Is the paint on your walls peeling?

We come across peeling paint and poorly painted surfaces a lot of the time when completing renovation projects for our clients. It's a sad state of affairs and all too common to see. Unfortunately, most of the time, it is not an easy fix.

In the video below, in conjunction with our painting partner, Luxe Painting, we look at a job we're undertaking for our clients who have experienced paint peeling off their walls. Their previous builder didn't follow proper painting practices and unfortunately this has now become a big job to fix. Luckily, in this instance, our client has been able to claim this work under insurance.

If you have paint that's peeling off in your home, have a chat to us to discuss your situation and the options available.

Louis Gonzalez is a registered builder and certified project manager, and a director of Broadwater Builds, a Perth based building company specialising in new homes, renovations, extensions, unit developments and subdivisions.
Broadwater Builds provides free and friendly advice on all aspects of the building process. Have a chat with us today about your next building project.

Renovation projects and what they cost - Part 1 - Bathroom renovations

Renovating is a great way to add value to your home, add more livable space and modernise your home. Renovations are starting to boom in Perth and why wouldn't they? With the economic uncertainties the State has experienced in recent times, people have a tendency to minimise spending and stay in their current homes and not think about moving or building a new home; which can be a very large capital outlay. However, homes need to be renovated and refurbished as time and use causes wear and tear. Combine that with the urge to make larger living spaces, make better use of existing space, modernise the home and change the layout of the home to suit your lifestyle, and you have a recipe for a renovation!

In this series of blogs, we will discuss the types of renovation projects and what you can expect from a cost and schedule point of view as well as our tips for what to look out for.

Part 1 - Bathroom renovations

Bathroom renovations are quick and easy as well as being a great way to add value and functionality to your home. We complete many bathroom renovations for our clients and we're always amazed by the transformations. A straightforward bathroom renovation should take no longer than 2.5-3 weeks. More complex bathrooms, particularly where walls are modified or removed, will take slightly longer. The majority of bathroom renovations start from about $10,000, although very small bathrooms can cost less than this depending on the specification. Bathroom costs can begin to blow out with structural modifications, full-height wall tiles, stone benchtops and the relocation of plumbing fittings and fixtures.

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Standard bathroom renovation follow a similar sequence of activities:

  • Stripout - This is the messy, dirty and dusty side to bathroom renovations which involves removing the existing vanity unit, shower screen, plumbing fittings & fixtures, and stripping the tiles off the floor and walls. Stripping the tiles is not necessarily the easiest process and we always like to use a professional stripout contractor to do this work as the walls and floor need to left in a condition ready for the tilers to do their work. Generally the plumber will come the day before to disconnect and isolate the plumbing fittings so the stripout contractor can do their work.
  • Tube-out - The plumber comes in to 'tube-out'. This involves running piping to the new locations for your bathroom and installing mixer valves in the wall for your new wall mixers. If there is any need to modify the locations of wastes in the floor, the plumber will also complete these modifications at this time.
  • Electrical - If you are making any changes to your lights, fans or powerpoints, the electrician will attend to these changes at a similar time to the plumber and before tiling commences.
  • Tiling - This is the longest and most important part of any bathroom renovation. It's important to get a good, correction...excellent tiler, for your bathroom renovation. The tiler will screed the floor first to ensure that the floor is level enough to lay floor tiles as well as ensuring the required falls or grades to floor wastes are achieved. The tilers may also have to screed some of the walls to make them flush for wall tiles. After screeding is completed and the screeding has dried, the bathroom will be waterproofed. This is an extremely important step that ensures you don't end up with moisture or leakage issues when you begin to use your bathroom. There are many waterproofing products in the market and it is very important that the guidelines for application are adhered to. Once waterproofing has been applied, the tiler will tile the floor followed by the walls. After this, the tiles are ready for grouting following by the application of silicone to the corners of shower recesses, floors and vanities.
  • Cabinetry - Your vanity unit will generally be installed after the screeding has been completed by the tiler
  • Plumbing fitoff - Once tiling is complete, the plumber will come back to fit the plumbing fittings & fixtures and test them.
  • Bathroom accessories - You may have towel rails, toilet roll holders, shower shelves and the like that you may need to have fitted as part of your bathroom renovation. These generally get fitted once the tiling has been completed
  • Glazing - Once the wall tiles are installed the glazier will be able to measure the shower screen as well as any mirrors. Shower screens and mirrors can generally be fitted within a few business days from the time they are measured. The glazing is generally the last item for a bathroom renovation. Once this is complete, a final clean and polish of the bathroom is all you need and you're ready to use it!

