child window safety regulations

Dept Fair Trading’s Preventive Child Safety Initiative For Windows In Strata

By | Regulations | No Comments

Know of anyone living in, owning or doing work in a townhouse or unit block? It is an unfortunate statistic that each year, around 50 children fall from windows or balconies in Australia. Consequently many suffer serious injuries.

The Dept of Fair Trading has their deadline set for 13 March 2018 in an effort to prevent children falling from unlocked windows. Strata schemes must have window safety devices installed on all applicable windows. If a window is able to be opened and the internal floor level is higher than 2m above the surface of the ground externally and it is within a child’s reach – less than 1.7m above the inside floor, then a safety device must be installed.

A window that can be opened and is located higher than 1.7m above the floor does not require a window safety device.

The devices must enable the maximum opening to be less than 12.5cm.

More details on the required window devices can be found here:

In some instances where the windows are substandard and have suffered oxidisation and ageing effects from weather, these may be defitted and replaced.

Kirribilli Homes are licensed builders, members of the HIA and their renovation specialist services include the defit and removal of the old windows, plus delivery, scaffolding, rubbish management and installation of the new windows including timber reveals and architraves, as required.

High-quality, customised Australian made aluminium windows and doors are available in a range of colours and contemporary designs to fit every application.

Kirribili Homes’s installation partner is Lockrite who install the compliant window safety devices which are required to be robust and childproof. Lockrite is a Locksmith and Electronic Security company with over 20 years experience in the security industry. They are fully licensed and insured members of the Master Locksmiths association.

child window safety regulations

Our Top Five Tips For Kitchen Design Planning Success

By | Interior Design, Kitchens | No Comments

Kirribilli Homes has been a leading provider of quality residential renovations since 2009 having completed full renovation projects up to $1 million in renovation budget across Sydney. Naturally, kitchen renovations are a specialty service. We know first hand how a new kitchen refires meal times, boosting inspiration and the serviceability of a home generally not to mention upgrading property equity.

kitchen renovations sydney

Too many kitchen colours and textiles used can make kitchen spaces overwhelming or too much of an assault on the senses. Remember that kitchens are a work area that can be therapuetic. Colour choices include kickboards and pelmets (above wall cupboards.)

Based on experience there are key kitchen planning problem areas that we can curtail by offering our top 5 tips for kitchen design planning success. 

1. Choose all your appliances up front: Once you begin this choice journey, you will make up your mind about such options as gas VS electrical, wall oven VS upright cooker, 2 – door fridge VS fridge with side-by-side french doors (3-door). These choices are essential as a preliminary to planning cabinetry. If you are having a dishwasher, we’ll know to provide plumbing and electricals for it.

 2. Keep colour choices to a maximum of four only: We live in a busy information age. Many of us walk around with an iphone that “pings” all day with news and facebook posts demanding our attention. Any wonder that the current trend for one of the most labour intensive areas of your home is to not be “too busy” hitting our senses with too many colours and textiles. Many interior designers today agree to maintain a maximum of four colours or textiles to this very important area of the home. Keep it clam, serene and soothing. It’s your work space but don’t make it sensory-overpowering!

  3. Consider your lighting: The trend is LED. In many cases we are providing splashback lighting or under wall cupboard lighting to the food preparation areas. Look at where your cutting boards would be located. Look at natural lighting. Is there a dark corner? Give yourself the option to switch on a light to assist you in busy food prep times. Once you have this most overlooked area sorted, we can plan for the electricals.

  4. Confine your material selection for three areas: These areas are the benchtop, cabinetry and splashback. In some cases two colour choices are made for cabinetry doors and they may be contrasted in light and dark tones for a dramatic effect. The easiest choice of all is gloss white cabinetry doors which are then “bling’ed” with a nice engineered stone benchtop textile choice and then a coloured splashback. This keeps colour choices to a maximum of four. Keep it simple.

kitchen lighting sydney

One of the least planned elements of kitchen design is the lighting aspect. Who wants to do meal prepping in their own shadow? Think ahead and get the electricals strategically located!

