Got a question? here's some info that might help

At Barnes & Matina, we manage everything from site analysis to town planning, final working drawings to build permit and builder engagement, focusing on creating spaces that align with your lifestyle and aspirations whether its for your knock down rebuild, extension or renovation.

But often, before a project starts, you might have questions. Here are some common questions and answers that might help you get started.

What are the steps involved in the knock down rebuild process?

The knockdown rebuild process involves several key steps, each crucial for successfully transforming an existing property into a brand new home. Here’s a detailed guide:

Preliminary Inquiries and Research:

Before diving into the project, it’s essential to conduct thorough research. This includes reviewing title documents and checking local council regulations to understand any restrictions or requirements for the property. Additionally, consulting with financial teams can provide insights into borrowing capacity and financial restructuring options.

Establishing a Team:

Engaging a team of professionals is vital for a knockdown rebuild project. This typically includes town planners, architectural designers, and builders. Town planners assist with navigating regulatory processes, architects design the new home, and builders handle construction. Meeting with builders helps in understanding the desired house design and associated costs.

Council Approvals:

If required, obtaining approvals from the local council is a crucial step in the process. Councils have varying timeframes for approvals, usually taking three to four months though this can vary greatly depending on complexity of the project. Working closely with town planners and your designer ensures all necessary paperwork is in order for the application.

Completing Working Drawings and Interior Design:

With council approvals secured, the focus shifts towards developing and finalising the finer details of the home. This includes completing working drawings, which are detailed plans that guide the construction process. Working drawings encompass architectural, structural, electrical, and plumbing plans, ensuring every aspect of the new home is meticulously planned and executed. Additionally, now is the time to engage in the interior design process to personalise each space. This involves selecting finishes, fixtures, and fittings that align with their aesthetic preferences and lifestyle needs. Interior designers and your architect play a crucial role in guiding this process, offering expert advice and presenting options that enhance functionality and visual appeal.

Builder selection contract signing:

Once approvals are obtained, it’s time to engage with the chosen builder or tender to multiple builders to engage the one that suits your needs. Once the building contractor is chosen they will prepare a build contract.  The contract should include details such as the contract drawings, color selections and fittings, fixtures and finished schedule. Legal representatives should review the contract thoroughly to ensure clarity and address any concerns.


Demolition marks the physical start of the project. Depending on the builder’s services, they may manage the demolition process or coordinate with a demolition company. It’s essential to disconnect utilities and salvage any reusable materials from the old structure.

Site Preparation and Build Commencement:

After demolition, the site is prepared for construction. Progress payments for the home build are made at each stage of the construction process. The construction typically progresses through stages like foundation/base, frame, lock-up, fixing, and completion.


Once construction is complete, there will be a walk-through assessment to ensure all contractual obligations are met. Builders usually provide an assessment certificate outlining the work done. If satisfactory, a keys handover marks the completion of the project.

Overall, the knockdown rebuild process involves careful planning, coordination with professionals, adherence to regulations, and effective communication. While it can be a lengthy endeavor, the result is a brand-new home tailored to the homeowner’s vision and lifestyle, often in a location they already love.

The short answer is yes, though to give you an understanding here’s our explanation: A permit is required to demolish a house in Victoria due to legal and regulatory obligations outlined in the Building Act 1993 and associated regulations:

Legal Compliance:

The Building Act 1993 (Act) governs construction, alteration, and demolition activities in Victoria. Section 29A and 29B of the Act specifically address the requirements for obtaining a permit for demolition activities.

Protection of Heritage Buildings:

Section 28 of the Act mandates obtaining the report and consent of the Executive Director under the Heritage Act 2017 for the demolition or alteration of a building listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. This requirement aims to preserve and protect heritage buildings that hold cultural or historical significance.

Urban Planning Considerations:

Planning and Environment Act 1987 (PEA) requires obtaining report and consent from the responsible authority (usually the relevant council) for certain demolition activities. This ensures that demolitions align with urban planning goals and regulations, including considerations for streetscape, visual impact, and neighborhood character.

Preservation of Streetscape and Facades:

Section 29A(1) of the Act outlines specific criteria for when report and consent are required for demolishing parts of a building, particularly concerning volume and facade tests. These tests aim to preserve the visual integrity of streetscapes and facades facing public areas.

In summary:  

Obtaining a permit to demolish a house in Melbourne is essential to ensure legal compliance, protect heritage assets, uphold urban planning objectives, preserve streetscapes, facilitate timely processing, and adhere to fee regulations outlined in the Building Act 1993 and associated legislation. Failure to obtain the necessary permits may lead to legal repercussions and hinder the smooth execution of demolition activities.

