Anjali and Rob are a couple with a familiar story: along with their two daughters, one already a teenager, they had outgrown their three-bedroom, one-bathroom Kings Park home of 20 years.
An initial look into renovating wasn’t promising, so they were resigned to selling the home they loved to move to a larger house.
“We’d been thinking about extending out the back for the last 10 years but were a bit overwhelmed by the process. We weren’t sure where to start and how it would go,” Anjali explains.
“We had a couple of builders through and their initial quotes were higher than we thought. For our budget, which wasn’t small (around $200,000), it looked like we would just get an extra living space and bathroom if we extended. So, we didn’t think it was worth the effort and expense.”
“We love this area – it has great schools and is close to work – so we started to look at what we’d get if we sold up and bought a bigger home nearby. All the houses we could afford still needed work as most had bathrooms and kitchens from the 1980s that badly needed updating.”
So, Anjali returned to researching on the internet and a few Google searches led her to Addbuild, among other options.
“I did my due diligence looking at client feedback on Product Review and other sites and, reassured by what I found, picked up the phone to Addbuild, and I’m so glad I did.”
Anjali soon came to appreciate the difference between a builder of Addbuild’s size and experience versus the smaller operators she had met with before.
“From the very first call I was struck by how professional Addbuild were. I initially spoke with the receptionist, but quickly received a call back from the design consultant, Emmory, and he made an appointment to meet us at our home.”
To Go Up or Go Out
“Our original plan of keeping the house single storey and extending out the back was because I’ve never lived in a two-storey home. The builders we’d had through before had tunnel vision and just wanted to quote what we asked for.”
Emmory, on the other hand, had a very different approach:
“Once he looked around the house and listened to our plans, he told us his honest opinion and it really turned our thinking upside down,” Anjali remembers.
As one of Sydney’s leading additions and extensions companies, Addbuild has 40 years of experience to draw on and, in this case, our expert’s recommendation was to challenge the homeowner’s original idea, something that only happens when warranted.
“Emmory came across as very down to earth and not a salesman. He asked us ‘do you really want to extend, lose your back verandah and that great bushland outlook?’ It was something we hadn’t considered.”
“He then explained what we could get for our budget with an additional storey. He left us with a lot to think about after our first meeting, whether to go up or still try to go out.”
Anjali and Rob decided to explore this new option and were impressed by Emmory’s patience and willingness to answer any concerns.
“No question was too difficult to answer, and Emmory usually replied within hours. We must have contacted him 30 times!”
The Design Process
The couple were also impressed with the clarity they found with Addbuild’s design process.
“A big difference between the other builders we met and Addbuild was that we received detailed sketch drawings with Addbuild’s indicative quote. With the other builders, we couldn’t easily visualise what we’d be getting for the money.”
“Also, Addbuild gave us those initial sketch designs and the indicative quote for free. We were only charged once we moved to the plans order.”
Anjali and Rob opted for something from Addbuild’s ‘Classic Design‘ range rather than a bespoke design, and, again, were happy to find that Addbuild were still willing and able to make changes to accommodate their needs.
“Using the ‘Classic Design’ series had tremendous advantages in terms of value and cost. However, we really wanted to tweak the standard design we selected.”
Adapting Existing Plans
“We decided the kids would have their bedrooms and bathroom in the new upstairs space for various reasons – it felt more secure for them to be away from the external doors and we usually got up earlier to prepare the day so it made sense to be closer to the kitchen.”
“However, we didn’t have much storage space, so we made their new bathroom a bit smaller and used that area to create a large walk-in closet.”
“Addbuild adjusted the design very easily without it adding much to the overall cost. In fact, the biggest additional cost was our choice – we had a bespoke staircase designed as a feature.”
“Everything worked out perfectly the way Emmory changed the plans. The girls love their upstairs: they have their own living space as well as the bedrooms and bathroom.”
Using A Complying Development
Opting for the Classic Design range had other advantages: the plans were approved as a ‘Complying Development‘ saving weeks of time.
“We had friends who had just been through a renovation which required a DA (Development Application) and they had weeks of back and forth with their Local Council. We couldn’t believe how easy ours was in comparison, plus we had Addbuild looking after the whole process for us.”
Fixed Priced Contract
When it came to signing the building contract with Addbuild, Anjali is, again, full of compliments.
“We loved the way Addbuild went through and explained in detail every page of the contract. Also, we were in their office and they had the relevant people on hand to answer any questions. If we had other questions that hadn’t occurred to us at the time, we emailed them and received swift replies.”
The couple received a fixed price quote, another feature of Addbuild’s service.
“All the costs were as per the quote. There was a tiny bit of plumbing that was an extra, only $100, because of some old pipes, and even then, we had been warned ahead of time what might happen once the building worked revealed things that couldn’t be seen beforehand.”
Clearly, Anjali and Rob were impressed by Addbuild’s approach, and whilst we love to hear from happy clients, surely the building work itself must have been a nightmare?
“You don’t go into a major building project with an expectation that it won’t be stressful, but again, I can only say positive things about how Addbuild handled things,” Anjali continues.
Living Through The Building Work
“We opted to stay home during the building work. This happened to coincide with Rob getting a contract in Melbourne which required him to be away for two weeks every month, so for much of the time it was just me and the girls!”
“Our builders Pat and James couldn’t have been more supportive. They understood the situation and made a big effort to make us feel comfortable. They were mainly upstairs but very respectful of our privacy when working downstairs.”
“We knew it would be dirty and dusty, so we weren’t surprised when it was. They left adding the hole for the staircase until the last possible moment which limited the impact of the work being done upstairs. They did their best to seal out the dust after that.”
“The building work coincided with some of the biggest hail storms for a while, and it didn’t cause any damage because Pat and James had tied the tarps down so solidly.”
“Another time, a storm rolled in while they were still working and up on the roof. I told them to come down, but they hadn’t had the chance to tie everything down completely. There was a bit of tarp folded underneath itself in a corner, and they got back up on the roof and fixed it. We had minimal water come in and it dried quickly.”
“We made two small changes to the plans during the building, moving one of the doors and knocking down one of the walls downstairs, and John, the building supervisor, couldn’t have been more helpful.”
Surprises, Good or Bad?
Did anything surprise Anjali and Rob?
“We were surprised with how comfortable we were with having builders in the house. Pat and James became like members of the family and, if I and they had time, we’d sit down together with a cup of tea.”
“They and all the tradies were respectful – for example they turned up on time or before, but always waited until 7.30am before they started on the job. If they had to work late to get something finished, they always told us beforehand and asked our permission.”
“John would visit regularly and was always happy to answer questions by phone or email if I couldn’t speak to him face to face.”
“Together, we came away feeling that everyone went above and beyond.”
Advice to Other Homeowners
“My main suggestion is that people have to go into a building project being realistic. We knew it was going to be stressful and messy. You have to keep reminding yourself what you’ll have at the end of the process,” Anjali advises.
“Because of Addbuild we were happily surprised about how smoothly everything went despite the challenges of weather and Rob being away.”
“After we’d finished, we had a final call with Emmory and my comment to him was, ‘if I’d know about how easy Addbuild would make this, I would have done this 10 years ago’, so my final bit of advice is ‘don’t wait’!”
We thought we’d know the answer, but still asked Anjali, would she and Rob recommend Addbuild?
“We rave about Addbuild the whole time to our friends. Last Christmas I was thinking of Pat and James and the wonderful space they created for us to enjoy. You’ve left a lasting impression.”