Planning a Home Renovation in Victoria – Optimizing Your Investment

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For home improvement projects in Victoria, whether it’s adding a suite in Saanich, renovating a kitchen in Oak Bay, or building an addition in Gordon Head, we always start with understanding the why and the what for your renovation. When we know the motivations for your decision, we can come up with an informed strategy to get you what you want and more. This insight gives us the ability to prioritize what’s right for you and what’s possible for your home. And then we build a plan to cover everything before the project starts.

The Home Renovation Trifecta

When planning a home renovation in Victoria, whether it’s adding on a space for your growing family or updating a living space to fit your current reality, there are three essential components: the plan, the design, and the budget. These three factors need to work together to ensure the final results are in the middle of the Venn diagram of your dream renovation. At MAC Renovations, it’s our project management team that helps us create the plan for your home renovation in Victoria.

“We’ll usually start with the target investment from the homeowner,” explained Srdjo Djurkovic, project leader at MAC Renovations. “If that’s within an appropriate range, we’ll start working on the actual costs to bring their needs and wants to life. This includes the soft costs, like the architects, engineers, and interior designers who work together to inform the new construction. By having a target investment locked down, we have a good idea about the best way to allocate the budget. For example, we know the heavy lifting might be around $150 – $200k on a home addition. If the total established budget is $300K, we know that leaves us around $100k for finishes, which can vary significantly: tiling can be $3 per square foot or $30. And then, if it looks like we’ll have leftover budget, we find ways for the homeowners to have some of the features they’d deemed optional.”

Award Winning Single Family renovation Victoria BC MAC Renovations

Informing the Plan

Working with a local team of professionals can help you stay informed about the various requirements for home renovations in Victoria. In some municipalities, pulling a permit for any exterior home upgrades— like digging new storm drain laterals or building an addition — generates a need to move away from the homeowner’s septic system and connect to the municipal sewer system. In other municipalities, we might need to tie into the new storm drains or other public services as part of the renovation process, and this will all need to be reflected in the project’s scope.

Today’s home renovations are much more involved because today’s homes provide much more than was initially intended for them. As municipalities add more services, the costs associated with connecting to those services also increase. Adding a new bathroom or upgrading a kitchen might trigger a waterline upgrade, which could be something easy like a 30-foot run through gravel and topsoil, or it might be a 250-foot run under pavers and hardscaping across a nicely groomed property. This can quickly turn a $25,000 bathroom upgrade into a $45,000 investment.

Electrical is also a significant concern as people use more power in their homes. Today’s standard 200-amp service can be quickly maxed out by adding a new induction stove that needs 60amps, a new heat pump that needs another 50amps, and a 40-amp circuit for your new EV charger. That’s 75% of your electrical capacity in just three items.

Hazardous materials remediation also plays a role in the total cost of a home renovation project. Asbestos, mould, vermiculite, lead paint, and other unhealthy items are common in older homes. While MAC includes a contingency plan for these situations, uncovering these concerns can severely impact the project timeline and financial commitment. This can be fatal to a small project, as remediation costs are a much more significant percentage of the overall cost due to the need for mobilization, air monitoring, and third-party testing. These services don’t generally increase for larger projects, so the cost is usually easier to absorb.

As part of the preconstruction planning, once the initial design work and scope are determined and it looks like the project is feasible, we will often send a carpenter to the home to open up some walls and investigate the home’s true history. This is an excellent way to better understand all of a home’s layers before the construction is planned, revealing the hidden hazards and yesterday’s building practices. For some projects, this is the deciding factor between completing a renovation or not. In most cases, our team can find a creative solution to achieve the project goals.     

Light and bright home renovation in Victoria, BC

The Design Details

One of the major benefits of choosing a design-build team for your home renovation is the synergy and balance that happens because the teams are on the same page. Our professional design team works with you to plan the space, select the materials, create the 3D renderings, and stage and decorate the space when the construction or renovation is completed. Our designers know the local building codes and the principles of design. They work directly with the construction crews to discuss the project and gain insight from the trades to ensure the final space is everything that it should be.

And when it comes to finishes, the design team knows how to optimize your budget to create the look you’re dreaming of. They’ll help you choose materials that will last, and because they’ve made the time to understand your preferences, they know what to splurge on and where to find savings with a suitable budget-friendly alternative.

Staying on Budget

“Since you’re already here…” – this phrase has the potential to significantly impact your financial investment and timeline for your project.

“There are two types of scope creep,” explained Srdjo. “The first is the unforeseen that might come up, like a layer of asbestos-laden drywall behind the visible drywall. There’s no way we could see that, especially in older homes. That’s why we build a contingency plan for the project. The other issue, client-driven scope creep, is more manageable but can be much harder on the budget. We’re very good at what we do, so when our clients see the progress happening, they’ll sometimes think of other things they’d like to have done, like adding new pot lights, scraping the ceiling, or refitting a bathroom. And while we can do anything, this kind of change always impacts the schedule. The trades we work with have limited availability, so we need to work with them to get everything done according to the plan. For example, a plumber might be available to refit a bathroom, but are the tilers available to complete the new work? This is why it’s crucial for us to fully understand the reasons behind your renovation so we can build a plan that gives you what you need now and for the future. We aim to minimize the time we’re on-site for your project so you can get back to living in your new space as soon as possible. People like to see us start a new project, but they love to see us go once everything is done.

What Can Homeowners Do to Stay on Budget?

One of the best ways to ensure your project stays on budget is to invest time on the front end, planning the entire process with the MAC team. “We emphasize taking more time in the planning component to ensure all of the materials are picked in advance,” explained Srdjo. “This helps us avoid design-on-the-fly, which inevitably leads to scope creep. When you rush the plan, things you didn’t notice early on can pop up in the middle of construction, and that’s when time and costs can escalate. It’s best to complete most of the decisions and construction plan upfront. This means planning, investigation, demo work, and productive meetings with the designers to iron out all of the selections and identify potential lead-time risks — like in COVID, where we saw 24-week delivery windows on cabinetry that used to take eight to ten weeks.”

Victoria’s Most Trusted Renovation Contractor

For home renovations in Victoria, the budget, the design, and the plan are tightly interwoven, and changes to one aspect will affect the others. Our project management team will help you identify what’s required, what’s desired, and what’s nice to have, then put together a plan to make it happen. Our talented designers will create the vision that matches your lifestyle and taste, and our construction crews will bring it all to life, turning lumber and drywall into spaces where everyone in your family can live their best life.

One of the reasons we’ve become known as the most trusted renovation contractor in Victoria is that we make the time to investigate the project — learning what you want done and what needs to be done — and then we create a plan to achieve your goals. By investing the time in the front end, we can have a much smoother project, so you can get back to living in your new home and enjoying everything about your new space.

When you’re ready to look at the possibilities for your address, give us a call.

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