Are you keen to renovate your bathroom? Have a chat with us today at Broadwater Builds and we can provide you with a proposal for your renovation. Our proposals are highly detailed showing you exactly what we've allowed for. Have a browse through our website to view just some of the products available for your renovation together with links to our supplier websites.

Louis Gonzalez is a registered builder and certified project manager, and a director of Broadwater Builds, a Perth based building company specialising in new homes, renovations, extensions, unit developments and subdivisions.
Broadwater Builds provides free and friendly advice on all aspects of the building process. Have a chat with us today about your next building project.

We're proud to be building this special needs home!

This month we commenced works on a purpose-designed four bedroom home to accommodate people with special needs in Lynwood. 

This project has to date involved the demolition of an existing house to make way for the purpose-designed home that will cater for up to four people with special needs. Very soon, the slab will be poured and we will be well on our way with construction.

Director and registered builder of Broadwater Builds, Louis Gonzalez, said, "When Broadwater Builds was initially engaged, we were very excited at the opportunity of working with our client to build this innovative home for them. We believe this home is a great idea and will hopefully inspire many others to look at different ways of providing housing for people with special needs."

"Our versatility as a building company combined with our experience with commercial buildings, where accessibility requirements for special needs people is paramount, allows us to undertake such unique projects for our clients," says Nathan Dreibergs, Director at Broadwater Builds.

Completion of the home is expected by October 2018 and we look forward to opening a champagne bottle or two at that time!

Louis Gonzalez is a registered builder and certified project manager, and a director of Broadwater Builds, a Perth based building company specialising in custom homes, renovations, extensions and unit developments.
Broadwater Builds provides free and friendly advice on all aspects of the building process. Have a chat to us today about any building related queries you may have.

6 Tips to Compare Building Quotes and Choose the Right Builder!

If you have plans for your proposed building project and are seeking quotations from a number of builders, here are a few tips for you to compare their quotes and ensure you end up choosing the right builder for you and your project.

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Tip 1 – Ensure all the builders work off the same scope, specifications and drawings

Every builder provides quotations in their own format, estimates differently and allows for different inclusions. To be able to fairly compare quotations from your builders, they need to be provided the same scope, specifications and drawings. Even then you will receive quotations which are different to each other in relation to what has been allowed for. As such, you will need to compare the details provided by each builder.

At Broadwater Builds, we provide our clients with our own detailed scope to show our understanding of the client’s requirements for their project. This provides our clients with complete transparency of what we have allowed for in the base price versus what we may have excluded or provided as optional upgrades.


Tip 2 - Go out to 3-5 builders for a quotation

Going out to 3-5 builders is a good idea. Three quotations usually gives you sufficient competition and confidence that you are obtaining value for money for your building project. With 4-5 builders you will get 2-3 builders who should be providing similar prices and 1-2 builders who we call outliers; they are either significantly cheaper or significantly more expensive than the others. Going out to more than 5 builders can be time consuming and cost you lots of time in doing your comparisons. When getting quotations from builders, it is also a good idea to let them know they are competing against other builders. Also ask them to fully itemise their quotes.


Tip 3 – It’s in the detail!

When you receive your quotations, check immediately whether the builders have provided detail. If you receive a brief one pager back from any them with a single figure, be very careful. We suggest going back to the builder and requesting further detail and asking them to itemise their quotation preferably by trade or discipline. Without this detail you will find it extremely difficult to fairly compare between your builders.

When you obtain a quotation from Broadwater Builds, we provide you a detailed breakdown by discipline (e.g. concreting, bricklaying, structural steel, etc.), provisional sums, prime costs and our progress claim payments. Along with our pricing, you get our scope document. With this documentation you have everything you need to make your decision and compare against other builders.


Tip 4 - Don’t compare apples with oranges!