 5. Plan to get other appliances up off the benchtop: Let’s talk about the microwave oven. Can we get it up off the benchtop space and installed into cabinetry? This is possible in a housing cupboard above a wall oven or in a dedicated microwave space or under in an island bench. This is essential to consider before cabinetry can be planned. Other appliances that are often overlooked in planning stages are the barista coffee machine, pod coffee maker, and wine fridge (sometimes used and perfect for cheese-making at home.) Should you be considering a dedicated cupboard for small appliances to free up your food prep areas?

Trusting that the above goes a long way to upgrading your kitchen renovation design planning success. To begin your kitchen renovation success make contact today with Kirribilli Homes where kitchens are our specialty! 

Understanding PC & PS Items Within Building Contracts – In Plain English

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Prime Cost (or PC) items & Provisional Sums (or PS) are generally found within building contracts used by building companies all over NSW.

Kirribilli Homes is a renovation specialist building company. We use HIA contracts. These may be known as being “industry standard.” Another contract often used is the MBA contract which also may be known as being “industry standard.”

On page 8 of the HIA “NSW Residential Building Contract for Renovations & Additions” (Edition 5a) the page is titled “Schedule 7. Prime Cost and Provisional Sum Items” (Clause 20.) Then the page allows for details of both Prime Cost Items and their allowance cost as well as Provisional Sum Items and their allowance cost.

Sometimes a customised vanity like the “his n’ hers” one shown above may be listed as a PC item with an allowance given and subject to the client’s selection of drop-in bowls and tap choice.

Logically both PC items and PS items have common ground in that they are attributed as having non-fixed pricing or what the industry calls allowance pricing for some items within the Scope of Works.

Often there is confusion about PC items and PS items. So we hope to bring you some clarity here in plain English especially since a final contract price may vary due to changes in PC and PS item costs. Some contracts generally referred to as “fixed price contracts” can still include PC and PS items with allowances given.

A PC item may be bathroom tiles, kitchen taps, flickmixers, shower heads, doors, vanities or even lighting. A cost has been attributed to the PC item/s to purchase the item/s specified. The agreed estimate price is included at contract signing to cover the cost of purchasing. These items are not fixed in price because they are not selected yet. We could say that these items are “subject to final selection by client” for example.

According to the Home Building Contracts Act (1991) a builder must estimate the cost of these items at or above the lowest amount these items could reasonably cost, which thereby and arguably provides good stewardship of the client.

For example a vanity may be listed as a PC item within the builders quotation and contract with an allowance of $500 but the client shops the item and selects a beautiful vanity which can be purchased at a price of $1,200. The building company must now raise a variation for the item which covers the additional $700 at the client’s expense. If the cost of the PC item changes from the allowance, then the final contract price changes as well.

A provisional sum (PS) carries a monetary allowance to cover labour or materials or both where the full extent of this item cannot be fully determined specifically at the contract stage. It may be that this particular work may need to be commenced and underway to understand the complexity of the work, the depth of the work or the accuracy of the work. It may be that unforeseen elements can only be revealed during the project.

Often appliances for a modern kitchen renovation may be listed as PC items and an allowance given to cover the cost, unless the client is sure about brand and models.

For example the installation of a large bi-fold door may be overseen by a structural engineer and listed as a provisional sum item covering both the purchase of the door and labour. The variables within this renovation item would include the relative wall strength and integrity of the structural timbers revealed once the Gyprock sheeting is removed exposing more fully the relative installation area. The structural engineer is responsible for the tensile strength and would typically wish to revisit the site once building work has commenced. Other variables would include flashing and the best use of sills such as tiled sills and brick sills. These are best chosen after the bi-fold unit is installed. Therefore the bi-fold installation is listed as a provisional sum in the best interests of providing a quality job.

Changes in the install equate to changes to the final contract amount.

Discussion with Kirribilli Homes means that clients are able to plan well for such contingencies. Some pre-shopping for PC items can be done online to the supplier network to get a “feel” for more “accurate” PC item pricing with final selection done in-store at the convenient time. Overruns in pricing is undesirable for both parties (client as well as builder) particularly where the company such as Kirribilli Homes is desirous of a good reputation and the propensity to be referred well to others.

More often than not it is the “cheap quotation” with minimal allowances for PC and PS items that red flag the client and suggest that the builder or renovation company are being “strategic” with their pricing to win the project.

