Meet BuildHer Kathryn Eggington

Her story isn’t a straight forward one, that’s for sure, but it does end happily with a stunning home in Albert Park ready for a new owner!

Purchased in November 2019, the plan was to get the build underway in mid 2020. The house had been renovated approximately 35 years previously adding vital space on the second level so the footprint could remain untouched. Kathryn planned to remove walls, alter stair positioning, strip bathrooms and kitchen and hopefully undertake all works without the requirement for a Building Permit.

I had my builder, a friend’s partner James, whose work I had seen and was super impressed with, so itwas all go. That is until I identified that he was actually a Carpenter working off another builder’s license. For several reasons this could not work.

After putting her house out to tender again, she received 3 quotes and decided to go with a builder that she’d had conversations with during the previous 18 months. He had been a builder for 26 years and his referees were happy with work that they were undergoing with him, at that time. All was well and she was on her way after paying the deposit. Cracks then started to show when her Domestic Warranty Insurance was not forthcoming. After many excuses and unreturned phone calls, Kathryn also noticed there was no progress with gaining necessary permits from Building Surveyors.

I started investigating my builder online and found that he had been ordered to court by Fair work Australia and had had is licence suspended 2 weeks earlier. Fortunately for him he had paid the fine and his license was reinstated. Unfortunately for me his referees were now stressed and unhappy and I was still locked into the contract!

After engaging a lawyer to ensure she was legally released from the contract, the situation declined even further. In the end and with the advice of her lawyer, she decided it was best she walk away and lose her deposit.

The timing now for doing and completing her project was drifting right out to the point that Kathryn’s financial advisor was suggesting she consider selling the property as is. Covid was here, there was the possibility of a war which was all going to place unknowns on the economy.

I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I sold and walked away from this opportunity to renovate. The house could be so much more than it was plus it was my dream and I wanted to continue.

Being a very trusting person, Kathryn was left questioning herself and who she could now trust! 

Now this is where it all starts to turn around. 

Kathryn engaged another builder who was highly recommended and who worked with her, providing a Project Manager for the demolition and structural work and then supported her in organising the remaining fit off and fit out. Wanting to achieve a great open layout, Kathryn credits her builder who is also a Structural Engineer for making this happen. The Reno commenced quickly, and she finally had a builder who was supportive and a great communicator.

The end result is that my demolition and total refurb commenced 17 January 2022 and my house was market ready 21 October 2022, so a 10-month turnaround. This was an outstanding result!

We are pleased to report her final builder has been very professional at every turn and has restored her faith considerably.

Being heard on site with the trades proved to be an issue at first, if she saw an issue it took a while to get her point across without being dismissed.

Throughout the build, my whole thought process was to keep my eye on the big picture and to keep my end goal in sight. After all, this Reno was about bringing my vision to life, so managing the trades was hugely important. I did this via lots of communication via text, giving notice quickly if there was going to be a hold up relating to them, plus paying them promptly.

Ensuring that the products and materials were always available on time was also a highly important role for Kathryn.

Due to my build being so delayed I had a lot of selections finalised with deposits paid plus I made the decision that if any other product I was to choose wasn’t available I would select something else that was. It’s interesting when I now walk through my finished house that there is nothing that I would change, and it’s turned out every bit the vision that I wanted. 

Another challenge was the final finishing off of the house including going through and correcting any defects and coordinating this. Kathryn moved back into the house late June which worked well as it gave her time to test things like new lights, plumbing, appliances and heating/cooling. It’s great now as I know that the house is in excellent working and ready for the next owners to enjoy.

Kathryn’s Take-aways

  • One of my most favourite and eye-opening parts of the job was the demo… I remember standing on the ground floor thinking as I unexpectedly looked at the sky through a new gap in the second storey roof, there is no turning back now! This is not like a diet or joining the gym that I could just give up, I had to see this thing through, till the end!!!
  • I enjoyed so many parts of the build, especially the fit outs of the wet areas and being able to see that the spaces actually worked well was really satisfying. Completing the pretty things at the very end including tiling the front porch and planting the garden is what makes me smile as that’s it, my vision has come to life and it’s perfect.
  • The learning about myself on this project was invaluable! I have learnt that building doesn’t overly stress me (which is a big surprise), riding the waves and managing the people and their different personalities is my strong suit. Add lots of positive regular communication and respect for everyone involved and I have ended up with the makings of a great team.
  • Will I do it again? Definitely, I will build again. Unquestionably! It’s been a huge learning curve which I want to build on combined with my love for creating beautiful spaces. I now understand that every problem on site can be solved, and every trade can be replaced if not up to standard, even during covid and I know more, than I ever credited myself with. It’s a good feeling.
  • Huge recognition must go to the Buildher Community as just knowing that I had the brains trust and support of the Buildher girls was invaluable. Being a part of a group that always had my back, saved me from further mistakes, gave me confidence and encouraged me which is exactly what I believe we all need in life. To know that when you have a building dilemma that you have a specialised and experienced group of women available at the tap of your keyboard is gold. My wonderful friend Lisa Keddie who introduced me to this group was always a wealth of knowledge, providing guidance and support at any time throughout my build. With my house going to auction in 2 weeks I am clear that its due to some very special women that I can sit here grateful for the experience and looking forward to the next.

Check out Kathryn’s listing especially the video HERE.

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