The Real Costs of Renovation: Building Subcontractors

Restumping with steel

The building now supported excavations can begin and the structural work can be performed. Depending on your scope once again you and your builder will determine who you need and when. Subcontractors are often preferred by a particular building company over others and sometimes you the owner may have preferences as to who you prefer to use.  Its not usually to much of an issue most contractors and subcontractors are willing to get along to get on with the job so there is freedom to move there. The builder will make their recommendations however you will have more than the fair say here. Whereas the subcontractors has obligations you may over the builder have more responsibility in ensuring they provide to satisfaction what their engaged to do.

Building and Restumping Subcontractors

More commonly stumping subcontractors are contracted for this work. In some cases such as blocking in a brickie or chippie may provide this work in the case of structural build ins over infill wall sections between stumps.

Restumping has several serious tasks at hand. These tasks and in no particular order consist of. The fabrication of the stumps constructed to the engineers specifications and requirements. The removal of the old stumps or supporting structure. Excavation for the new supports or stumps. Installation of the new stumps in readiness. And pouring of the concrete around the stumps at their footing. High set houses can have very deep footings, concrete can be built up around them and where land is not stable old techniques of stabilisation walls were used this needs to be removed. On a low set house there is very little room to move and although the old footings stumps etc are not such a big deal the restrictions in height make it an equally difficult task.


Price Guide – $18 000 – $30 000  A very accessible low set house with less than 20 stumps would be on the low end with the high end representing a very large low  or high set home, or smaller bearers on smaller homes with over 35 stumps.

The Real Costs of Renovation: Building Support Lifting or Lowering

Steel beam for building support systems

With the formalities out of the way and a clear plan the building can be supported to allow for the footing upgrade or re-stump. A supporting steel frame will need to be installed to take the weight of the building off the stumps or structural walls. The frame will need to hold the building securely in place keeping it safe for workman to excavate the foundations for either restumping with the stumps or blocking in.

Building Support Systems

This is where the team at Hydraulift come in. Once again the full scope of the renovations will have a lot to do with how far you go with this and how we go about it. The first consideration or issue will be attachments. Built on sections of the building, split level floors, carports and garages. These are more generally attached to the main building and will either need to be removed if lifting or lowering of the building is desirable. Otherwise if they are to stay then the building will need to be re-stumped at this or the original level.

Aside any issues with attachments the building can be re-stumped at the height more desirable to your taste. Some council restriction do apply to minimum and maximum heights however everything in between is at your discretion. The higher you go the bigger the engineering concern becomes, however if its more room you are desiring or you have some other need including financial gains then its not so much a concern more so a process to work through to build a safe home or building.

Price Guide – $5000 – $12 000 Support for a simple low set re-stump that is staying the same height would be at the low end here and a lift to a council accepted high set height with a small re-positioning being a metre or two would be at the top end.

Th Real Cost of Renovation: Builders Supervision

Builder supervision on renovation projects

Following on from our last post “The Real Cost of Renovations: Plans and Engineering” where we discussed planning and engineering costs, a builder is now required. The builders role in any construction is wide and varying. Primarily they are a legal requirement in any construction valued at more than a few thousand dollars and their roles vary from liaisons with relevant authorities to the on ground onsite activity. The builders ultimate responsibility is to insure everything is done to standard. For the purpose of this discussion and in alliance with modern trends the builder will be distinguished here from their relevant counterpart carpentry. To a greater extent the later is minimal in this type of work with trends to subcontractors and subcontract teams becoming more common place for all trades including the builders own.

Builders Supervision

Prior to submitting your council application, or around this time, a builder is required to be engaged. Depending on your confidence in talking with an architect and  engineering companies your builder may come first or after these two. That is you could employ your builder first and they will guide you through the planning and engineering or take it to this or any point along the way as you feel comfortable.

The builder will in their capacity fill their role as the principle contractor. Regardless of the builders physical involvement with the vary components of the work to be performed, they will supervise and play a key role in the building compliance. Providing the portal for all the subcontractors engaged on the project to liaison with the relevant engineers, the owner and council as required. Its there position to supervise all work performed as they deem necessary to provide warranty and assurance that all onsite work has been performed to specification, and to relevant building codes and standards. Making decisions where necessary for the work to be performed.

Price Guide $2000 – $10 000

The Real Costs of Renovation: Plans and Engineering

Old home deteriorating

Is it worth it and how much is it going to cost are probably the first questions that come to mind when anyone’s starts to consider renovating, repairing or upgrading their home.

The first is easy the answer will be yes in almost every case. Renovating old timber homes can be a lot of hard work however due to the amount of work and the costs of replacement in an old timber frame home the value and the reward is present in almost every case. The average replacement cost for a simple timber frame home is around $200k-$300k and well over $400k to reproduce an old Queenslander. The longer its left or the worse it becomes ultimately the more will need to be done to fix it. However rarely is a timber frame home demolished as there is always someone that can see their worth, and either relocates and rebuilds them, or buys or renovates where is.

The costs vary greatly between project to project in the extent of the works you are to perform. For a clear understanding of this is it is important to know what your going to do and preferably understand it. Renovations repairs and building maintenance are widely confused even among the professionals so take some time to consider your options. If its a repair you are doing sometimes its better left at that.

It may be better to fix something to the best it can be than to uncover or expose worsening and deteriorating other potential issues. An example of this could be a stump that is intricate position. It could be by digging it out you will undermine other footings, concrete floors or deteriorate the surrounding foundations in the removal process. In this case it may be better to do some repairs and address it at a later date especially if the construction is sound surrounding it.

Planning is key to your success as in any venture. Scope the extent of your project and plan it out carefully. Time is not the enemy here the longer you take to plan it, think about it, map it out to the point of action the better your end result will be.

Plans and Planning

Costs vary, depending widely on the scope of what you are about to undertake. That is in a renovation sense you need to set some limits or more so have a plan of what you want to achieve. It can be a bottomless pit if you don’t consider what you want to achieve and its practicality. The costs of the plans will vary accordingly to the complexity of your building and what you want to do to it. The smaller the task and the simpler the building then the cheaper the plans will be. In any case the value of these plans from the start is priceless in this activity. It gives everything and everyone a clear path forward. It provides no discrepancies within contracted workers builders and the other facets, and they are ultimately compulsory for council approvals.

Price Guide – $800 – $3000 A low set house undertaking a re-stump would only require a stump and bearer plan and therefore at the low end of this. A high set house with a build in on the ground floor would be at the higher end.

Engineering and Compliance

When a home or house is built, renovated or repaired the first and foremost consideration is the foundations. For those that are not building term savvy the term foundations is the soil or ground on or in which you will put footings. The footings are the part of the structure or house in contact with the ground the timber posts or poured concrete. Soil tests are performed to determine what the footing construction will require and how it is to be braced. Essentially setting the scene into the variants in the mayor costs in restumping. Once the engineering has been performed and the engineer has produced specifications the project is submitted to the council for approval and monitored for compliance to completion.

Price Guide – $2000 – $5000 Council approval, plans and basic engineering is all that is required for a simple low set re-stump or footing variation on the low end of the scale. And full building engineering and certification for a build in, structural upgrade or re-stump as required for high set would represent the higher end.