Hoping the above assists in bringing clarity to the area of understanding prime cost items and provisional sums on builder’s contracts.

To discuss your renovation plans with Kirribilli Homes, contact Michael Hunnam directly on
0416 621 945

water penetration prevention

Undetected Water Penetration Issues Within Your Property Can Escalate Into 10’s of $1,000’s of $$$ In Renovation Costs

By | Waterproofing | No Comments

There’s a well known saying that most people would agree with, and that saying is: “prevention is better than cure.” It is often quoted as relating to health but applied to the building / home renovation industry it couldn’t be more true.

Business Manager Michael Hunnam of Hills-based renovation specialist company Kirribilli Homes says “in our profession time and experience has revealed how water penetration issues left either undetected or ignored have cost homeowners 10’s of 1,000’s of $$$ in rectification work. What may have been a small repair issue has become a major renovation issue!”

A simple site visit is the remedy. This allows for examination of all accessible parts of the property, including interior and exterior, the roof spaces, sub-floor areas, walls, accessible plumbing and the site property can also be inspected.

Issues to spot is structural movement, visible water penetration, deterioration in the building elements such as roof tiles, flashing, guttering, roofing, rendering, painting, shower and bathroom areas, evidence of waterproofing failure, water damaged Gyprock wall or ceiling sheeting.

These areas left undetected can quickly escalate in price costing the homeowner unnecessary costs unless they can be detected by a learned,  experienced and licensed builder.

A new homeowner in Baulkham Hills was delighted to win at the auction [mid 2016] but was quickly remorseful when Project Manager Neil Walker of Kirribilli Homes spotted a defective copper pipe in the main bathroom that appeared to be leaking into the interior wall. On the surface it seemed like a minor issue however the dripping pipe had leaked water into much of the timber frame including the bottom plates and studs over months and months thereby deteriorating the structural strength and integrity into the load-bearing walls around the main bathroom.

As a by-product of this, large cracks caused by the deflection of roof weight load had appeared outside the bathroom hallway. To now access the bottom plates, demolition of the bathroom’s timber framed walls, wall lining and tiles was essential and a complete rebuild.

In other words, an unplanned bathroom renovation. As the new owner wanted the ensuite to match the main bathroom, the decision was made to renovate the ensuite as well adding a walk-in robe.

These bathroom renovations were not originally intended in the owner’s budget, thus altering the overall vision and project for the residence leaving a depleted landscaping budget.

In another example in Sydney’s Hill’s area, water penetration sourced from the corner of a main bathroom shower where waterproofing had deteriorated, had compromised the  strength of the subfloor. Hydraulic jacks were used to jack up the house to replace rotted timbers including new floor joists.
In all, five additional days labour was added to this bathroom renovation costing not only more in additional work and dollars, but created a longer disruption for the family. In this instance there was the welcome news was that the upswing in sub-floor moisture had not attracted termites.

Ruan Vanzyl of Pest Shield knows from years of pest control experience how termites come in to infest a property through moisture. Says Ruan, “Termites are certainly attracted to moisture. In fact one in three homes in Sydney will be subject to termite attack in its lifetime, and NO insurance company covers for termite damage.” Find out more about termite infestation and Pest Shield’s treatments at

High pressure water tests of your roof may take only a few hours but is necessary to detect water penetration leaks from your roof into the below supporting timbers. Water is often found to be merciless in how it can cause costly damage if not detected.

It’s not enough to just call in any handyman or builder, it is essential to benefit from the required and learned skills and knowledge to inspect and identify defects and causes in floor and wall tiling systems to ensure compliance with the NCC and Australian Standards requirements that comes from training, ongoing learning and time and experience in the field.

Tamara Wikuruk of Harcourts Baulkham Hills has over 15 years experience as a real estate agent and is known for her ability to get the maximum possible result for her clients. She still holds the record for the highest sale price in Baulkham Hills and Winston Hills. She says “I’ve seen first hand how motivated but discerning buyers diminish in their enthusiasm the moment they spot a tell-tale water issue.”

“An inspection by an experienced licensed builder and renovations specialist such as Kirribilli Homes will go a long way in clarifying tell-tales and which issues will wind up being the most damaging, inconvenient and the most costly to rectify if not detected and attended to.”

