Brisbane Trusted Home Renovation & Custom Home Specialist

Let’s discuss your project
De-Mystifying Builders’ Jargon – 3 Key Pricing Components Explained

De-Mystifying Builders’ Jargon – 3 Key Pricing Components Explained

From updating software to signing up for a new account, it is not surprising that many of us tend to skim through the ‘Fine Print’ in agreements, especially when you have pages of seemingly dull and incomprehensible text to get through!

However, when it comes to signing your Building Contract, there is no room for complacency. Afterall, it is your very own Home! Understanding your contract and pricing components is crucial for a smooth building process and to avoid budget blowouts. Not sure about Builders Jargon? Let us explain the 3 Key Pricing Components:

  1. Prime Cost (PC)

This refers to the cost allowance that is made for the supply of certain materials to be selected by the client, such as plumbing fixtures and tapware, tiles, or appliances. Prime Costs are usually included when the builder may have insufficient information on client’s selection (preference) at this point to provide a fixed price quotation. The PC is subject to change depending on final selection and is for the cost of the item only (excluding installation costs). It is important that PCs are realistic and meet the expectations of quality in line with the build project.

  1. Provisional Sum (PS)

Provisional Sums are usually provided for works and activities that are unable to be accurately quantified at the time of pricing or quoting the project. For example, groundworks and excavations are common PS items as they depend on ground conditions. In major excavations the builder will usually propose a PS. Similar to the PC, it is subject to change depending on the final cost of having the task completed. However, the main difference between a Prime Cost and a Provisional Sum is that the Provisional Sum will allow for both materials required and labour.

  1. Fixed Price

Finally, an easy term – Fixed Price means literally what it says – a Price that is fixed and is not subject to change. This means the builder is unable to charge extra if their estimation ends up being incorrect. As work proceeds under contract, the builder must supply everything necessary for the proper completion of the works at the Fixed Price.

Ideally, it is always in your best interest to avoid PC and PS items as much as possible, while aiming for mostly Fixed Prices. However, sometimes it is unavoidable to include several PCs and PSs and, in this case, the builder will need to make realistic and reasonable allowances so that they are as close to the estimation as possible, i.e. final selections (in PC cases) or the actual costs (in PS case).

The best approach to preventing budget blowouts and avoiding unpleasant surprises during construction, is for the builder and client to spend quality time clearly discussing as much detail as possible during the pricing/quotation phase. From there the builder can then provide a more accurate quote with Fixed Price items that would have been PC or PS allowances otherwise.

Smart Reno is known as Brisbane’s trusted home renovations & builders, with a clear and concise process which minimises PC and PS allowances to your building proposal and therefore can provide Fixed Price quotations in most cases. Contact SmartReno today to discuss how we can help you with your proposed build project. Call 0406 616 690 or click here to book an appointment.

Don’t want to move? (But you’ve outgrown your home)

Don’t want to move? (But you’ve outgrown your home)

So, you have outgrown your home. However, you are in an ideal location, the children are settled in a good school, and the neighbours are great. You don’t want to move but you need more space! Perhaps it’s time to consider a Home Extension to create the added space and functionality needed in your home.

House Extensions have become increasingly popular for homeowners who wish to stay in their area, but require more space due to lifestyle changes such as a growing family with children, multigenerational living or the increasing trend of ‘working from home.’ 

The Home Extension option provides many benefits such as:

  • Save on costs associated with selling your home and repurchasing another, e.g. real estate fees, inspections, government charges, removalists etc.
  • Add value to your property (especially in highly sought-after suburbs)
  • Less expensive compared to knock down and rebuild, subject to the extent of the work – please refer to our Guideline on Renovate or Rebuild 
  • Options to suit your existing home and budget (Ground Floor Extensions, Second Storey Additions, or Lift & Build Under Extensions)
  • Minimal disruptions to your activities (stay in your home during the process, in most cases).


  • Home Extension Types

Common Extension options include Ground Floor Extensions, where an area is extended on the existing level of the home.  It is one of the most cost-effective and time-efficient ways to add space.  A Second Storey Extension is well suited to homeowners wishing to add floor area and views without sacrificing backyard space.  Certain homes such as the iconic Queenslander can achieve great outcomes with a Lift & Build Under Extension that create flexible lower level options such as garaging and additional accommodation.


  • Why Choose a Professional Builder?

Whichever Extension project you choose, it is important to ensure that the construction matches the existing structure in style and finish, so that it will appear to be part of the original build as opposed to an unappealing “add-on” look. This is where a professional builder can make the difference. 

SmartReno are specialists in Home Extensions and we offer a professional design and construction service to help you create the space and functionality that you envision. We listen to your ideas and offer our expert suggestions, while keeping within your budget. Whether it involves removing a load bearing wall to replace with beams, or completely changing the layout of a home to cater for the extension, SmartReno has the ability, knowledge, experience and understanding to create something which will enhance the property both visually and in practical terms, making spaces become more usable and functional. 

