Saturday, June 12, 2010

Renovating Costs

A reader from Sydney is a single girl wanting to do some renovations to a typical "fixer-upper" in the inner city and is wondering how much she should have to pay.

Managing the costs can be the most stressful part of any renovation project but armed with a bit of knowledge you can tackle it and your builders with confidence.

You can get a rough idea how much your renovation should cost by the working out the size of the space in square metres.

What you can expect to pay a builder for renovations:

•An average job should cost somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000 per square metre.

Up to $3,500 per sq metre for premium finishes.

•Very small jobs or sites with difficult access can also be more expensive per square metre.

•For decks and verandas you should allow somewhere between $1,500- $2,000 per square metre.

•For bathrooms and kitchens add another $10k to $15k per kitchen and or bathroom on top of those rates.

Some of the inner city Sydney councils (such as Waverley, Leichardt, South Sydney, Sydney City) are using between $3.500-$4000 per sqm in calculating DA fees.

Why is it so expensive?

Building materials have gone up by about 30% in the last few years. Insurance and labour rates have also gone up.

Something else to consider:

Even on a small job it's really important to find a builder you can have good communication with and is someone who "gets" what you are trying to achieve.

If you are like me and want things done a certain way, it’s no use engaging a builder who is not into aesthetics or architectural detail.

The costs quoted above are a rough guide only. The photo above is from a renovation of a typical small terrace house in Erskineville my husband designed for a client some years ago.


  1. Oh the 'something else to consider' is THE most important lesson I wil take away from my current project and the first thing I will consider in my next one..... speaking from 'weight-losing, stress inducing, health wrecking experience! GREAT ADVICE ....and... oh to be married to an architect! A-M xx

  2. Thanks AM - I am indeed lucky to have the architect on tap. We met not long after I had finished renovating my first flat. It was love at first site!