If you know you have visible cracks or signs of water penetration issues in your property or you would like to benefit from a on-site visit call Neil Walker at Kirribilli Homes directly:
0423 566 072. You may end up saving 10’s of $1,000’s. Prevention really is better than cure.

Want to know more about real estate agent Tamara Wikuruk of Harcourts? See her profile and videos here:
Speak to Tamara on 0422 279 939 or email her on

laundry room renovation sydney

Goodbye Tired Old Laundry. Hello Classy Domestic “Command Centre.”

By | Bathrooms | No Comments

Take an original, fatigued, water-logged laundry in Sydney’s Hills area and receive the new mandate:

“Gut the laundry internals back to brickwork, I want a decent counter bench space because we basically wash every day, tuck away the front load washing machine (7.0kg) to make it neat.”

“Primarily I want a brand new “Domestic Command Centre” for doing laundry plus capable storage for all the cleaning products and I want some open shelves so the wife has a spot for her new digital radio.”

“And I don’t want the typical laundry cabinetry. I want better quality than that. I want kitchen cabinetry used so it takes the wear and tear, and lasts longer. I want a nice flick-mixer and a nice splashback!”

“And while you’re at it, can you drop in an extra toilet into the laundry? It would be super-handy!”

The client’s love of all things coffee inspired the latte-coloured doors, coffee bean-coloured splashback, and cream bench-top with contrasting black Italian non-slip tiles.

An additional double power-point was installed into the splashback for ease of appliance use. In all, a new inspired space for the client to work in yet totally enjoy!

Want some ideas to upgrade your laundry space? Call Michael Hunnam for a chat on 0416 621 945

hamptons style interior refurbishment sydney

Escape To The Hamptons Beach Lifestyle Without Leaving Home | Part Two

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The previous article provided an overview of renovating residential homes in Australia appropriating the USA East Coast coastal style known as “Hamptons living.”

Hamptons is the name given for the relaxed breezy living typified by the holidaying well-to-do in Long Island, NY and made famous by the film “Something’s Gotta Give” starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

It was Diane Keaton’s character Erica Barry’s home in the Hamptons that gave Hollywood spotlight and widespread acclaim for the styling.

In Australia, this often means trading “dark & dingy” for “light & breezy” as the Hamptons style typifies a classic beachside palette with purposeful dark touches and indirect natural lighting. Think light, airy, coastal and practical!

At Kirribilli Homes we have often mused about being “the wall removal specialists” with recent renovation projects in West Pennant Hills, Castle Hill and Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s beautiful Hills Districts.

These projects employed the use of structural steel welded on site as directed by our own qualified local Structural Engineer, girding up for greater weight bearing loads and enabling removal of walls to gain free flow of living areas and for raked ceilings to be installed.
The Hamptons style combines open living with classic decorating and rustic influences. In this second article we wanted to help you “get your head around” the rising popularity of Hamptons styling, so here’s …


The Hamptons Style Elements List:

Walls removed to gain generously spatial and sociable living areas.

Ceilings raised or raked to attain airy spaces.

Windows enlarged or added to optimize natural light.

Interiors are styled with a neutral canvass. Paint colours for the Hamptons wall choices may include:

  • Dulux Natural White
  • Dulux Chalk USA
  • Dulux White Exchange Half
  • Dulux Beige Royal
  • Taubman’s Quill
  • Dulux Slate Blue.


Skirting boards, window sills, trims, doors, eaves, potplants, vases, chairs in a chalky white paint colour.

Metallic deco pieces such as hurricane lamps and bowls.

Rustic art on soft furnishings and accessories such as cushions, rugs and wall art.

Generous single-coloured fabric lounges.

Rattan & wicker sofas for the more casual setting.

Occasional chairs with contrasting splashes of colour compared with the main lounge and/or patterned fabrics.

Servery from the eat-in kitchen into the al fresco area. White is the classic colour for kitchens but with dark floors or timber-look trims and some will have silver or pale blue or lilac trims or colour added.

Chalky white painted pergola.

Interiors possibly with shiplap wall cladding.

Benchseats in the garden area for cosy socialising.