When deciding to embark on a renovation of a heritage listed building, thorough comprehension of the process and adherence to regulations and local policies are essential. In Victoria, this involves a nuanced understanding of Heritage Overlay requirements, which serve as vital protective measures for preserving the historical and cultural significance of local areas.

Before initiating any alterations, it’s imperative to engage early on and obtain approval from council. This ensures that proposed changes align with preservation objectives while enhancing the building’s original character. Careful consideration should be given to maintaining the integrity of the original fabric and structure; and harmonising its historical essence with the new proposal.

Restoration efforts demand meticulous attention to detail, emphasising the retention and enhancement of original design elements. Employing skilled people who grasp the intricacies of heritage preservation is paramount. Materials sourced for restoration must mirror the quality, appearance, and style of the existing components, ensuring a seamless integration that honours the building’s heritage.

Extensions to heritage properties necessitate scrutiny to ensure they align with the building’s historical significance and do not compromise the overall character of the area. Planning permits will be required for alterations or additions, highlighting the significance of consulting with local authorities to secure necessary approvals before commencement.

The preservation of facades, often emblematic of a building’s heritage value, mandates careful consideration. Any modifications, whether painting, rendering, or alterations, must adhere to council guidelines to safeguard the property’s unique architectural identity.

Demolition within a Heritage Overlay zone warrants meticulous assessment, as it may only be permitted under specific circumstances and with the requisite planning approvals. Prior consultation with council is imperative to navigate these regulations effectively and ensure compliance with preservation objectives.

By adhering to Heritage Overlay requirements and engaging in informed decision making guided by preservation principles, heritage renovations can successfully uphold the legacy of these cherished structures for future generations to appreciate.

Site Investigation:

Site Survey:  Engage a registered land surveyor to measure boundaries, existing and adjoining site conditions.

Property research:  Investigate zoning, schedules, overlays, neighbouring properties, significant trees, and subsurface elements like pipes and easements.

Design Phase:

Feasibility Study:  Evaluate the scope, budget, and specifications with an architectural designer or builder.

Concept Drawings:  Sketch a project design draft considering building and local law regulations.

Planning Permit Requirements:  Determine if a planning permit is needed and obtain it if necessary.

Consultation with Professionals:  Seek advice from architects, builders, or building designers.


Estimate:  Discuss project requirements with your engaged professionals to assess costs and budget requirements.

Quotation Review:  Review project estimates and ensure it aligns with your project goals and budget.

Design Consideration:  Choose a design approach balancing budget and aesthetics.

Construction Drawings & Building Permit:

Final Documentation:  Prepare necessary construction documentation including soil and energy reports, architectural drawings, and engineering designs in conjunction with the endorsed planning permit if obtained.

Engage Building Surveyor:  Research and engage a reputable registered building surveyor (RBS).

Building Permit Application:  Submit documentation to building surveyor for assessment.

Finding the Right Builder:

Tendering Process:  Solicit bids from multiple builders to ensure competitiveness.

Budget Re-evaluation:  Review presented costs based on the finalised design.

Builder Selection:  Choose a builder based on experience, price, and quality.

Contract Signing:  Finalise contract based on accepted quotation and construction documentation.


Commencement:  Start construction according to the agreed timeline and specifications.

Monitoring:  Regularly oversee the progress to ensure adherence to plans and quality standards.

Final Inspection and Handover:

Completion:  Conduct final inspection to rectify defects and obtain necessary certificates.

Handover:  Receive relevant information and documentation for warranties and maintenance.

By following these steps diligently and working closely with professionals, homeowners can successfully plan and execute their house extension or renovation projects.

Use these critical steps to navigate extension or renovation pitfalls:

Verify Contractor Credentials:

Thoroughly vet potential contractors, ensuring they are licensed and registered. Verify their qualifications to ensure they meet industry standards and regulations.

Engage Qualified Professionals:

Hire experienced professionals such as designers, architects, or builders to oversee the project. Their expertise will prevent you overextending your capabilities and ensure efficient execution.

Plan Design Considerations:

Take time to plan meticulously, considering every aspect of the design. Seek professional guidance to avoid rushed decisions and mid-project alterations, which can lead to increased costs and delays.

Manage Time Effectively:

Allocate sufficient time for each phase of the project to prevent stress and ensure attention to detail. Effective time management is key to staying on schedule.

Prudently Manage Budget:

Set aside a safety margin of 10-15% to safeguard against unforeseen expenses. Prudent budget management prevents cost overruns and ensures financial stability throughout the project.

Maintain Oversight:

Actively oversee work progress, ensuring adherence to standards and timelines. While fostering good relations with contractors, maintain a professional boundary to uphold project objectives.

By following these steps and prioritising qualified professionals, meticulous planning, and adherence to standards, homeowners can successfully navigate their house extension or renovation project while minimising stress and maximising value.