Even if you just have a general idea of what you envisage for your home extension, SmarReno can start by showing you how to achieve the best outcome within your investment budget. Contact us today, ph. 0406 616 690, to discuss your Home Extension needs! Brisbane’s trusted home extension and custom home specialists. Click here to view our Gallery showcasing SmartReno’s quality workmanship and design.

Building a Custom Home? 6 Pre-Construction Tips from Smart Reno Experts

Building a Custom Home? 6 Pre-Construction Tips from Smart Reno Experts

There is undoubtedly no better feeling than witnessing your dream home project coming true. But, the most common mistake most homeowners tend to make is to rush. They suddenly jump to the construction process before they are even properly ready.

Being in the industry for many years now, I have encountered the same thing with my clients too. And, later on, they regret claiming that there were so much that could be done with design or styling.

There should not be any room for regrets when it is about your DREAM HOME. And, when you are hiring the best custom home builders in Brisbane, you should check everything beforehand.

Here it from us. Our experts have framed some tips that you may follow during the pre-construction phase of your home.

  • Have you Finalised the Layout?

The layout of your house should be clear to you. Have you set any budget? If you wish to stay within your budget, you should go for a simple and minimal layout. Remember that the more complex the structure will be, the more it will be expensive.

  • How Many Levels Do you Need for your Building?

Double Storey Home Extension

Don’t think that having a two-storied building always means too much of expense. If you have a complex layout in your single storey home, it can be more expensive than building a two-level home. So, determine the number of building levels according to your need.

  • Determine the Room Space Ahead

Have you considered the size of the rooms? Well, not every place will have the same number or size of furniture inside the room. For instance, the bedroom needs to be wide, not long. Where will you keep the bed? Will it take too much of space leaving no room for any additional furniture? Calculating all of these small issues can save you from the future hassles.

  • Think of Storage Solutions Beforehand

Storage Space

It will be a big mistake on your part if you don’t consider the storage facilities beforehand. Being the specialists of home renovations in Brisbane, we can suggest you check how much storage space do you have currently and then decide how much you will need. Don’t let the storage facility look odd or out of place in your building layout. Talk to the renovators beforehand.

  • Have you Paid Enough Attention to you Plot?

There are a lot of things to consider for using your plot in the right way. Can the neighbouring structure cause any problem in solar access? Is the soil type of the plot okay for the kind of building, floors or sub-floors you are planning?

  • Permissions and Restrictions of the Councils

Extension builder Brisbane

You cannot move forward with the construction without talking to the council. Ask them about the local restrictions if any. Seek the required permissions from them regarding the heritage overlays that are probably there. Also, if there are any boundary setback requirement, you must settle all of that before the construction of your custom home starts.


You should not approve or finalise anything before you have viewed the final layout. The design may appear differently in theory, but until you do not check the blueprint or finished drafts of the structure, you should not proceed. We don’t want you to regret anything. We know how significant this investment is for you. So, we suggest you follow these ground rules at any cost before the construction.

5 Things to Consider When You Plan for an Open Plan Living Extension

5 Things to Consider When You Plan for an Open Plan Living Extension

It is often said that an object placed under the eye will appear differently if the same thing is put above it. Same is the case with an enclosed space. The real ambience and the essence of the objects placed in the room will look very different in an open area. What remains the most crucial aspect in the case of open plan living is connection.

Gone are the days when the lounge or kitchen served a specific purpose. With doors being the demarcation surface, living in such houses was simple, and it was the only way.

But with the changing lifestyle, the concept of floor design has changed. With the growing urge to stay connected with the family members, the idea of open living came into existence. In short, open plan living provided a greater convenience and comfort.

The following are some of the crucial things to keep in consideration while renovating your house and transforming it into the above-mentioned concept–

1. Customising your Open Plan Living


The purpose of such plan is to stay connected with the members and motivate each member to take part in the family activity. Therefore, every renovation project that involves extension should ensure the presence of ample open space to ‘socialise’. Evading the things that clutter the area/space should be avoided. Customising the extension would help to get what you want.

2. Removing a Wall or Two

Well, if you think removing a wall is easy, then you are wrong. Remodelling a house with old facilities into a modern, attractive, useful one is challenging. Getting the help from the professional extension builder in Brisbane from SmartReno Pty Ltd will make the plan successful. What is needed is careful planning of the areas that are to transformed into open space.

3. Ascertaining Smooth Movement

Every design of the renovation should ensure that there is enough space available for the smooth movement of not only people but also house commodities. Therefore, while planning an extension, it is always advised to inspect the space and how it should be designed. The open living plan considers this aspect as well.

