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Apr 20, 2017

Renovate or Detonate? Home Improvement vs Demolition.

Apr 20, 2017

Renovate or Detonate? This is a question that we are often asked this by home owners when confronted with an older home needing some TLC.


As a professional renovation Building business, people assume that we will automatically recommend renovation.  While this does hold true for many homes with heritage and elements of character, it is not always an automatic answer.


Consider our top 5 factors to consider when making the decision to renovate or detonate.


1 – Consider the area that you live in

Top storey addition to character home with matching gables

If you are in an area rich in character and history, do you really want to strip that away? Consider Perth inner suburbs such as Mount Lawley, Mount Hawthorn, Wembley, North Perth and some parts of Nedlands and Claremont for example. These are beautiful neighbourhoods, rich in history, character and charm. The home owners that have renovated their character homes in these suburbs, have contributed to their heritage streetscape, and continue to add to the charm of these areas.


Keeping a home in the character of the area will almost always pay off in the long term. Future home buyers into the area will be looking there because they love the character and charm. In contrast, if you decide to demolish and build new, you will find that your new home will most likely appear dated in 10-15 years.

tuscan home no eaves

In addition, it is likely that in 10-15 years that the new home will be ready or renovations, and will future home buyer want to spend money renovating character or a dated home (think about how quick the Tuscan trend lasted in the 80’s – on a side note, these homes also perform very badly on energy assessments as they are not built to suit our climate)? The answer is that the character home will win out every time. Classic character never goes out of style and will maintain the future appeal of your home and is an investment in your future.


On the other hand, if you are in a run-down area that is in the process of being revitalised with demolitions, subdivisions and new builds, then perhaps a new build is a better option. Areas such as Innaloo, Embleton and Morley are examples of suburbs where demolition and building new is a probably a better option.

Still not sure? Talk to a local real estate agent and get their opinion.


2 – Factor in Renting costs when building new

Australian money

When you demolish and build new, you will have the problem of where to stay while construction takes place. This usually means locating a rental property and may also mean paying for storage of household furniture of items. This type of expense that can add up over time and needs to be factored in when you are crunching the numbers.


In most cases, you will be able to live in the home while renovation takes place. Yes, there will be some inconvenience involved, but there is a considerable cost saving to be had, and if budget is a consideration this cannot be ignored as a major saving. Consider a 6 month build at $450 per week in rent, already you are over $10k before you have even estimated storage costs.


3 – Council Considerations and Heritage Precincts

In some Perth areas such as some streets within the City of Stirling, heritage protection zones will be in place. If you are in one of these streets, then renovation is a no-brainer, as the council will simply not approve demolition. Hefty fines apply for those that flout the by-laws.

AFTER 14 WAUGH ST (2) p2

In suburbs that are not heritage protected, restrictions may still apply. For example, a local council may decline to approve a full demolition if it thinks it is detrimental to the streetscape. In addition, there are often restrictions about how visible a top storey addition is allowed to be from the street when adding on to a character home. This also applies to building new, where a council will assess how imposing a the home will be on the streetscape. Again the councils are protecting the heritage streetscape.


We strongly recommend talking to your council while still in the early planning stages – or ensure that your designer does – before drawing up your plans, and ensure that you know the constraints that may apply to your street and home.


4- Comparing Renovation Costs against a New Build

A well planned building project should be fully costed in advance. This applies to both a new build and to a renovation project. The true cost of each project may include items that are not apparent at the outset.  These may include items such as renting, storage, and any tasks that are not included such as painting or landscaping which will cost you money at some point.


How do you know what a renovation will cost? The first step is to engage the professional services of a designer to plan your project. Then get a renovation specialist Builder to provide a fixed price cost* for the entire project.


Tired of painting

*Bear in mind that if you choose to build the renovation yourself, that you may not be able to achieve it for the same fixed price as a Builder that has access to trade rates.


Once you are armed with those figures, you should be able to compare a new build with the renovation. Costing a major renovation project for you to perform yourselves as an Owner/Builder is altogether a trickier proposition.


Be very careful and please avoid the awful trap that some home renovators fall into, whereby they decide to do the renovation themselves and run out of money half-way. They then end up living with a half finished house for many years, and never really get the enjoyment out of their home that they envisaged.


5- Renovation or new Build: the future Capital Gain of your home

Top storey addition with open plan living on ground level

Some time in the future – as unlikely as it may seem now – you will arrive at a point in your life when it is time to sell your home.  Hopefully after crafting the home that you love, you get to enjoy it for many years before you sell. It can be very difficult to estimate what your home may be worth in the future, however a good real estate agent should be able to compare a renovated home versus a new home and compare number of rooms, number of square metres, etc…


If you do ask for a professional  real estate agent to assist, ask them to also consider the value of a character home over a new home.

These homes decided to renovate instead of detonate!

What are people saying about us?


If you would like more information about any of our services contact us today

t:(08) 9227 1822   e:info@amerex.com.au

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A member of the Amerex team will arrange a time to discuss your
home renovation project and assess what stage you are at in the building process.

