. We also make a lot of mess and dust which can make it very hard to relax at the end of your own busy day. So think long and hard before you commit to living on a building site. Alternative accommodation is a good idea and if conditions allow we at Adroit Builders have a mobile home that you can use that’s suitable for up to 5 people.

Hands on

Another question we are asked is can I help you as labour?   It’s becoming increasingly more and more difficult to do this from a health and safety aspect and also because of the implied warranties that you receive at the completion of the project. The clients that have helped with their projects successfully have done things like cleaned the site before work has started by us or cleaned each evening after the carpenters and other tradesmen have left.

We hope thats given you a few more things to think about when planing your dream renovation. so good luck!
Here are some more useful sites: