New Build Upgrades: What to do now, what to do later?

Discussion in 'Renovation & Home Improvement' started by JenQld19, 22nd Feb, 2020.

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  1. JenQld19

    JenQld19 Member

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    We’re building a large multi generational single story home (essentially a 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 living room home with a seperate fully self contained 1 bedroom, granny flat under the same roof). We’re building in Townsville North QLD (think hot, humid tropical). The granny flat is for my mother in law and this is our planned forever home. We have a young growing family with a baby, the kitchen is the most important room to us but also the most expensive. We are already at the top of our budget and are shrinking the shed from a 3 bay to a 2 bay to be able to afford some of these. We can’t afford every extra on this list. What is best/worth to add now, what is cheap and easy to upgrade later?

    Upgrades we are considering:
    - Upgrade ceiling bats from R2.5 to Bradford Gold R7.0 or R5.0 (still waiting on cost).
    - An additional $5318 on electrical (this is for dimmable down lights, shed lighting, external lighting, additional powerpoints, TV and data points upgraded exhaust fan in a large bathroom and under cabinet lighting in kitchen.
    - An additional $2324 to upgrade tapware/fixtures not including vanities in all bathrooms (we might be able to save a little if we upgrade the house only and not granny flat).
    - Study Nook $3411
    - Laundry Cabinets $1270
    - Wardrobe Drawers $1512
    - Waterfall edge on kitchen $808
    - Built in shelving at the end of the bath $500
    - Upgrade to Vinyl Planking $890 (from tiles but we hate tiles)
    - Carpet $200 per L/M (Up from originally quoted $150 in original contract) = $1318
    - Upgrade kitchen 2 pac cabinet instead of laminate $4224
    -6.6kw Solar ($5.5k for cheaper quality or $8.9k for LG and more expensive quality).
    -Upgrade ceiling fans from metal 3 blade basic to better quality better airflow DC approx $250-$300 per fan (bedroom fans are much cheaper than Large living room and external fans).

    What would you include? What would you forget or do later? Any suggestions for quality inclusions we haven’t considered?
     
  2. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    The more important question is what you think you can live without.

    For me - if I really needed to save - it would be:
    1. Upgraded tapware
    2. Leave the solar until later.
    3. Fan upgrade (are you sure it’s better air flow and will it really make a difference? Wooden blades are generally quieter though - DC is just a bit more electrically efficient.
    4. Kitchen 2pac upgrade
    5. Under cabinet lighting in kitchen


    With some of your items there isn’t enough info provided to advise (for example, is laundry cabinets a door upgrade or the choice between cabinets and no cabinets?).

    In terms of ceiling insulation it depends - have a look at the online ‘your home technical guide | YourHome that details the best type of insulation for different climate zones. This is not a ‘one size fits all’. You have to balance retaining coolness with excluding heat and allowing the house to cool down naturally when possible.

    Re. Ceiling batts:
    The NCC specifies at least R 4.1 for ceilings in your climate, I believe. Why is only R2.5 being offered as standard?

    The your home technical guide | YourHome gives very specific advice for this.
     
    Last edited: 22nd Feb, 2020
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  3. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Just my thoughts on initial reading (in red under your dot points)...

    It is a tricky road. We've had to compromise on many things in our development.
     
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  4. Heinz57

    Heinz57 Well-Known Member

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    We built 2 years ago (subtropics). Got the best insulation and also solar.

    this week it’s in the 30s and we haven’t used our aircon, and our power bill will be pennies. So that was our best investment. If you put the power bill in your mother in law’s name you will probably get senior discount and the power company will pay you.
     
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  5. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    This is a PPOR, so expenditure should focus on what can’t be easily added or updated later on as funds allow. You can update cupboards, but you can’t easily add extra space to the floor plan. In Townsville, good insulation is essential and better solar worth the extra.

    In our first house (1970s) we focussed on floor space. We lived on bare concrete floors (cool in summer!) until we could afford carpet.

