Owner building is an exciting venture - yet oftentimes an onerous one! From uplifts in contractor rates to navigating permits and site management, there may be more challenges that come with an owner build than you think. 

Today, I sit down with the gorgeous Elise Weavers, one of our developers who has successfully completed her own home as an owner builder. While the project turned out beautifully, there were several twists and turns she and her partner Sam faced during the build. 

While Elise’s background in commercial construction and Sam’s years-long experience in carpentry gave them sound insight into the build process, the 3 year renovation of their home still presented them with unexpected challenges. In this episode, Elise steps us through her and Sam’s experience and the valuable lessons that she’ll take into her future projects. 

One of the most challenging parts of Elise’s project was obtaining the building permit. She explains how they faced numerous hurdles in getting it across the line, which they put down to being deprioritised as owner builders.

We discuss the difference between commercial and residential construction, and how costs such as building surveyor fees can skyrocket once an owner builder registration is in place. Elise highlights that even with carefully planning and budgeting, extra costs sometimes arise that can’t always be forecasted for. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom! While funding owner builds through the banks can be tricky, Elise explains how they financed the project through a lump sum equity release. While there’s a risk in not having access to more money, she puts the successful use of funding down to having all quotes lined up properly prior to starting the build. It goes to show the importance of doing as much pre-work as possible in the lead up. 

We talk about expecting things - big or small - to inevitably go wrong at some point. The wrong tile might be used or a different colour paint applied than what you chose. However, it’s important to have perspective and evaluate whether it will make or break the project. Is it worth the extra time and money to get the mistake reworked, or can you learn to love it?

This conversation is incredibly helpful for anyone looking to tackle an owner build. The lessons Elise shares are a useful guide to not only being as prepared for your build as possible, but adapting to any unexpected challenges along the way.



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