Who will I need on my renovation project team?

In this age of DIY and TV shows such as ‘The Block’ – you might ask yourself if you even need a “Project Team’ at all. Why can’t I just do it myself – it can’t be that hard, surely?

But having the best expertise and knowledge at your back will ensure your project is in a good position to be successful and progress without mishap and without time and money blowouts. Renovation can be a complex process and depending on the scale and complexity of your project, there are a number of professionals that you may need to engage to have the best chance of success.

Some are negotiable but others aren’t.  This is a fairly regulated industry so it important to know what you can and can’t do, and as a result who you can and who you can’t do without.

Engaging the right professional will save you money and stress. Don’t try and save money in critical areas – chances are it will backfire on you and on your budget. They have the expertise and knowledge to guide you in the right direction. Their past experiences on projects, and in some cases, their contacts can help streamline your project.

The right project team members will work and collaborate to the benefit of your project.

‘ When evaluating the value of your team think strategically and proactively and you will get a great outcome. ’

Remember your budget needs to cover the cost of their professional fees.  Keep in mind that these are upfront costs you need to allow for, as they will occcur well before construction starts.

But also keep in mind that if you decide not to engage a professional to undergo the work, the work will still need to be done in many cases.  So you need to factor in how you are going to achieve it.  You are essentially signing up to do the work yourself. This can leave you open to things going wrong if you don’t understand what you need to do, why and by when.

Who WILL you need on your team?

Some professional advice is not negotiable and actually required legally in some instances.

So who will I need on my team?

Architect or Building Designer

Even though you aren’t legally required to engage a designer or architect to design your home in Australia, the design of your home is a critical part of its success.  Remember just because a home is beautifully built if it’s poorly designed it will adversely impact your day to day life for years to come. It makes sense to engage a design professional to provide some level of input. But as a minimum, you will need to get a qualified Draftsman to draw your proposed design layout and ensure it meets the Building Code as part of your Building Approval.


A Surveyor identifies your property boundary locations and determines whether or not there are any encroachments over the property boundaries either way. An up to date Survey Plan is required as part of your Building Approval. 

Soil Test

A series of soil samples are taken from critical points on your block of land. The soil profile of each home site varies from place to place which can have an effect on the design of any footing and structure required.  All Building Approvals are required to include an up to date soil test.

Structural Engineer

A Structural Engineer looks at the structure of the building and other physical structures on your site. They provide the technical knowledge to ensure a weight-bearing structure is capable of handling the load placed on it.

While the architect is the primary designer of the building, the structural engineer is employed as a sub-consultant.  They also ensure a building project complies with the relevant building codes. A certificate from a Structural Engineer is required as part of your Building Approval.

Energy Efficiency Consultant

An Energy-efficient report is required as part of your Building Approval.

Building Certifier

A Building Certifier is a private individual who assesses and approves your proposed house plans,  giving you your Building Approval, on behalf of Council They undertake inspections at the end of construction to ensure that it complies with your drawings. You need approved plans before you can start construction and the building signed off before the handover.


Your builder is a qualified professional in charge of the construction phase of your project. Your builder needs to have the necessary qualification and experience for your project. They need to carry a QBCC license and carry the relevant insurances.

Who MIGHT I Need?

Other consultants may be required if your project triggers certain town planning issues, or if specific challenges and issues need to be addressed.

Town Planner

Every State and Local Council has rules and regulation that apply to every property that control what you can and can’t do on your land. A Town planner can give you advice and can negotiate with the council on your behalf over Town Planning matters. Depending on the type, complexity, and scope of your project, you may be required to lodge a Development Approval. in which case you need a Town Planner on your team

Hydraulic Engineer

A Hydraulic Engineer is mainly concerned with the flow and storage of water. You may need to engage one to advise you if your property falls within a flood overlay or an overland flow path.

Geotechnical Engineer

A Geotechnical Engineer specializes in evaluating the characteristics of the ground upon which a structure is built.  You may need to engage a geo-technical  engineer if you have issues or question about your properties soil makeup and your proposed structure.

Bushfire Hazard Consultant

If your property falls within a Local Council Bushfire overlay, you may need a Bushfire Attack Level ASsessment report as part of your Development Application  This report will highlight any measures you will need to take during the planning and construction of your home. Check out our chat with a Bushfire Hazard Consultant here

Some OPTIONAL Extras

There are many other professional you may want to consider engaging depending on the scale and complexity of your project, and your capabilities.

Interior Designer 

Interior designers focus on the aesthetics of an interior setting of your home. Expertise in decorative elements including color schemes, fittings, joinery, and furnishings, and other decorative elements of an interior is their forte. They understand how to coordinate the physical features of an interior to create a harmonious environment.

Kitchen Designer  

A kitchen designer specifically designs the layout of your kitchen and will help with the selection of materials, finishes, and fixtures.

Bathroom Designer

A Bathroom designer will design the layout of your bathrooms, ensuites and powder rooms and will help with the selection of materials, finishes, and fixtures.

Lighting Designer

A lighting designer will design the layout of your lighting fittings. They can also help with the selection of fitting and fixtures.

Electrical Engineer

An electrical engineer will design the layout of all things electrical. They are involved with the design, installation, and maintenance of ventilation, heating, and lighting systems  in your home. They consider the functionality of your home and your specific needs and requirements when designing the proposed layout. 

Quantity Surveyor/ Building Estimator

A Quantity Surveyor or Building Estimator is the person who calculates the amount of materials needed for building work, and how much they will cost. They can give you an idea of building costs at various stages of your project. This is important to ensure your project stays within your budget. Ongoing costing of your project during the design stage is an often ignored issue – but is vital to ensuring that you don’t get any nasty surprise when you get building quotes in. 

Landscape Architect/Designer  

The Landscape Design covers the overall layout and look of your garden and any external outdoor spaces. It includes all soft (gardens) or hard elements (paving, walls, structures)

Typically the landscaping is addressed late in the renovation process or, even after the fact.  But addressing it early is a wise strategy especially if there are structural or ‘hard‘ landscape elements which need to be addressed or could be more cost-effective if they are incorporated as part of the building contract rather than separately addressed later.

Pool Designer/Builder

If you are thinking about incorporating a pool into your renovation, then you will need to enage one of these. Typically, this is a design and construct process but the pool design and location might best be looked at during the early design phase to optimise the use of your available land.

Colour Consultant

A colour consultation can be an ideal way to choose the colours that would be perfect for your home interior or exterior.

This is not an exhaustive list and depending on the complexity, scope, and any other challenges your site or project throws up at you, some or all of these professions or maybe even others may be required.

Once again, understanding that you will need to enage some project members and allow for their fees as part of your upfront project costs ensures you don’t have any rude shocks further down the track.

Engaging the right team members and utilising their skills and experience wisely can actually save you money in the long run.

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