    If you can’t afford what you want, go cheap and cheerful (taps, fans etc) knowing you will replace them in a few years.
     
  6. JenQld19

    JenQld19 Member

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    Thanks for the input. The price for laundry cabinets and study nook are for building and install, if we don’t go with these there will be no laundry cupboards or study nook.

    If R4.5 insulation is best for Townsville am I wasting my time on paying extra for R7 or R5? I just thought that the higher rating insulation the better the insulation will be? Or is there a specific rating for your area and you shouldn’t really go above that?

    We definitely have invested in floor space, which was our priority but also why we need to compromise now because of our budget.

    General thoughts on Solar.. Add now for savings on electricity or add later and spend elsewhere in home?
     
  7. Hebro

    Hebro Well-Known Member

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    Have you locked in a builder?
     
  8. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Keep the solar, consider batteries as well.


    What are you insulating? Walls, ceilings, slab, sarking & insulation blanket to roof?

    Are you double glazing to reduce heat gain through the windows?

    • Ditch the dimmable lights
    • Shed lighting - get the sparky to run cable and switchboard with dgpo to the shed. You can install the lights later.
    • Data points - can you achieve this by using a wireless router etc? Likewise for your phone system.
    Tapware/fixtures - stick with the basics

    Ceiling fans, we purchased fans with PVC blades (very quiet), remotes and LED lights for about $200 each. We run them 24/7. You can always upgrade if they're wired for fans.
     
  9. Westminster

    Westminster Tigress at Tiger Developments Business Member

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    Upgrades we are considering:
    - Upgrade ceiling bats from R2.5 to Bradford Gold R7.0 or R5.0 (still waiting on cost).

    Me: all the insulation in the world is no use against windows/glass and walls which aren't insulated. I would go R5.0 as a minimum but make sure your walls are insulated appropriately, your windows are well shaded and on appropriate orientation, consider low E glass like Viridian Smartglass or other performance glass for insulating properties SmartGlass™ – Where Comfort & Natural Light Begins
    - An additional $5318 on electrical (this is for dimmable down lights, shed lighting, external lighting, additional powerpoints, TV and data points upgraded exhaust fan in a large bathroom and under cabinet lighting in kitchen.
    Me: pick the stuff you can't add later like additional power point but consider leaving connection points for additional lighting/fans. I have 5 holes in my ceilings for feature lights to be installed later but the wiring is all there. With wireless becoming more the norm getting data points may longer be needed. I feel that under cabinet lighting is probably something that is a want, not a need so I'd take that off.
    - An additional $2324 to upgrade tapware/fixtures not including vanities in all bathrooms (we might be able to save a little if we upgrade the house only and not granny flat).
    Me: this is very much a personal choice and it's your PPOR. Check and see what the credit is if you go and buy the tapware of your choice and they just install it. Note that if you supply goods for your builder to install it won't be covered under their insurance. Also find out if there are other suppliers if they are sending you somewhere like Reece as they are expensive but not any better than many other more economical outlets.
    - Study Nook $3411
    Me: if this is just cabinetry (ie built in desk/shelves) I would forgo this for now and install later
    - Laundry Cabinets $1270
    Me: I would do this now
    - Wardrobe Drawers $1512
    Me: easy to do down the track
    - Waterfall edge on kitchen $808
    Me: do this now
    - Built in shelving at the end of the bath $500
    Me: is this a niche? It's something that you probably can't do later so if you want it, then do now
    - Upgrade to Vinyl Planking $890 (from tiles but we hate tiles)
    Me: I'm surprised that vinyl is more than your tiling allowance. In my experience it has always been a credit. You could find out how much the credit is on this and get it done supply and install for around $65-70 per sqm after handover. My go to brand is http://www.prolinefloors.com.au/rigid-plank-flooring/
    - Carpet $200 per L/M (Up from originally quoted $150 in original contract) = $1318
    Me: I pay around $35-40 psqm for pretty good carpet and a lineal metre is about 4m wide from recollection so I'd be surprised if you can't find something you like in the $150 range
    - Upgrade kitchen 2 pac cabinet instead of laminate $4224
    Me: I would ditch this. Laminate is no longer the poor mans choice and is accepted even in high end homes.
    -6.6kw Solar ($5.5k for cheaper quality or $8.9k for LG and more expensive quality).
    Me: I would probably do it now or during construction as the wiring, capacity planning and phases all need to be sorted at the same time.
    -Upgrade ceiling fans from metal 3 blade basic to better quality better airflow DC approx $250-$300 per fan (bedroom fans are much cheaper than Large living room and external fans).
    Me: you could just have the connections put in and install later but considering your location I would install now. My go to fan might be cheaper though - the Ventair Spyda is a good looking DC fan which is quite affordable AND it can be used internally and externally Spyda Ceiling Fan - Ventair

