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What’s the cost of Council plans for my existing house?

Be warned, because this item most clients never know to include in their budget when they plan a renovation! It’s a sensitive issue as clients budget for new house plans drawn by the drafter, but don’t always realise they also need detailed drafted plans of their existing home before any new plans can be drawn. These plans of their existing house, are called “Measured Drawings.”

This step of Measured Drawings is so important, as we can’t design a new renovation if we do not have the on scale plans of the existing house. We draw these plans on AutoCAD software and provide them to the client in PDF form. Then we are ready for Step Two: To design and draw your new renovation or extension!


“Please design our new renovation & draw all the plans necessary for Council Approval.”


When we submit your new plans to Council with the detail of your new project, Council also requests plans of your existing house before any new renovations can be approved. This way Council can see exactly how many squares you add (it determines the submissions cost) and Council can see if your existing house will be able to carry the new renovations. These drawings, are known as “Measured Drawings.”


The cost of these Measured Drawings include the drafter’s visit to your home to measure the whole existing house, as well as the hours spent on drawing. Yes, sometimes a client does have existing plans, but they are only in a printed version and not always exactly as the house was built/changed over the past few years. The cost of measured drawings are calculated per square metre, and they are less expensive to draw than additions/renovations with complicated new detail. Depending on the size of your home, the cost of an average four bedroom home is about $800 to $1,000 dollars to draw the existing plans.


Here are a few examples of Measured Drawings we have recently completed for clients.

Blog Measured drawing Tierney


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If you you need Council Plans and you are unsure about this process, feel free to contact us.

Eriana & Lyndie

Note: Our Council Plans are drawn in collaboration with our drafter, Ronel, from Mi-Dzign.


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When is the best time to renovate?

When is it the right time to renovate? Does it depend on how long you’ve lived in your home, your budget or your future plans? This answer is different for every home owner. Today we want to give you some pointers to take into consideration when making this important decision.


You are now all excited about your first home. To save a bit of money you bought a “renovation project”. (Of course it was advertised by the estate agent as “needs some TLC”…) Now it’s time to decide how to spend that extra bit of money to make it your own. STOP RIGHT HERE! Only about 5% of renovations of first time home buyers are successful if they renovate within the first year. Why? Making good renovation decisions take experience. If you are a first time home buyer, we always recommend clients to first live in your home for at least six months before you start planning your renovation. You will have a much better spatial awareness of how you actually use your home and what features are missing what you desperately need to add.

first time home owners should i renovate now or later


Nine months. Actually 8 months since you first find out you’re pregnant. And yes, we all know the last two months you’re the size of an elephant with the mobility of a hippopotamus. That literally gives you 6 months to really project manage a renovation before baby arrives. Take into consideration your fluctuating hormones and constant short term memory loss (believe me!), the worst thing to add to this package is a renovation project. If you just want to update a bathroom or kitchen, it might be manageable. Even a new paint job, flooring or moving a wall or window can be orderly timed and finalised. If you need any council plans which involves drafting, engineers, certifiers or council approval, rather pitch a tent in the dessert and stay there for a few months. That will be a much more enjoyable experience. You don’t want to hurry renovation decisions and later be devastated because you spent your money unwisely. Take it one “building process” (read baby) at a time. Even the first few months after baby is born, is stressful. Why add noise and dust to the equation. I am talking out of experience…


I’m with you, just do it! Nobody needs a bathroom that constantly leaks from upstairs down into your kitchen. Been there, done that. Every time my daughter pulled the plug of her bath, I had to run to the kitchen and hold a bucket mid-air to prevent water dripping on my kitchen shelves. Another big problem is infestations. You don’t want to be invaded or overrun by pests. If part of your home needs a semi-demolition to fix this problem, save enough money as quickly as possible and get the renovation done. These can cause other long term problems which eventually cost you even more.  If you’re a first time home buyer, and expecting a baby and you realise you have infestation problems… well I have no idea what you should do! Run away to the closest hotel and hibernate for a year.


Renovation projects can start from $10,000 and end up to be up to $500,000 or more. Every family knows their own budget. Don’t forget that there are many costs before you even write the first cheque to your builder. You will need a drafter to draw plans for Council. (This is a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of your renovation) You might need an engineer to assist with structural issues. (Another few hundred or thousand dollars). You need to pay a certifier or council to submit your plans and get it approved. (Mmmm… another few hundred dollars) Sometimes you need to demolish existing structures, also at an additional cost. There are always a few hidden or unprepared expenses too. Your builder can suddenly report to you that there are asbestos in your walls or roof. (Another few thousand dollars to have this removed by a specialised team). Okay, I wasn’t intending to scare you, just to warn you that you should always add another 20% to your budget for unforeseen expenses. If you don’t need it in the end, you can have beautiful new furniture and an awesome house warming party!

budget for renovation project should i renovate now or later

Remember that you can ask your mortgage broker to assist you to apply for additional finance or to refinance your home. Some people play it safe and first save all the money for their renovation. This is the ideal situation, but sometimes this means that you never get to the stage where you can commit to your renovation.

Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


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How do I know if I can add a second storey to my existing home?

Before you get excited about that second storey for your home, there are a few very important facts you need to know about building up your existing house.


  • The best way is to pay a building inspector to do an independent building inspection
  • This can be for your own home or a home that you plan to buy
  • A qualified builder might also give you some good advice on extension possibilities and problem areas they normally come across
  • A structural engineer can give you more expert advice if you expect that your project will have difficult or unusual building specs
  • A drafter and interior designer can give you advise on what Council will allow on your plot regarding extension regulations for your plot or neighbourhood. They will normally advise if you need an engineer for your project and can put you in contact with builders, engineers or building inspectors.


  • You can expand without loosing existing garden space.
  • It gives you an opportunity to change the style of your home by replacing the roof or view in a major way


  • More expensive than just a normal extension
  • Extra building costs for extra support on existing home
  • Additional cost for structural engineer to be involved in the project
  • If you need to replace or take off part of the existing roof, you might have to move out for a few weeks. This might cost you some money, or you can be brave and stay with family for a while.


  • Your existing house must have the foundations to support a second storey
  • The existing walls must be able to be strengthened to support the new weight
  • The height of the new roof will be determined by council regulations and might influence the style of your extension (your drafter and interior designer will advise)
  • The slope of the new roof is also determined by council
  • Your new storey might influence the view of your neighbours and they might need to give permission for your new storey
  • A structural engineer will be appointed by your drafter to do the engineer drawings for council. These need to be handed in to Council with the drafter’s plans. This will be an added cost to your project.

Just think for the moment what the additional weight of a second storey is… I can hardly carry 5 tiles on my own! A second storey will have new walls, ceiling, new heavy roof tiles, new floor boards or even bathroom fittings. You want to be sure your bath does not end up in your downstairs living room after a few weeks!

Rather be safe than sorry, and get all the facts before you start stripping your home and removing walls.

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Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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