Queensland Heritage Restoration director Shane Earle gives Ipswich First his top tips if you are thinking about renovating an older home.

Anyone who has had a go at DIY renovations knows, it always seems like a good idea at the time – usually right after watching a series of House Rules, The Block or Selling Houses Australia.

Then things get awry, after you’ve uncovered a set of costly problems.

Shane Earle recently won the National Trust Queensland silver award for conservation works his company completed on the Garth House Remnant Fence.

Mr Earle is an Ipswich builder and whether your house is heritage, post war, colonial or somewhere in between, Mr Earle says there are a few things you should do first that will save you time and money in the long run.

The very first step – talk to a builder

I think a builder should be your first port of call before you engage an architect or designer. During your preliminary meeting, it is important to discuss your prospective project and budget constraints. That way designers don’t draw something that is unaffordable.

A builder can also have some input as to the design itself.

The second thing is to establish a budget

Get an understanding of what you would like to spend, then balance that against what is needed to achieve your design goals. By talking with the builder you can get a better perspective on what can be considered as a value add rather than feeling it’s an overspend.

Then create a design with a view to meet the budget

When creating your design you need to balance between your vision and what can be provided for your considered budget. Discuss your perspective project and budget constraints that way the end design will also be in budget.

Be realistic with what you expect out of your budget.

Decide DIY or Professional?

Even if you decide to DIY, it is still a good idea to talk to a professional to see what you can do.  While there may be a number of things you feel confident doing yourself, there are regulations which need to be considered. For example a qualified electrician must do all electrical work in Australia. There are also limitation on DIY plumbing work.

Is your property in a heritage listed or character zone?

There can be confusion over whether a property is heritage listed or simply in a character zone. Ipswich City Council has a vast amount of character zones in Ipswich and this is a good thing. Zoning provides a set of guidelines regarding visual impact a property has on a street scape, we are lucky to have such guidelines retaining the character of our city. A heritage listed property is one that is placed on the state register to be protected for future generations.

Owning or considering owing a heritage listed property is not as complicated as most would think. Builders experienced in Heritage, which there are a number in Ipswich, are versed in communicating the desires of owners to the relevant state departments and advisors.

Ipswich first is always Under renovation