4. Keeping the Right Length to Width Ratio


Keeping the Right Length to Width Ratio

Every house has a different floor plan. Therefore, a thoughtful floor design helps in creating the right living space. As far as this is concerned, experts of home extensions in Brisbane trust the rectangular shape when it comes to functionality. A wider area with apt length fits in all sorts of furniture and assist in interior decoration.

5. Ensuring Natural Lights Everywhere

Always remember that a successful open plan living extension takes into account two vital elements- the height of the ceiling and presence of windows. The right amount of each of them guarantees a great ambience apart from being functional. The presence of natural light ensures great curtailment in the electricity bills. In addition to it, the right extension will give the illusion of a larger space. Renovators believe that a soaring ceiling adds grandeur to the interior of the house.


Creating space in a streamlined manner shows the true essence of a significant renovation project. When it comes to open plan living, not only planning but keeping an account of all the aspects of extension is going to transform your living effectively. Contact the professional home builders from SmartReno Pty Ltd to have your dream of ‘open space living’ come to reality.

Transforming Old Homes To Gold – Dos and Don’ts Of Hiring Extension Builders

Transforming Old Homes To Gold – Dos and Don’ts Of Hiring Extension Builders

Home renovations or extensions can be very exciting. But they also involve a lot of time and effort- the likes of which is not always possible for you (as an owner).

Fret not- our experts at “Smart Reno” won’t make you take those unnecessary home extension headaches. At one call, they will reach your place, perform the inspection and communicate with you about your extension requirements. Once all the key project specifications have been sorted out, then only will they begin working on your dull and daggy looking house.

They have heaps of field experience, and having transformed countless old properties into modern, attractive homes; they will be the best choice for your house facelift.

If you have never hired any extension or house renovation specialists, then the task could be a daunting one. However, to ensure that the work doesn’t take up a lot of effort, here are some key dos and don’ts to keep in mind when sorting out your options.

Follow closely! 

Beginning With The Dos: 

1. Do Check Their Valid License and Insurance? 

Be it a house extension or rebuild, it is always important you choose a contractor with a valid license and insurance. Be wary of builders who refuse to disclose their license or are unclear about their insurance coverage.

To get closure; you should check your chosen builder in the HIA- House Industry Of Australia or MBA- Master Builder in Australia. It will reveal the list of contractors having legitimate work license and both Public Liability Insurance and Home Warranty Insurance (including the one you are invigilating). 

2. Do They Perform All Range of Renovations? 

It is very important to know the range of renovations a builder can perform. With that, also check how many years have they been in this field of work.

The good news for you is that each extension builder in Brisbane possesses a valid work license and insurance coverage. Plus, they specialise in:

  • Extensions and custom home constructions
  • Quality home renovations
  • As well as updating and building decks and other outdoor areas

Have a word with them, and they will willingly answer all your questions.

3. Do Ask For Client References And Work Samples? 

Word of mouth is always a confidence builder, and asking for client reference is one way to determine how good the contractors are, in reality. Quality contractors will not shy away from sharing references of their happy customers and their work samples. This reveals their professionalism and flexibility to work on different projects.

If there is any hesitation from the contractors in sharing information, skip over to the next-best-option. 

Moving Over To The Don’ts: 

1. Don’t Forget Checking If They Provide Details Of The Extension Project IN Writing: 

You should not forget to ask if the extension builders in focus are willing to share a written journal about the extension project. Our top-rated builders will never hesitate in sharing information, as they believe in transparency with their clients.

  • They will provide you with a written scope of the project- which is an outline of the construction.
  • They will also provide engineering documents, soil test reports and also the final cost of the labour, materials and the time-frame for the project completion.
  • Plus, these experts will share details of the raw materials along with its detailed costs for you to know how much you would need to spend.

2. Don’t Ignore Their Work Process: 

You need to see how their works on all their projects, as it will give you a fair idea of how they will process your project work. Our renovation and extension experts at “Smart Reno” always make it a point to understand the scope and specifications of the project.

To improve the project plan, our experts of house extensions in Brisbane:

  • Will measure the project cost against the end product and come up with a strategy for your project within your estimated budget.
  • While performing the rebuilt, our experts will always adhere to the construction norms and regulations. They also serve as your advisory body, suggesting what best will be accomplished with the budget-at-hand.
  • They will always use top-quality raw materials for the build and ensure that the extension complements the rest of the house nicely. They will get the task done in the highest of standards, thus giving you true value for your money. 

3. Lastly, Don’t Skip Comparing Their Service Rates: 

There is no reason for you to pay more than the service rate. And one good way to assure this is asking for service quotes and comparing those rates with other reputed house extension companies.

Performing the comparison will reveal if the company abides by the accepted industry rates. So, don’t skip checking this crucial aspect out.

If you have a project too difficult to complete alone, call our experts and discuss your project. Surely, they will be happy to assist you.