Stylish French doors opening into covered entertaining areas.

Large deck areas.

Timber-topped tables & benches.

Plantation shutters installed.

Soft furnishings include baskets, throws, lamps, candles and wall art depicting coastal themes such as beaches, sand dunes, coastlines, nautical and seascapes.

Outdoor shower.

For a fun touch of interior homewares consider wall hooks for beach bags, beach towels, beach hats – and perhaps a beach umbrella or surfboard?

We think that the overall feel of  “Hamptons styling” that makes it so appealing is the combination of elements of laid back, sociable, yet classic and sophisticated. It is an upmarket yet timeless treatment.

If you are considering to renovate your home ‘Hampton’s style” contact Michael Hunnam at Kirribilli Homes on 0416 621 945

hamptons style refurbishment

Escape To The Hamptons Beach Lifestyle Without Leaving Home! | Part One

By | Interior Design | No Comments

Creating the Long Island, New York USA chic beach look is influencing home renovators in Sydney to remove boxed-in living spaces by eliminating walls to create liberated & free-flowing living areas!

You can escape to the Hamptons but without leaving home and capitalizing on this popular beach house trend.

The Hamptons style combines open living with classic decorating but with rustic influences.

Here is some ground rules for this growing coastal retreat trend:

Gone is the stamp-pad floor plan where one box representing a living area follows another. Walls are removed and living room flows into dining room flowing into kitchen and … you get the idea.

Ceilings are raised or raked (sometimes following the roofline) to produce more modish, classy space.

Go for bright interiors with, plenty of natural daylight and larger windows to maximise light entrance.

The Hamptons style is well-groomed. The style guide typically includes a neutral canvass of light walls with skirting boards and window trims set against bold, dramatic touches like contrasting timber and dark elements.

You’ll see chocolate-coloured flooring set together with neutral walls.
Classic navy used white and metallic finishes is all the rage. This is the artistic license for interesting rustic art on accessories which includes cushions, rugs and wall art.

This is a beach house decor so draw from nature’s own palette: deep ocean blue, driftwood, seashell neutrals, sandy beach pearl, bleached timber colours, cloud white and for those desiring some eye-catching colours, go warm with coral colour matched with teal and contrasted with charcoal.

Go for clean contemporary home ware pieces balanced with rustic and imperfect decor items for that coastal wow factor.

Remember the Hamptons feel is relaxed. So the larger, open-handed lounges are characteristic here in natural single-colour fabrics. Or choose to dress it down with rattan & wicker sofas for laid-back beach ambiance. Team with occasional chairs. But here choose contrasting splashes of colour to the main lounge and consider patterned fabrics.

We adore this casual style so much because it is upmarket and gracious. You can have so much fun giving your home the Hamptons “collected” look that has a legacy feel of many years of belonging, family, friends and home.

More in the article: Escape To The Hamptons Beach Lifestyle Without Leaving Home! |  Part Two

australian building regulations warranties

Understanding Warranties Relating To Building & Renovation Work in NSW | Part One

By | Regulations | No Comments

Commencing a new renovation work can be a daunting process for many homeowners, but there is one area that, given good information from the outset, your stress levels may be reduced significantly and that area is understanding warranties on building and renovation work.

This article is therefore written to bring general warranty information for those building or renovating in NSW. It’s definitely worth knowing what kinds of warranties you’re entitled to.

Warranties may be said to be comprised of three parts:

  1. Statutory or “Implied” Warranties as implied by government (state) building acts and legislation.
  2. Manufacturer’s Warranties.
  3. Home Warranty Insurance (icare hbcf) cover taken out by the builder Statutory or “implied” warranties are legal requirements that generally apply to transactions between consumers, sellers and service providers as specified under state acts and legislation.

Manufacturer’s warranties apply to building and renovation products and materials that are purchased by the builder and carry a warranty by the manufacturer.

Home Warranty Insurance is mandatory in NSW. It offers welcome protection for you the client. It covers a client from financial loss caused by the builder’s failure to rectify or compensate for defective or incomplete residential building work.

The NSW Government’s Fair Trading website provides this example of a manufacturer’s warranty:

Example: “A consumer buys a deck chair that comes with a written warranty saying the manufacturer will replace the deck chair if it breaks within two years of the purchase date. This is a manufacturer’s warranty.”


