Many people are intimidated by what they assume will be a complicated process or a sub-par home.
But the truth is that narrow lot homes can be just as stunning as any other home. The key factors in ensuring you receive the home of your dreams, lie with careful planning and a knowledgeable building team. Bartlett Builders Queensland specialises in narrow lot or narrow frontage homes.
Below are some great starting points to discuss with your building designer or architect to get the conversation flowing:
Let the light flood in!
Natural light has been proven time and again to have a positive effect on how people feel about their homes. Narrow lot homes can walk a fine line between feeling cramped and using all available space – allowing natural light to fill your home will help ensure that you land on the right side of the razor’s edge. Light and airy narrow lot homes are a masterful combination of architectural finesse and internal styling.
Maximise storage opportunities
The quickest way to make a home look small and cluttered (as well as frustrating the people who live there) is a lack of storage options. Incorporating built in storage options into narrow lot homes is a must. Many designers and architects can create surprising and innovative storage solutions when given
Embrace the environment
Embracing your outdoor areas and the your properties surrounds. If you are an avid entertainer, perhaps it is worth investing time and effort into a well equipped entertaining area. If your property is situated in a picturesque area, looking at options for maximising the view while still maintaining privacy. Narrow lot homes are all about embracing what is already available, rather that wrestling to make ideas fit.
Maximise your living space
Sit down and plot your most used areas in the home and decide where you are going to ‘invest’ your space. If your family like personal space and privacy… invest more space in the bedrooms, or perhaps secondary entertaining areas.
If you find yourselves with guests over often, or spending a lot of time together – invest your space in large lounge or sitting rooms. Carefully consider how much space you need for utility rooms such as the laundry, the kitchen, etc. Be realistic with your estimates. The most common gripe for all homeowners is the size of the kitchen. It may be tempting to reduce the size of your kitchen, but will it frustrate you in 6 months? Equally, do you need a room for the laundry, or can it just be a recessed nook away from everything?
There is no ‘right’ way to do it, but careful consideration of your needs will ensure this home brings nothing but joyful memories.
If you would like to know more about narrow lot homes, or you would like to take the first step towards your custom home, then contact Bartlett Builders Queensland today!
Is Your ‘Free Quote’ Really Free?
In a competitive building industry, it has become common-place for many builders (and other tradesmen) to offer free quotes. While this is a fantastic perk for homeowners, a ‘free quote’ actually costs considerably more than you may suspect.
Free quotes take a considerable amount of time on your builder’s behalf. Even a simple estimate based on square footage and a brief conversation, still takes time out of a builder’s day.
More in depth quotes take considerable time, effort, and cost on the builder’s behalf. Your quote will normally involve a site visit or phone call, as well as the time involved in generating a customised and accurate quote.
While this has become a standard cost of doing business that many builders absorb, there is an etiquette that many builders appreciate when providing you with a free quote. Here are just a few tips on how to get through the quoting process without a faux pas:
Let the builder know if they are unsuccessful (if you’re feeling generous, tell them why)
Builders put a lot of time into providing you with an accurate quote, but this doesn’t mean you are obliged to engage their services. However, it is always appreciated if you can take a few moments to send an email or call to let the builder know that you are going with a different builder. This means they won’t send unnecessary follow ups. For many builders, it can also be helpful to know why you chose to go with another builder. They may learn that there is a more effective quote method, or they may need to find new suppliers to reduce costs.
Be upfront about your budget
It has become a common piece of advice from well-meaning onlookers, that you should withhold your real budget from your builder. This is counter-productive. If you don’t trust the builder enough to tell them your honest budget, then you don’t trust them enough to build your home. The right builder will not try to exhaust your budget – they will give you an accurate estimate of what you can expect for that. If you are looking to save costs where possible – tell your builder.
Similarly, give an accurate time frame
Telling your builder that your project is ‘urgent’ or must be done by a certain date may mean that your builder may assume a higher cost of materials because of the short notice. Or the builder may pass on the project altogether because their lead time does not fit with the project. Being clear about the timeline you expect is a great way to get off on the right foot, and avoid disappointment.