PO Box 115, Osborne Park WA 6917
ABN: 67 009 252 680   Builders Registration: 10250


1/171-173 Main St, Osborne Park WA 6017

PO Box 115, Osborne Park WA 6917

t: (08) 9227 1822
e: info@amerex.com.au

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Google Reviews

Amerex Renovations and Additions
Based on 17 reviews
powered by Google
Graham Crooke
Graham Crooke
07:24 06 Jun 20
I can't say enough good things about this company! Everyone on the team was extremely professional, but also friendly and easy to deal with. Communication by them was first rate. We gave them approved architect plans for addition to our home and they quickly responded with a well-thought-through bid that was very competitive in price. As soon as we agreed on the contract, they were very quick to get started, and then built exactly what was in the plan, making only a couple of (clearly communicated) changes to increase strength and reduce cost. Subcontractors showed up when promised and were very friendly, as well as tidy with their work, cleaning up at the end of each day and doing a general cleanup at the end of the week (we lived in the rest of the house during construction). The work was completed a very high standard. They also helped with some other repairs around the house (like fixing a gutter that flowed down a wall rather than the down-pipe). The project was completed on time and on budget. They are very nice people and were a pleasure to work with. I recommend them highly and would definitely hire them again!
Garth Mason
Garth Mason
12:29 03 Feb 20
We can recommend Amerex without hesitation. Steve Burke & his team really do produce renovations of the highest quality and standard. Their many Master Builder and HIA awards demonstrate this and look at any of their online case studies and you'll see why Amerex have such an A+ reputation. We contracted Amerex to design, manage and build our character home renovation and 2 storey addition. It was, in Steve's words, "a big job" and took 14 months from demolition to completion. What sets Steve apart is his attention to detail and his integrity, and that of his contractors and staff. Whatever you have signed on for is what Amerex will take great pride in delivering. And even post-build, the customer service is still outstanding. We couldn't be happier with the end result. - Garth & Shelley Mason
Natasha Sealey
Natasha Sealey
13:23 28 Jan 20
We are really happy with the quality of the work done by Amerex. Everyone comments on how fantastic our place looks and how seamlessly the renovations integrate with the existing house. They have a great team who go above and beyond and are lovely to work with. We may even renovate again one day.... :)
Karen Simpson
Karen Simpson
14:32 07 Jan 20
Amerex recently completed a renovation/extension for my parents and the experience was positive from start to finish. We initially discussed the brief with a number of builders and decided to sign up with Amerex as we felt we could trust Steve and his team. It was absolutely the right decision. Steve insisted on good 'old fashioned' service, honesty, integrity, quality products and exceptional craftsmanship from all involved including Amerex team members, designers, tradespeople and suppliers. Everyone was polite, punctual and respectful of the neighbours. As the build progressed, Amerex's reputation became evident. Suppliers, tradies and designers all spoke highly of Steve and commented on the exceptional quality of his renovations and extensions. This was reassuring. Members of the Amerex team were outstanding from the outset. They all went above and beyond what was expected to address any concerns we had, to initiate changes when required and to ensure that the build was on time and on budget. Post completion customer service has also been exemplary. Nothing was ever too much trouble and Kelly's ongoing coordination and responses continued to be prompt and friendly. Mum and Dad love their 'new' home and couldn't be happier with the end result. The old and new sections of the house blend seamlessly and they are continually receiving comments from neighbours, family and friends about how beautiful the house has become. We can recommend Amerex without hesitation.
Cymbie Burgoyne
Cymbie Burgoyne
01:41 17 Jan 19
I was fortunate to have Steve, Kelly and the team at Amerex build my extension. Their's is a professional, highly skilled, approachable business with exacting standards and the ability to work with you from the planning stage to completion. This professionalism extends to all who come on site. Kelly's capable and warm project management ensures that everything runs like clockwork and all your queries are dealt with extreme efficiency. Very Happy!
Laila Gizzarelli
Laila Gizzarelli
07:11 19 Dec 18
We completed our first home renovation in North Perth with Amerex last year. We were undertaking a large two storey renovation of our dream home and the decision to choose Amerex came down to the high level of professionalism, expertise, excellent customer service and vast knowledge that Steve and the team displayed in character home renovations. We had not renovated in the past and we were very unsure of the process however Amerex staff spent a lot of time assisting us with the design process, they were always available to answer our enquires, provided valuable suggestions, were extremely patient and completed our project ahead of schedule. We would highly recommend Amerex as we have ended up with a beautiful home that displays excellent workmanship and a highly functional design. The home is exactly as we imagined it to be and our family and friends have all complemented on the amazing final result. We thoroughly enjoyed the building process with Steve and the highly skilled Amerex team and extend a big thankyou to all the staff who helped us along the way( Kelly, Loretta, Maryanne and Pete !)
Eric Trevaskis
Eric Trevaskis
06:21 11 Dec 17