    What would you include? What would you forget or do later? Any suggestions for quality inclusions we haven’t considered?
     
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  10. shorty

    shorty Well-Known Member

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    - Upgrade ceiling bats from R2.5 to Bradford Gold R7.0 or R5.0 (still waiting on cost).

    Go r7. Insulation is cheap and will save you heaps.

    - An additional $5318 on electrical (this is for dimmable down lights, shed lighting, external lighting, additional powerpoints, TV and data points upgraded exhaust fan in a large bathroom and under cabinet lighting in kitchen.

    Definitely go for cat6 network points. Wifi is becoming common but that means more wifi interference and slower speeds. Also, get about 17 power points in your garage. You'll thank me later. Or at least 1 double on each wall.

    - An additional $2324 to upgrade tapware/fixtures not including vanities in all bathrooms (we might be able to save a little if we upgrade the house only and not granny flat).

    Id probably do that.

    - Study Nook $3411

    I'd pass, personally. But that's because I want a whole room for a study, not a nook.

    - Laundry Cabinets $1270

    Necessary

    - Wardrobe Drawers $1512

    Very necessary. Try to get soft close. Most wardrobe drawers are rubbish. Alternatively, check out ikea, they have really good wardrobe stuff.

    - Waterfall edge on kitchen $808

    What style is the house? Are your benches 20mm or 40mm thick? Personally in a modern house I prefer 20mm with no waterfall, looks cleaner.

    - Built in shelving at the end of the bath $500

    I'd preference nice big shower niches over bath shelving

    - Upgrade to Vinyl Planking $890 (from tiles but we hate tiles)

    Can't see how vinyl plank can possibly be an upgrade over tiles. Have you considered floating wood floor? Have this in our place and it's fine.

    - Carpet $200 per L/M (Up from originally quoted $150 in original contract) = $1318

    Expensive. Think you can negotiate this down a bit

    - Upgrade kitchen 2 pac cabinet instead of laminate $4224

    Laminate is better, lass longer and is easier to clean.

    -6.6kw Solar ($5.5k for cheaper quality or $8.9k for LG and more expensive quality).

    Go solar. Don't bother with LG. Cheaper panels like trina, etc are fine. Sungrow inverters are fine. Get the system specs to compare.

    -Upgrade ceiling fans from metal 3 blade basic to better quality better airflow DC approx $250-$300 per fan (bedroom fans are much cheaper than Large living room and external fans).

    No idea about this.
     
  11. JenQld19

    JenQld19 Member

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    So upgrade as in additional TV/Data points in the house.

    The included credit for bathroom fittings is $2201. There are 3 full bathrooms in the house. The included tapware is basic and not to our taste but it does come with a 15 year warranty.

    The built in shelves at the end of the bath are for storage, kids toys candles etc as the bath is freestanding. Not a necessity but It’s tiled so not easily done later.

    Study Nook - This is cabinets and drawers and a built in desk for the study nook. No IKEA up here unfortunately ☹️.
     