Calling during non-work hours
While many builders try to accommodate working homeowners, your builder does have a homelife too. Understandably you are excited about your project, but if you have something you need to discuss at 10pm at night, please send an email or a text message. Your builder will likely get back to you first thing the next day!
If you would like a free quote, then please contact Bartlett Builders today! Our friendly team will be more than happy to help you with your dream home.
The Value Of Being Decisive With Your Builder
Bartlett Builders offer the very valuable service of Design and Construct. Simply put: Design and Construct means that you engage Bartlett Builders to manage your building or renovation project on your behalf – from start to finish. The merits of Design and Construct have been extolled by many. In the interests of keeping on point, we will simply say that having an experienced professional builder with a network of professional subcontractors in charge of your project affords homeowners a lot of peace of mind when it comes to completing their home on a budget and on time.
However, no matter how great your Design and Construct builder is, you will still need to have a small modicum of input in the project.
The majority of this input will come into play early on in the process – when decisions about budget, style, timeframe, and a few other things need to be made. Your builder cannot decide whether you should have marble or laminate countertops. They can advise you regarding the pros and cons, or cost. But ultimately, this decision belongs with you.
The process of renovating a home can leave homeowners with extreme ‘decision fatigue’. But it is important to remember that this part of the process is just that – a single part of the process that will be over soon!
It is important that you make firm decisions when it comes to the planning stage of your build. If need be, consult an interior design or another style consultant to help you with your choices. These are professionals who thrive on helping clients make up their mind. The worst thing you can do is to be indecisive.
No Decision Is The Worst Decision
Being indecisive can erode your project from the inside out and can delay you getting into the home of your dreams. If you go back and forth with your builder, consistently unable to make a decision at each stage of the builder then you can unknowingly delay each stage by a day or even a week, or more!
Making clear decisions long before your builder approaches you is a great way to save buyers remorse later. Snap decisions can sometimes lead to your home not having a consistent style throughout. Having a firm and clear picture of what you want, long before it comes time to choose paint colours or tiles will help with this.
Additionally, being decisive is going to save a lot of frustration for you and your builder. Being able to give clear answers to questions will equate to less ‘back-and-forth’ and less nagging from your builder. No builder wants to nag you about making a decision, but they are on a deadline – They need to know!
Many people debate the various merits of Design and Construct Builders. Some wholeheartedly endorse design and construct builders while others are not entirely confident in handing over the reigns. At Bartlett Builders we believe that contracting a Design and Construct service with a trusted builder will be the best thing you’ve ever done. From accurate quotes to reputable tradesmen, as well as sticking to timeframes; here’s why Bartlett Builders are proud to offer a Design and Construct service.
Design and construct builders are more invested in giving you an accurate quote. Regular designers want to ‘get in and out’ as soon as possible. Lowballing the cost of the overall build is a sneaky way to get homeowners to agree to first draft plans, rather than making modifications to arrive at a dream home that’s still within budget. However, when you work with a Design and Construct Builder it is in the builders best interest to have a fully informed client. Design and Construct Builders aim to complete the project on budget and on time – giving you a lowball quote defeats that goal from the beginning. At Bartlett Builders we offer a design and construct service that incorporates trusted drafters and we work with you to suit your budget, not blow smoke.
Finding reputable tradesmen to work on your project can be frustrating. Friends and family will recommend a multitude of different tradesmen or warn you of certain people. Trying to find the balance between too expensive and too cheap can also drive you insane. There are so many great tradesmen out there – how do you find the right one for your project?
Your Design and Construct Builder will do this for you, taking all the stress out of finding the right people for your project. Bartlett Builders have been in the industry for decades and have built an extensive network of contacts. We chose only the most trusted of tradesmen that we know will be right for your project. All negotiations can be left in the adept hands of your Bartlett Builders’ project manager.
Similarly, Bartlett Builders will coordinate all timeframes of your builder. Your design and construct builder will take over the coordination of all renovation work, coordination of tradesmen, and coordination of the overall project timeline. At Bartlett Builders we have invaluable ‘on-site’ experience and our builders inherently know ‘where to from here’. We use our extensive knowledge to drive your project forward in time to meet your deadlines. This knowledge and commitment to quality have proved invaluable for many homeowners.
