The E, F, G, & H’s of Renovation


Following on from the A, B, C, & D’s of our Renovation Alphabet, we hereby give you the E, F, G & H’s of renovation.

If you ’ve checked out our Facebook page, you’ll be aware that we are working our way through the alphabet – one letter per week – as a means to explore different aspects of the renovation industry, so you have a better idea of the things you might encounter during your renovation project.

We give you tips, explanation in a sometimes serious, sometimes tongue in cheek look at all things ‘Reno’.  Included also are a few that didn’t make the Facebook cut.

Without more adue, here is the E, F, G and H’s of renovation:






‘E’ is for    



Sustainable materials don’t impact negatively on the natural environment and on the health of living organism’s.  Most established building products are man-made, But each year there are more and more eco-friendly building materials available. The materials selected for a project during the design stage determines how sustainable a structure is in the long run.


The side view of your house. Part of your design plans that your designer will prepare for you.


American designers and creators of beautiful timeless furniture. An Eames original should be on everyone’s wishlist..


A restriction on the title to your land which means that part of the land is to be left free for some purpose. Generally, easements are placed over into allotment drainage lines, electricity cables and rights of way etc. These can have an effect on what you can do on your property.  



f is for on a painted grey and white background



‘F’ is for   




Frank as in Frank Lloyd Wright. Iconic American architect and interior designer whose beautiful home designs still provide inspiration and envy today….more than 80 years on. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture which is something we could learn from even today.


Hard to pronounce and the jury’s out on whether or not it has value. But in essence its a Chinese art of using energy forces to harmonise individuals with their surrounding environment.


A floorplan is a diagram, usually to scale, showing a view from above of the relationships between rooms, spaces and other physical features of your home. Floor plans will include notes to specify finishes, construction methods, or symbols for things like lights and electrical items.


A footing is structural element generally consisting of concrete construction. Footings keep you walls  – house and retaining walls standing. Your structural engineer will design them for your project.




g is for with planter in background



‘G’ is for  




Setting goals is the really important and powerful process for thinking about your ideal future home, not to mention for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future actually into reality. Setting goals helps you understand what you want to achieve. Once you know this, you know where you need to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life. All in all, it’s an extremely important step in the renovation process and one of the first steps you should take.


If you don’t know what grading is, it’s basically the process of reshaping the contours of a property to get it to do what you want it to do.   Grading has one huge and really important purpose, redirecting water.   It takes the water that falls around your house or runs towards your house, and redirects it around your building.  Along the side of houses, the landscape ever so slightly slopes from the foundation, keeping water from sitting near the walls of your house where it causes frustrating and expensive damage.


A Roman Architect called Vitruvius wrote an essay about architecture many years ago called ‘De Architectura’, In it, he asserted that good architecture comprises three principles:

FIRMATIS (Durability) – It should stand up robustly and remain in good condition.

UTILITAS (Utility) – It should be useful and function well for the people using it.

VENUSTATIS (Beauty) – It should delight people and raise their spirits.

His writings are still applicable and relevant today. His principles should  play an important role in the design process for your renovation.


If you’re excavating into a sloping site, or digging to add a lower level to your house or for a swimming pool, then you are going to need a geotechnical report. Houses get built from the ground up, so the first thing that needs to be established for any building is its foundations. You’ll appreciate that the footings of your house need to be designed so that they best respond to and cope with the behavior of the soil – as a result, different soil types need different footing solutions.   This is something an engineer needs to know at the start of your project so that they can design the size and shape of the footings accordingly.




h is for with eames chair in background




‘H’ is for   



HOUZZ is a website that can be an endlessly fascinating ‘rabbit hole’ where you can lose days, months, years of your life, But also an incredible source of info and inspiration…


State and Local Government have rules in place aimed at preserving places and aspects of our local history and culture. These can be convict-era buildings in the city, shops, schools churches, factories and/ or houses in our suburbs. If your home is identified as having Heritage significance, your renovation will be subject to fairly strict guidelines and rules. This will have implication on what you can actually do on your property and will impact your budget.


Habitable floor space refers to the areas of your home that are living spaces (habitable) as opposed to a  non–habitable areas (e.g. utility areas, garage, laundry and storage room) Habitable floor space becomes an issue for town planning and building approvals and especially if you are in a Flood Overlay


Hazardous waste is material that has the potential to harm humans of the environment, now or in the future. In building, a common one is asbestos. Although asbestos products are no longer used, its removal is still a big issue. Did you know – Approximately one third of all homes in Australia contain asbestos products? If your house was built before 1990, it is likely that there will be asbestos present in some form.


The handover of the site to the client takes place once the contract administrator has confirmed that the works defined in the contract are complete. However, it should be planned well in advance, and any special requirements included in appointment documents and contracts.



That’s all for now, folks…Stay tuned for the next installment of our renovation alphabet in a few weeks…


Cover Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

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