Renovation Timeline

Below is a timeline that aims to record each step in the process of our renovation project.


  • November 1997 - contract signed to buy house
  • January 1998 - contract settled and moved in

Design and Planning


  • Engaged Jim Kettle of Creative Building Design to refine and draft plans for council approval
  • Surveyor, soil tester, structural engineer, hydraulic engineer, energy auditor and building certifier engaged
  • Iterative process of drafting, review, redrafting and ... lots of waiting


  • Brisbane City Council
  • Siting relaxation - had to get our neighbours to sign off on this because both the existing house and the raised house are just within 6 metres of the front boundary, as are most houses in our street, the suburb and much of the city I'd imagine, so it seems a bit like a council money grab
  • Development application (DA) - this took the longest at about 6-8 weeks
  • Building approval (BA) - this was reasonably quick as council entrust most of it to the chosen building certifier

Detours, Delays and False Starts

  • Ran a start-up IT business for 5 years involving long hours, high stress and negative ROI - renovation plans postponed
  • Got an overseas job, moved to Germany for a few years - renovation plans postponed
  • Quit job - renovation plans postponed
  • Got a new job in Melbourne - renovation plans postponed
  • Lost my job due to global financial crisis - renovation plans postponed
  • Recurring debate between Kaja and I about the "right" course of action based on the widespread predictions of "impending doom" as a result of climate change, environmental tipping points, peak oil, peak everything, SARS, bird flu, water and food scarcity, over consumption, over population, political inaction and corruption, religious fanaticism, intolerance, economic meltdown, societal collapse, war, anarchy, nuclear armageddon and inevitable post-apocalyptic cannibalism, blah, blah, etc - renovation plans seemed meaningless in the face of all this FUD, and we seriously considered a move to Tasmania Cry
  • General risk aversion / procrastination / analysis paralysis Wink

Building Quotes

  • Sought quotes from 5 builders ...  got 2 quotes ... eventually
  • The 2 quotes were from builders recommended to us by friends
  • Neither quote included painting, paving, tiles, lights, appliances or fencing
  • Both quotes were comparable in price, inclusions and builder reputation

Building Contract

  • We decided on Rory Sykes & Co Pty Ltd
  • Builder's quote refined
  • Client selections and specifications documented
  • Standard HIA building contract signed


  • Scary visit to bank to request large sum of money to finance the renovation
  • Lots of phone calls and emails to round up all required paperwork (insurances, contracts etc)
  • Pre-approval gained
  • Final mortgage documents
  • Loan settlement (funds released for renovation)

Move House

  • Found a place to rent for 6 months
  • Packing - lots of boxes, far too many books!
  • Took 5 ute loads of accumulated junk to the garbage dump
  • 1 trip to the local Lifeline bin to get rid of unused items
  • A whole day with 2 burly Maori removalists (Sam & Mel) to move all our junk. We're amazed they managed the upright piano down our rickety stairs without destroying it or injuring themselves in the process!
  • Another 2 days on our own to move all the miscellaneous junk
  • Disconnect services (gas, electricity, phone, internet) and redirect mail
  • Connect services at new place
  • Glorious sleep ... zzzz



Post apocalyptic cannibalism

On that note I'd like to add that we are 2 vegetarians (actually 1 vegan and 1 vegetarian) who live in an area through which the smell of BBQing steak often drifts on the evening breeze.  We've no real problem with that, however we do idly wonder if, post the apocalypse, the neighbourhood at large will swing its head in our direction thinking a la Homer Simpson, "Mmmmm!  Tasty Vegetarians."  We'll be keeping a close eye on our cats as well... Wink