When you work with a Design and Construct builder you can take off your ‘Project Manager’ hat and pass that responsibility to your builder.
Having a Right Hand Man who will alleviate all the stress of renovations will also significantly increase your enjoyment of the process and the finished product. Instead of battling through the project, you can focus on celebrating milestones. Prepare your interior, plan your landscaping and garden works, even host a ‘Reno Party’ when you reach your milestones!
With the population of Brisbane growing, people are looking towards narrow lots to build a home on. Much of Brisbane’s inner city and bayside areas are popular for sub-divisions from one large lot into two to build small lot housing. Brisbane City Council’s Small Lot Code was developed to ensure that new houses on small lots fit within specific guidelines. However, a small lot does not mean you have to settle for less than a great home! With the right home builder like at Bartlett Builders Qld you can still have the house of your dreams on a small lot.
Small lot home sites have challenges such as:
- Town planning restrictions
- Design restrictions
- Construction access issues
- Privacy issues
With the right design, a beautiful well proportioned house can be achieved. One that you will be happy to live in for years to come. At Bartlett Builders Qld we have been building small lot houses for over 15 years.
Why choosing a lower priced builder can end up costing you more
You get what you pay for: we’ve all heard that expression, but it can be hard to turn away from a lower price. It’s easy to get multiple competing prices for your new home or renovation and it can be hard to not accept the lowest price. But these prices are low for a reason and can end up costing you more in the long run. There are companies who will seek out lower priced contracts to provide much needed cost flow for their business.
A few reasons why some bids might be dramatically lower than others:
They haven’t done their research
A lowball price is often the result of the builder having missed something. Whether it’s something as simple as a requested feature, mistakes get made when things are rushed. Many times, they’re simply doing a cost per square metre and they’re all but guessing at the price to land the job. They’re certainly not accounting for unexpected budget blowouts that can happen with any build, and won’t offer you any protection should those occur. Again, you’re best served by hiring a professional builder who will invest the time and money necessary to price your project accurately, and provide you with a fixed-price – eliminating pricey overruns.
They’re sacrificing quality
Underbidding a project inevitably means cheaper materials, fewer and less experienced tradespeople, and rushed work. It also means your job could actually be delayed, depending on how many of these low margin contracts they’re having to work at once to stay afloat.
Bait and switch
One easy way to keep a quote low is to swap out specified items and features with lesser quality substitutes. That rainfall showerhead you asked for might be a cheap silver plastic version, rather than a quality stainless steel piece. A reputable builder will run through all of this with you, and state clearly what options you’ve chosen and will receive in your build.
Finding the right home builder isn’t a bargain hunt – it’s more like finding the right relationship. Even busy professionals in Brisbane should take their time, do their research and ask the right questions. The right builder, such as Bartlett Builders Qld will have the answers and understand your concerns.
Planning For Renovations In Brisbane
Okay – it’s really exciting when you first start to think of renovating. You are looking through Pinterest and Houzz, saving images of things you love. But, converting a bathroom idea from Pinterest to actually making it all happen are totally different things. Here are a few things to plan renovations before you commence to make your life easier and help achieve your dream renovation.
- Budget – be realistic! Don’t base your expectations on TV shows that give you a false idea of how far your money is going to go. Work out what money you really do have available to spend on this renovation. Make sure you are not spending too much or too little. Be aware the level of quality of fixtures & fittings is going to impact on your budget. Not many people can do what is done on The Block and spend $4000 on a tap!
- Meet with a builder – While builders are not designers, most have a good knowledge of how much things cost. Maybe you have $300k to spend – this doesn’t mean that you can achieve all you want for that. Part of this budget has to go to design, planning, site works etc. Meeting with a builder early on will help to give you a realistic idea of what you can achieve with your budget.
- Concept Plans – Get your designer to do initial concept plans, once you are happy with them get them priced by your builder. These are not final plans and it is better to know now if you are looking at a $500k project instead of $300k. Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time – people spend money on plans that are not going to fit in with their budget. If you work with both your designer & builder together at this time, you are much more likely to create a concept that is going to fit your budget and fill your renovation wish list.
