Home Office Solutions in High Demand

Imagine 2 years ago that the vast majority of workers in Melbourne would be working from home, and our kids would be home schooled for months on end ? Welcome to our new world, which most of us have got used to over the last 18 months. Having practical, open and functional home office spaces is now paramount for many workers & families.

Increasingly we are having clients incorporate home office spaces into their Home Renovation plans. Many have converted bedrooms, studies and living areas into functional office hubs where the kids can have organized study spaces and parents can have quiet and practical office hubs. For example we have recently completed an entire home office set up for clients in Cranbourne West, that have converted a spare bedroom into a dual home office set up, complete with long spacious desks, storage drawers, overhead cupboards and integrated electrical and data points.

2021 Renovation Boom

With 2020 providing many challenges for all of us in the Construction & Home Renovation sector we are now seeing a major boom in Home Improvement, especially here in Victoria.

Victoria is experiencing a renovation boom, and when it comes to renovation activity there are several suburbs that are considered hot spots, such as Malvern, Berwick, Cranbourne & Frankston. With these suburbs considered as fairly family friendly, it is no surprise that home owners are wanting to spend the time and money on improving their homes.

Trends in Home owners behaviour has changed significantly over the course of the Pandemic. In 2020 we saw many homeowners take on projects themselves as a distraction during lockdown, whereas in 2021 with holidays and travel plans curtailed many have taken this opportunity to outsource home renovations and updates.

We have found a major increase in home owners wanting new kitchens , which we all consider to be the heart of the home. We have had a 57% increase in new kitchens & cabinetry. Another trend is for the installation of home office fit outs and cabinetry. Now that many of us are working from home for an extended amount of time, the need for a comfortable and functional workspace is paramount.

With all of us forced to spend more time at home over the course of the pandemic, home owners have opened their eyes to their surroundings and how they would like to improve them.  As mentioned, kitchens have been the main focus for our clients, but there has also been increased demand for bathroom updates, flooring, painting & landscaping.

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Reno Warriors

What to spot when hiring a Builder or Home Improvement Contractor

Depending on the type of work you are wishing to have completed, you will need to do some research before hiring the right contractor for your job. Having a skilled and trustworthy person to complete your project is the most pivitol part of the process.

Firstly, lets discuss who does what. Builders are who you are going to hire if you are requiring structural works, and major extensions that will include draftsmans drawings, plans and permits. Builders will be registered with the relevant building authorities  in their state, as in Victoria they will be registered with the VBA, MBAV and HIA.  They will have the relevant licences and insurances to carry out major project such as extensions.

Home Contractors & renovators can carry out Kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations, flooring, painting, electrical, plumbing and other general works. Again, these contractors should be registered by the appropriate bodies in their state, and hold the appropriate insurances to carry out necessary works.

If you are looking at hiring a contractor there are several red flags you need to be able to spot, and we will tell you how to weed out the bad ones.

  1. If you have a contractor that requests cash payments upfront, this is a warning that you are likely being scammed and that the contractor is not licenced. 
  2. If you are given a super low price that seems to good to be true – it probably is the case. In obtaining quotations from Contractors, sometimes the cheapest is not always the best, and the cheap quotes, are usually cheap for a reason. 
  3. No website or Google presence. Google is everything when it comes to advertising, and if your proposed contractor has no website, reviews or Google presence, this is an immediate concern. This indicates that the contractor could be involved in a scam, or has a history of changing company names and shoddy workmanship.
  4. No written contract. A legitimate contractor will always present you a formal quotation & legal document prior to commencement of works. All works should be clearly detailed and signed off by all parties, with costs and progressive payments made clear.
  5. Pushy Sales. If you are feeling pressured to sign up, this is a warning sign. Ethical contractors will always leave the quotation with you to let you think it over.
  6. Insurances. If you ask a contractor for a copy of their relevant licences and insurances and they do not supply them, they are obviously operating a scam or unlicenced business.

Its important for you to feel comfortable with your contractor, and feel you can ask questions and be involved in the process together with them. Your home is your biggest asset and you need to ensure you have contractors that are licenced, insured and trustworthy working on your home. A legitimate contractor will have a searchable Google history, good references and licences and accreditations. Don’t be shy to ask for copies of these, legitimate operators will have no issues in handing over these details.