Rising Material Costs and Builder Shortages – Why NOW is the Perfect Time to Start a Renovation or New Build

    Have you seen these headlines in the media recently?

    “Building material costs are skyrocketing!”

    “Huge supply chain issues!”

    “Builders and tradies are nowhere to be found!”

    These headlines may have you thinking it’s best to delay your new home build or renovation plans.  But, according to local Architects and Builders – MILEHAM, this is certainly not the case.

    While pause for thought is always warranted, MILEHAM argues that even in this current economic environment, you can still achieve your dream home on time and within budget.

    Mileham answered the following questions.

    Is the Cost of Building Materials Rising?

    Whether it’s groceries, fuel, or building materials, costs are trending upward across the board. However, it’s important you always check the source credibility for figures and don’t let a clickbait headline be your source of truth. Furthermore, be aware that prices vary by location. For example, due to transport and logistics requirements, building material prices in WA have gone up by more than prices in NSW, which skews the national average up when reported in the media.

    Many renovators think project managing their own build will save them time and money. In reality, the opposite generally turns out to be true.

    Hiring a professional project manager will not only secure the best prices and availability for your materials, but they will also draw on their skills of forward and compression planning and industry relationships to mitigate timeline drag (and time is money).

    Is There a Shortage of Builders and Tradespeople?

    Yes and no. Yes, Australia is currently experiencing a labour shortage. However, this has transpired to builders and tradespeople having the pick of projects they want to work on. So the key to keeping your project moving forward is to make your project the most attractive one to work on. This does not always translate to simply being a higher budget project, but being one which will be most efficiently run. Time is money for a builder, as much as it is for you.

    Builders prefer to work with architects because they prefer working with the detailed, technical plans architects supply (which tend not to be supplied by draftsmen). Having this documentation not only increases your chance of securing a builder, it increases your chance of securing the trusted team of trades who work with that builder.

    Builders likewise prefer working with professional project managers who use their skills and experience to keep the site moving forward each day.

    So if you’re thinking of heading down the DIY project management route, MILEHAM’s advice is to reconsider, especially because many material suppliers and tradespeople are currently preferring jobs within their existing trusted, professional network of architects, project managers and builders.

    Hamptons Luxe extension and renovation in Lane Cove North. MILEHAM Architectural Design, Interiors and Build.

    How Long Does a Renovation Take?

    Many first-time home builders and renovators underestimate the time it takes from an initial consultation with an architect to moving into their new home.

    The timeline from the first meeting with your architect until getting your DA approved can be anywhere from 6-9 months for a small extension (budget under $500,000), or longer for a larger project.

    The construction stage can take a further 6-9 months for a $500-$750k renovation/extension, so your best bet is to start your design plans now if you want to be in your new home within the next 1-2 years.

    How Soon Should You Start?

    It’s unlikely material prices will come down, or labour and material availability will be readily available any time soon. In fact, with the many global factors currently in play, they’re likely to continue moving in unfavourable directions for the short/medium term.

    Given the timeline it can take to get your designs approved by council, and also the fact your NSW DA is valid for 5 years, the best time to get started really is now – today!

    Then in parallel, while your designs are being completed, you can work with your architect to get the best possible team in place for the construction and management of your project OR play the price gamble and start your construction as soon as prices soften enough to meet your budget appetite. And never forget, a property going to sale with a DA-approved plan is more attractive to buyers.

    Modern Hamptons extension and renovation in Riverview. MILEHAM Architectural Design and Build.

    How Do I Start the Process?

    Click here to book your FREE design and build consultation with MILEHAM today.

    James Pilcher, MILEHAM Founder and Principal Architect

    Cover Photo: Parisian Chic Townhouse renovation in Wollstonecraft. MILEHAM Architectural Design, Interiors, Project Management and Build.

    Mileham Contact Details

    Website: mileham.com.au
    Instagram: mileham.group
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: 0410 723 203


    MILEHAM is an A+ Member of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Registration Number 272736C and adheres to the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct.

    MILEHAM is an ITC Business Supporter.  The information provided above has been provided by MILEHAM   

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