Length and Cost of Renovating During COVID

renovating during covid

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has affected home renovations in Sydney during the past 20 months.

The uncertainty of what might happen next can be difficult to cope with, but established renovation specialists like Addbuild have been using their expertise to keep current building projects going despite the disruptions.

Causes of Delays

We know that homeowners see delays as bringing extra stress and expense, especially if they aren’t able to remain at home during the renovation.

Overall, very few building projects would have been completely unaffected by COVID.

The causes have varied, and some won’t – hopefully – have to be considered in the future:

  1. Issues with the supply of building materials;
  2. Restrictions to the number of tradespeople working in the home;
  3. Requirements to follow COVID safe procedures on the building site.
  4. Restrictions to movement of people within the LGAs of concern;
  5. Availability of quality tradespeople due to high demand;
  6. For those building in July 2021, the temporary pause of the construction sector.

Some of the reasons for delays are less to do with the pandemic directly and more due to our response, be that the Government’s HomeBuilder stimulus or people investing in improvements after working or spending more time at home and realising their home wasn’t coping.

These factors have led to a significant increase in demand for builders and tradespeople generally.

This has happened at the same time as disruptions in the supply chain, especially for imported materials.

And whilst it has been fantastic to see the sector given a timely boost by the Government stimulus – an acknowledgement of the importance of supporting the large number of people employed in construction – it is ironic that this has now led to a shortage of quality people in some trades.

Building Costs

So many factors can affect building costs, so whilst the overall trend is that costs have risen, this isn’t consistent across all the factors that cause changes.

Obviously, productivity has been affected, beyond the control of any builder, and time is money.

The competition for skilled tradespeople means that wages inevitably rise.

Material costs can be higher due to the recent extra demand, but lower if, for example, China has a glut of a certain product.

Variations in exchange rates can also change underlying costs of imported materials.

For people using a builder like Addbuild, who use fixed price contracts, there is peace of mind and protection from these short term variations.

Obviously costs outside of the building contract, like accommodation if renting because you were unable to remain at home during the building work, will be affected if there are delays.

Response from Builders

Established builders have been able to ride the storm, with Addbuild being able to lean on their 40 years of experience, size and connections to minimise the impact.

Having strong and long connections to suppliers, and experience of the workarounds needed, have enabled builders with deep-seated connections in the industry to fare better.

Communicating with clients clearly and promptly is also key to setting the right expectations when delays inevitably happen.

Builders like Addbuild recognise the advantages of homeowners staying put during renovations and will advise how to minimise the disruption – and dust! – should you do so. Adding weeks of rent due to delays could seriously impact your budget.

Implications for Homeowners

For homeowners, choosing a builder carefully has never been more important.

For peace of mind, you should be asking prospective builders:

  1. What COVID safe procedures do you have in place?
  2. Do you offer a fixed price contract and ‘peace of mind’ guarantee?
  3. How have you responded to delays of building materials?
  4. How will you cope if you experience a shortage of tradespeople?
  5. What insurance do you have in place?

If you don’t get a clear answer to any of these questions – or if you get an evasive answer – keep looking.

Also choose a builder who, like Addbuild, gives you clear advice on how to stay living at home during the renovation to give you that extra flexibility.

Other factors like the ease of getting hold of the company, the back-up of having an office and staff other than just the builder to communicate with, should also be considered.

Looking to Expand Your Home?

Addbuild are always happy to contribute our 40 years of experience to your building project and can arrange to come out to look at your home to talk through your options.

As well as being Sydney’s leading home additions and extensions builder, Addbuild offer a ‘concept-to-completion’ service that includes experienced designers and the management of the Development Application process on your behalf.

Feel free to call our office on (02) 8765 1555 or send us a message using our contact form if outside of office hours.