- Final Plans – Once you are happy with your concept and know what your costs are likely to be, get your final plans drawn. People will tell you get three quotes and others will tell you get six. But be mindful that most builders do not like quoting for jobs when there are multiple others quoting. It is far better to work with a builder from the beginning. After all building takes a team effort!
Planning Brisbane Bathroom Renovations
A bathroom, aside from the kitchen is one of the most used rooms in your home. So if yours is not working or looking tired, then it’s time for an upgrade! Bathroom renovations are a huge undertaking and it is essential that you plan it properly to ensure that you will end up with a bathroom you love for years to come.
Here’s you need to do first before you even begin your bathroom renovations.
Set Your Budget
The first thing that you need to do when planning a bathroom renovation is to set your budget, as your budget will dictate what you can and can’t do. Make sure you include everything – the cost of removing existing fittings, the cost of hiring tradespeople, and the cost of all of your new fittings and fixtures as well as other materials such as paint, tiles, and so on. It is worth your while to do some research here. Have a look at the rough costs for everything so that you can create an average figure to include in your budget. Don’t forget to also include a buffer for any emergencies.
Decide What Needs to be Done
Planning your bathroom renovation is all about figuring out what needs to be done. To this end, the first thing that you need to do is to stand in your current bathroom and have a look at what works and what doesn’t. In many cases, you’ll want to strip everything out and start from scratch, and that’s fine. However, you may also find that there are things that you want to keep. For example, your bath may still be in great condition, or there might be a tile feature that you love. Also, the more that you can keep in your existing bathroom, the cheaper the renovation will be.
What Do You Want Out of the Bathroom?
Something else that you need to consider is what you want from your newly renovated bathroom. Do you want a bath for relaxing in or to bath the kids at night? Will his and hers sinks make it faster to get ready in the morning? How much storage space are you likely to need? More is usually better! Will the bathroom be for the whole family to use or is it going to be more of a retreat, where you can relax at the end of the day? What colours and materials do you want to use? Answering these questions will go a long way in how the finished bathroom will look, and give you a huge head start on your planning.
Allow Enough Time for the Renovation
A bathroom renovation can be quite a complex process and thus it can take quite a lot of time to do. This is no problem if you have another bathroom in the house that you can use but if you don’t, you will have to ensure that you have access to another bathroom for the entire duration of the renovation. This could be using a friend or family member’s bathroom, or you may prefer to hire a portable bathroom for the duration (which will need to be included in your budget).
Tips Required To Renovate In Brisbane
Drive down any street in Brisbane and you are bound to see someone renovating their home. Renovating seems to be something that we are either doing, watching on TV or dreaming about!
• One of the first things to be considered before renovating is to ask yourself whether the renovation is worth doing at all. Are you going to spend more money to renovate than you would if you demolished the house and started again? If you sold the house, would you get the money you invested back?
• Plan, plan & plan! Look at magazines, look at other houses and have ideas of what exactly you want to achieve. Take photos of houses and ideas you like.
• List what is wrong with your house at present. Sounds strange but this will help clarify what you want to achieve.
• Your home renovation budget should be well planned and realistic! I can’t stress this enough – you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish based on your budget. It is no use having $100 000 to spend and getting your building designer to draw up a renovation that is going to cost $300 000!
• Ensure that you allow a contingency fund in your budget. I can guarantee that you will want to make changes as the building of your renovation or new homes progresses – everyone does! Allow an extra 10% in your budget for unexpected changes or variations.
Bartlett Builders Qld are Brisbane based builders and have over 30 years experience in the building industry. We can guide you from the ideas stage through to construction of a renovation, house raise or extension you will be delighted with.
House Raising In Brisbane With Bartlett Builders
Raising home is the best way to increase your home’s livable area, and also adding considerable value to your home. Whether you need more bedrooms, or perhaps your family is getting older and you’d like to create a teenager escape or maybe even that media room you’ve always dreamt of.
When you raise your house in Brisbane and create all that extra space, the possibilities are endless. Bartlett Builders QLD offers a house raising service and restumping services, if required we can also slide your house to help you take full advantage of your block.