How to avoid renovation cost blow outs

We’ve all heard the stories about a renovation that was expected to cost this much, and ended up costing significantly higher than the budget. 

So how do you prevent this happening to you and what is the best way to avoid costly add-ons to a renovation project, while still getting all the things you want?

Wellington building and renovation company Lockhart Construction owner Stan Leenders says it’s a flawed planning and pricing process that usually causes projects to escalate in cost. “It happens when people do the planning steps in the wrong order.”

Often homeowners get plans drawn up and seek resource consents, costing several thousand dollars, before approaching a builder to price the job. “They have already started spending money before they know that their renovation or alterations are realistic for their budget,” he says.

This can also leave the project open to applying for resource consents that might not be necessary, and add-ons by architects and drafts people. “Surprise additional costs are stressful and not a good experience for homeowners.” 

That’s why Lockhart Construction has devised a pre-concept renovation estimate process which gives customers an accurate costing at the outset.

With the Lockhart process you get a realistic cost for the job before investing in plans and consents. “We find this gives our clients peace of mind from the beginning because they are getting genuine pricing and avoid the stress of costly add-ons later.”

How does the Lockhart pre-concept estimate process work?

We meet with you onsite to discuss your plans, listen to your budget expectations and then provide an accurate estimate for the job. Because we’re working on construction jobs every day, we know the actual labour and materials costs.

As build project manager our job during the build is to ensure the project keeps true to your budget and cost expectations.

What if there are additions during the job?

Additions and variations are inevitable on larger and more complex renovations in particular. To avoid surprise costs, we agree any variation costs with clients prior to the job starting. 


Why go to a builder first for a cost estimate?

We are the experts at pricing renovations. Having an accurate builder’s estimate before progressing the project is the best recipe for success. It gives homeowners confidence that their job with us will stay within budget while being completed and managed to the highest standard.