  12. JenQld19

    JenQld19 Member

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    They said that Vinyl is more expensive because they have to finish the concrete in a different way that will accept the vinyl. Does this sound right in your experience?

    The tapware budget is $2201 but with 3 bathrooms this adds up. The included range is pretty basic looking but it does come with a 15 year warranty. The tapware is through a local supplier not Reece thank god because we’d never afford that.

    I had a look at the fans you recommended they look like they could work and seem better quality than the included fans.

    I’m going to go back to carpet court (they’re supplier). We did ask to be shown things included in the builders budget but once we picked the price went from $15 L/M to $200 so I’m not sure what happened there.

    The study nook is for a built in desk cabinet and drawer.

    I think you’ve got some pretty good ideas.
     
  13. JenQld19

    JenQld19 Member

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    Cat 6 Data Points? I’m not sure what Cat Cabling they are using it’s not included in the quote just says TV/Data Point.

    The kitchen will be 20mm bench tops because anything thicker is $1000’s more...we’ve been told ☹️.

    We have put powerpoints everywhere as it’s a real big bear in our current home.

    I think you could be right about the solar. I’m researching and comparing and it seems LG are a lot more expensive for not much or any extras over the cheaper system.
     
  14. Heinz57

    Heinz57 Well-Known Member

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    When we built we were working full time and left everything to our excellent builder. He did warn us that his mark up was 20% and we would save a fortune by sourcing items ourselves. (Short of time and expertise we preferred to work at what we were good at to pay for it.)

    So maybe carpet, shelving etc is something you could deduct from the build price and manage yourselves?
     
  15. Heinz57

    Heinz57 Well-Known Member

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    And IKEA deliver to Townsville but I bet it isn’t cheap. Maybe get onto the website and have a look
     
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  16. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Have you selected a 100% wool carpet over the builder's allowance of solution dyed nylon?
     
  17. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Are the "shelves" actually niches within the tiled wall? If so, I'd get those done now. Or leave a gap between bath and wall so that down the track when there aren't toys to be stored you could put something else there. We have such a gap at the end of our freestanding bath and I use it for the scales but equally could place a tall narrow laundry basket there (our laundry basket is in a cupboard pushed into the wall though).

    I'd not pay for built-ins for the study nook if you cannot afford it, and it doesn't have to be Ikea. Plenty of cheap desks around to choose from, even on FB Marketplace.

    If you have a Bunnings, take a look for tap ware, or look online. There are cheap and nasty looking taps, mid range but good looking taps and expensive taps. Maybe find something cheaper that is more to your taste.

    And I like the idea of you looking after the carpeting yourself. That takes pressure of you to choose now and you can find end of range, end of roll, whatever suits.
     
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  18. Westminster

    Westminster Tigress at Tiger Developments Business Member

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    Well they do have to make sure the concrete is flat but that's about it. It's become a poor workmanship habit of builders/concretors allowing concrete slab to be as level as the stormy seas. All slabs "should" be capable in my opinion

    If you are going with a plank instead of looselay they are a little less fussy but both really should be laid on nice flat concrete
     
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  19. Trainee

    Trainee Well-Known Member

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    But its a desk with a shelf or two right. As long as the corner space is there, cant imagine you cant find a small desk later to put there. Also consider that a built in desk cant be moved. A normal desk can easily be moved and a beanbag or lazyboy put in to make a reading corner say.

    With technology these days cabinets might turn out to be less used. Thinking of those built in tv cabinets or built in radio and speakers from the 90.

    you would want to spend money to put some powerpoints there though.
     
    Last edited: 22nd Feb, 2020
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  20. shorty

    shorty Well-Known Member

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    Some cheapie sparkies might use cat5e. Check with the builder. What about NBN? Figure out where the central point where your data points will terminate, and make sure the builder runs conduit (with drawstring) from the building edge to the central point so you can have all your network stuff together.
     
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