Make sure you do detailed comparison of the quotes from your builders. Check that they have allowed for everything as per your brief, specifications and drawings. Every builder will quote differently and allow for different items in their base price. Find out what the differences are between each builder’s quotes and do the work to ‘normalise’ them. Normalising means you will be able to compare apples with apples. For example, if one builder has left out painting in their quotation, it’s a good idea to ask them for a price for painting so you can add this to their base price to normalise against the other builders who did allow for it.

Note that if one builder quotes much lower than the others, make sure you understand why this is the case. Most of the time it can usually mean they have left out a number of items from their quote or underspecified certain items. It is quite rare that the builder who is cheapest by a large margin is delivering everything you have asked for and at the standard that you expect.

Conversely, if a builder comes in much higher than the rest, it can mean a number of things. They may well have priced in everything that you have asked for (and possibly more), they may have more expensive trades/suppliers, they may have a larger margin and/or they have priced in more contingency into their price. It could also mean they are quite busy or not interested in the job. Regardless, it is still worth investigating why they are higher before you dismiss their quote.

Our advice is to thoroughly compare quotations and don’t be shy to ask questions from your builders regarding their quotations. Be wary of the builders who cannot satisfactorily answer your questions or who are vague regarding their inclusions.

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Tip 5 – Building prices can vary greatly with specifications

Builders’ quotations can vary greatly due to the specification they have allowed for. For example, there is a big cost difference between a framed shower screen versus a frameless shower screen. But it is easy to overlook this difference in wording when comparing quotes. Differences like these can add up between a builder who has priced for everything you have asked for versus another builder who has priced for similar items, but underspecified certain items to make their quotation appear cheaper.

Again, you need to do your homework and spend time comparing apples with apples and interrogating the quotations you receive. You also need to be clear with your builders about what finishes and products you are after for your building project.


Tip 6 – Check the Provisional Sum items

A provisional sum is an allowance made by a builder for a particular item that is difficult to quote on or cannot be accurately quoted for at the time. For example, site works for a difficult, steep block could be quoted as a provisional sum by most builders. A provisional sum could also be allowed for a kitchen where there are few details at the time of quoting for the design and finish of the kitchen. They can also be used for plumbing fittings and fixtures when no selections have yet been made by the client.

Watch out for budget-level selections in provisional sums allowed for by builders which will make their quote appear cheaper. If you are after quality finishes and products, make sure you understand from the builder what products and finishes they have allowed for in their provisional sum. Ask for their deluxe range as well and the associated cost with these so you can compare. Watch out for low prices in provisional sums; you can end up paying a lot more in the long run.

A quotation with many provisional sum items should also ring alarm bells. Whilst provisional sums are unavoidable sometimes, particularly when final selections on finishes and products are yet to be made by the client, the presence of several of these in a quotation can potentially mean that the builder has not sufficiently taken the time to obtain a fixed price for these items and is placing the risk of any cost blowouts with the client.

Broadwater Builds aims to minimise provisional sums wherever possible by taking the time to scope up and provide fixed prices. Whilst this is not always possible, we provide full transparency to our provisional sum allowances.



Your key takeaway from this should be to take the time to compare each builder’s quotation thoroughly. Comparing the price alone at the bottom of their quotation and making your decision solely on this will likely be a mistake. Ensure each builder is allowing for the same scope and specification. Only then will you be confident that you are comparing apples with apples.

We have seen time and time again clients choosing the cheapest builder, and often a builder who was significantly cheaper, only to realise that they ended up paying a lot more, the builder cut corners and sacrificed workmanship, or their expectations were not met. Choosing a very cheap builder can also lead to even bigger heartaches such as the builder going bust during construction, leaving the client with a half finished product. Underquoting happens often in the industry and while you think you may be getting a bargain or a good deal, the risk is sometimes not worth it.

Broadwater Builds have sometimes been the cheapest while at other times we have not. What we stand by each and every time is full transparency to what we have allowed for in our pricing together with a thorough and detailed quotation each and every time for our clients. You know what you are getting when we provide you a quotation.

Lastly, and very importantly, don’t just rely on cost for your decision. What else are you after in your builder? What about good communication? Transparency? Competency and experience? How long will they take to construct your new home or renovation? What about references and testimonials? You also need to take these factors and others into account when choosing a builder.