Builders are responsible for taking out Home Warranty Insurance at the time of entering into a building contract with a client.

The Government determines the policy terms of Home Warranty insurance generally, manages the administration of it, and is actually sole underwriter.

This means when insurance claims arise, the Government pays out the claim to the home owner.

In NSW any building work over the contractual amount of $20,000 requires Home Warranty Insurance. The duration of Home Warranty cover is 6 years on structural work and 2 years non-structural after completion of work.

Suffice to say that Kirribilli Homes takes out Home Warranty Insurance on building and renovation work over the contractual amount of $20,000.

For more information refer here:

The icare hbcf provides a “safety net” for homeowners who have contracted for residential building work and their builder has been unable to honour their commitments under the building contract due to insolvency, death or disappearance.

The icare hbcf website explains: “The safety net is also provided where the builder’s licence is suspended for failure to comply with a Tribunal or Court Order to pay compensation to the homeowner.”
“Insurance under the HBCF is required to be obtained by builders for all residential construction projects over $20,000.”



More can be found on warranties information for those building or renovating in NSW in the follow up article: “Understanding Warranties Relating To Building & Renovation Work in NSW Part Two.”

specialist bathroom renovations sydney

Silver Grey & Chrome Elements Create A Lustrous Bathroom Style Statement

By | Bathrooms | No Comments

This brand new bathroom renovation is striking with it’s stunning silvery porcelain tile setting. It makes the white 900mm triple-mirrored shave cabinet and white vanity cabinet with large capacity soft-close drawers really stand out!!

The large bathroom area fearures over 30m2 of floor-to-ceiling tiles with two tile-insert floor wastes providing a seamless and maximised wet area domain. Square tile-insert floor wastes (as shown) are a clever and unobtrusive installation as they enable drier floors quicker, while highlighting the chosen and desired textile of choice.

The chome accessories like the high quality Phoenix brand flickmixers to shower and vanity and the 230mm rainforest showerhead really sparkle against the silver grey under the LED lighting.

All the bathroom elements come together in a restful symphony of classy modern finishes that will no doubt continue to prove very popular within Sydney’s hottest renovation season ever.

If you’re looking for a stylish new bathroom renovation like this one in your home call Neil on 0423 566 072 or Michael on 0416 621 945 at Kirribilli Homes.

kitchen renovations sydney

New Integrated Kitchen & Laundry Design Is A Winning Solution For Building A Large Kitchen In A Small to Medium Space.

By | Kitchens | No Comments

Overcoming limited space to provide a larger kitchen layout was problematic for a Kirribilli Homes client desiring a full renovation in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills.

The dividing wall between the conventional laundry and kitchen was removed and the second laundry door to backyard removed also, framed and re-bricked to allow for a new blank design canvass.

The new layout solution was to draw on the European concealed laundry concept, but with a modern twist following the client’s desire for open plan living throughout the home.

The end result exceeded the goals of the brief: maximised (half-dozen extra appliance) cupboards, a dedicated coffee/espresso machine cupboard, large 1.1m double food pantry for the bulkier produce items, matching tub/sink, concealed inbuilt front load washer, 900mm wide underbench gas oven, and wider-than-normal food prep benchtops most being at 700mm depth (not 600mm nominal depth,) plus a 1.5m island bench with twin cutlery drawers and 4 deep pots/pans drawers.

The kitchen centrepiece is a well-chosen Morrocan-inspired lightshade which also launched the bold backdrop colour allowing the extensive glass splashback (Dulux “Breadcrumb” colour) to really “pop” by contrast. A truly tasteful result any interior designer would no doubt love to add to their portfolio.

The expectation is that this will become a popular kitchen renovation design as users are able to do a quick 30-minute wash concealed behind beautiful cabinet doors – and perform this task at convenient proximity to getting the evening meal underway.

This is made especially attractive given current whisper-quiet front load washers such as the Fisher & Paykel 7.5kg load capacity washer.

If you’re looking to space-saving solutions like this one in your home call Neil at Kirribilli Homes on 0423 566 072 or Michael on 0416 621 945.