It was an absolute pleasure to deal with the Amerex team for our home renovation. From Steve Burke the office staff & the various tradespeople, we received exceptional customer service. The skilled tradespeople were reliable, obliging & committed to the highest level of quality on our home. NOTHING was too much trouble. Steve, Pete (the foreman ) & the office staff, especially Kelly, were always available either on the phone or on site if we had any queries. We knew we could always make direct contact with them & that any queries would be quickly resolved. We felt that we received a very personal & professional service from the Amerex team. Amerex came in on budget, they completed the work earlier than scheduled & they ensured our renovation ran smoothly throughout. Thank you Amerex. We love our "new" home and our family and friends are amazed at the transformation. We would wholeheartedly recommend Amerex. Eric & Kristine Trevaskis. .
Jacqui Seymour
Jacqui Seymour
05:52 09 Aug 17
AMAZING experience. We have just completed a major renovation, and over 18 months dealing with Steve and the AMEREX team. We had a 1930's California bungalow and required the character at the front to be maintained whilst adding almost an entire new house to the back including a second story. We have built twice before, both new homes one with larger builders. The difference between that and our experience with AMEREX was astounding. This was actually an exciting and pleasurable experience throughout. Rather than a number or just "another" client, we were made to feel part of the AMEREX family. The office staff (Loretta, Kelly and Maryanne) are a pleasure to deal with, nothing is ever too much effort. Kelly in particular is a great help with all the various selections and changes and is always smiling! We did not have an issue with a single tradesman throughout. And finally Pete (working foreman) and Steve (owner) are the most hands on, professional and customer focused we have ever met. I was able to speak to either at any time regarding any issue, many times Steve would suggest changes on site to improve the look or function of the renovation and Pete can do it all. No variation fees, complete flexibility, great workmanship direct line to the owners/supervisor, quality finish. We could not recommend AMEREX highly enough. Brenton and Jacqui Seymour Daglish
Rachel Green
Rachel Green
03:57 04 Aug 17
Amerex carried out a large renovation for us in 2015; almost a year-long project. Amerex, lead by Steve, have clearly been in the building industry a long time and offered valuable input and guidance prior to, and during the build. They used skilled tradespeople and quality materials; no corners were cut and I felt confident that the build was of the highest quality. Steve and his team communicated frequently with me along the way and I was involved at every step. I felt comfortable approaching him if I had any questions or concerns, he was always available and acted quickly to resolve any issues. The team at Amerex were reliable, professional and a pleasure to deal with. In particular Kelly, who would often go ‘above and beyond’, was always positive, and nothing was ever too much trouble. People who visit our home always comment on the finish and quality of the build, most believing it’s a new home and not a renovation. I will definitely use Amerex again, and would be happy to recommend them.
Phillip Madden
Phillip Madden
02:52 24 Nov 16
From the first meeting with Loretta from Amerex until the final check we have enjoyed the experience with Amerex. They have taken our words and ideas and built them into a quality finished extension that is functional and everything that we had hoped for. The entire team at Amerex lead by Steve are friendly, reliable, use quality materials and produce a quality outcomes. Our extension has the “wow” factor and guests comment on the exceptional open plan design that is built to entertain. We are very happy with the final finish and would highly recommend them to anyone.
Christine Tonkin
Christine Tonkin
09:05 24 Oct 16
The renovation of our home was its third reincarnation as it was originally a very ordinary rectangular 1950s Roman Catholic outpost church which we turned into a house on a tight budget in the late 1980s. As is usually the case, this current renovation was very significant and emotional for me and my family but more unusually, I was living overseas for almost all of the time the renovation was undertaken. We wanted a home that would comfortably accommodate our family and overseas and interstate visitors, provide a focus for entertaining a crowd, as well as being low maintenance and energy efficient. We selected Amerex as our builder because Steve Burke and his very competent team gave our family the confidence that they could be trusted to undertake this renovation professionally and sensitively including communicating progress every step of the way. Steve and his team took our conceptual design and made our vision a reality in very quick time with practical completion of this major renovation within 7 months of the start date. The site supervision was tight which meant that the work progressed easily between the various trades. What is more, the estimated cost of the job was accurate with variations only to suit changes that we required. The outcome was a home that delivers so much more than we expected in terms of comfort, quality and our initial objectives. It was a real pleasure to deal with Steve and his team. I would not hesitate to recommend Amerex to anyone who needs the services of a truly professional builder/renovator.
Dona Mecham
Dona Mecham
04:07 11 Oct 16
This is the first renovation/building undertaking we have experienced and we cannot speak highly enough of the quality Amerex provided. The project design was flawless, and we were extremely impressed with the marrying of the old and new. The attention to detail provided by Steve and his team was outstanding and our friends and family are quick to note this. We love the extra space and seamless flow of our family home. The Amerex commitment to using quality trades and ensuring the trades delivered on time and rectifying issues, was present throughout the building of our home. This gave us great peace of mind and for these reasons we would not hesitate to recommend Amerex.’
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