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Louis Gonzalez is a registered builder and certified project manager, and a director of Broadwater Builds, a Perth based building company specialising in custom homes, renovations and unit developments.
Broadwater Builds provides free and friendly advice on all aspects of the building process. Feel free to speak to us today about any building related queries you may have.

Building a new home – custom design versus off-the-plan design

Deciding to build a new home is an exciting point in your life. As part of deciding to build, a key decision you need to make is whether you will develop your own custom design through a designer, or whether you will seek an off-the-plan design from a builder’s range of home designs. Here we provide a short discussion on the advantages, disadvantages and pitfalls associated with this important decision.

 custom home design


Off-the-plan home designs

Off-the-plan home designs are those designs that you see in the newspaper or on a builder’s website. These designs are not custom, although they can be customised when you engage with the builder. These types of home designs are generally useful when you don’t wish to make too many modifications and you are generally satisfied with the design. However, making too many changes to these house designs begins to increase the builder’s price very quickly. Off-the-plan designs can also be useful if you want to begin building quickly without designing a new home from scratch.

The biggest disadvantage with these off-the-plan designs is that they belong to the builder who designed them and so whilst you can ask another builder to price based on that design, since copyright to the plans belongs to the first builder, no one else will be able to legally build the home for you as this will infringe on copyright. The business model revolves around signing up clients early and locking them into a contract based on the design they have chosen.

Once locked into a building contract you obviously lose some leverage, unable to obtain competitive pricing from other builders and also once you begin to make changes here and there, you may see the cost of building your home increase very quickly. We have heard many a story from our clients about how the price of their home skyrocketed due to changes beyond their expectations when they started to make changes to the home design.

When considering an off-the-plan design, make sure you understand exactly what is included in the building price, try and make any changes you want to the design before signing a contract and see what impact this has to your budget. Do extensive research with other builders as well to see how prices compare.


Custom home designs

Some people associate ‘custom’ with more expensive, but this is not generally true. A custom design allows you to be the master of your destiny so to speak. You control the design process and you get to tender out the design to a number of builders to seek the best value for money. You can do this as you have not locked yourself into the one builder from day one. A custom designed house also suits those people who have specific needs and wants.

Unlike an off-the-plan design, you are able to work closely and collaboratively with your chosen designer to develop a home design that suits your lifestyle and needs. If you make the decision of developing a custom design and controlling the design documentation, it is important that you choose the right designer. Enquire as to how much experience they have designing homes, which builders they have worked with before and get them to show you examples of their work.

 custom home design

You do need to pay for your design before signing up to a building contract. Whilst this might seem like you will be paying more in the long run, it is important to note that you will get better value for money as you get a design that meets your needs exactly and you are able to competitively tender out your design to builders whereby you will get a very competitive price for building your home. Furthermore, builders with off-the-plan designs carry the cost of their designs in their overheads anyway, so you will still be paying for design work somewhere along the line. Design costs vary according to the size and complexity of the home you are designing and designers have different models for charging, so shop around.

Designing a custom home also won’t take too long. If you choose a competent designer, it can take as little as a couple of weeks to develop floor plans and elevations of your home and then submit for planning approval to your local council shortly thereafter. This timeframe obviously depends on how many changes you make and the back and forth between you and your designer.

Many people are put off by the ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses and the seemingly daunting task of managing the design of your home, but if you choose the right designer you will be in capable hands. Furthermore, with a custom home design you will end up with a superior home design and by tendering the design out to a number of builders, you will be confident that you have obtained the best value for money to build your home instead of locking yourself into to the one builder from day one.

Louis Gonzalez is a registered builder and certified project manager, and a director of Broadwater Builds, a Perth based building company specialising in custom homes, renovations and residential developments.
Broadwater Builds provides free and friendly advice on all aspects of the building process. Feel free to speak to us today about any building related queries you may have.


Fixed-Price versus Cost-Plus Building Contracts

Fixed-Price versus Cost-Plus Building Contracts

Before you begin engaging a builder for your new home or other building project, it is important to reflect on what pricing strategy you want to proceed with.

Fixed-price contracts, the norm in Australia, enable you and your builder to agree to a contract sum which is fixed and only subject to approved variations under the contract.

The alternative is cost-plus contracts which allow for payment for the actual cost of building in addition to a fee as agreed with your builder for their overhead, management and profit. This fee can either be a percentage of total costs or a flat fee.

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