By Clare Chapman

With more and more people choosing to live in smaller spaces, renovations of these types of dwellings are on the rise. While many aspects of an apartment renovation may be similar to that of a renovation project in a standalone house, there are certain things that need to be done differently. We had a chat with the experts to find out about planning an apartment renovation.

Here are our top six things to consider:

Apartment living has many benefits, and if you’re considering renovating an apartment to tailor it to your lifestyle, this type of living can be even more enjoyable. However, when embarking on an apartment renovation, there are slightly different steps that need to be taken to ensure the project’s success.

Body corporate

The first thing to consider is what restrictions if any, a body corporate has in place. Often, there will be clear rules or guidelines in place around what can be done to the exterior. These types of rules are generally designed to ensure the overall look and feel of the building is kept cohesive.

Internally, there may be restrictions on how much can be changed in terms of layout. Sometimes, moving load-bearing walls may not be possible but there are generally limited restrictions around interior renovations of an apartment aside from structural issues.


Another point to carefully consider before deciding to renovate an apartment is the neighbours. Because more people reside in close proximity to one another in apartment-style living, making sure the neighbours are onside and aware of what is happening is important – much more so than in a renovation of a standalone house where neighbours are likely to be further away.

During construction, noise and the times of day at which it is permitted may be set out in the body corporate rules, but it is also always a good idea to talk to, and consult with, your neighbours about the construction timeframe, noise minimisation and days and times when the noise will be made. Ensuring your neighbours know what to expect will help to make the process as smooth as possible.


Gaining access to an apartment can be one of the most challenging parts of a renovation of this kind. “It’s often the case that a lift may need to be temporarily taken out of commission,” Refresh Renovations specialist Rob McEwan says. “Generally, you’ll also need to protect that lift from damage by lining it with protective materials.”

This is often easier to organise in larger buildings where more than one lift is in operation. However, if it is a smaller building with just one lift servicing all apartments, careful planning and consultation with both the body corporate and residents will need to be undertaken to ensure no one is inconvenienced and everyone is aware of times when the lift may be unavailable.


Planning is vital for apartment renovations. “Really thorough planning is critical to ensure everything goes smoothly,” Rob says. “It’s important in almost every aspect of the project, from access through to consultation with neighbours. But it’s also vital in terms of logistics. Working in smaller spaces means tradespeople need to be carefully managed to ensure each job is started and finished at the right times to allow to ease of access for the next tradesperson.”

Having a skilled project manager is also important in terms of materials arriving on site. “Because there is generally limited space to store materials aside from in the site itself, making sure materials only arrive on site when they are needed is important. This is key to a project running smoothly and reduces the requirement for any storage outside of the site.”

Living arrangements

When renovating standalone houses, it can be the case that there is some flexibility in terms of living arrangements during the construction phase. “Often, homeowners will relocate to a part of the house that isn’t being renovated, for example,” Rob says.

“However, in an apartment that flexibility to use only parts of the dwelling may not be an option due to its smaller size. Depending on the extent of the project, it may be that alternative living arrangements may need to be made for periods of time throughout the renovation to allow for the construction phase to be concluded as efficiently as possible.”

Project management

The best way to ensure an apartment renovation proceeds smoothly, on schedule and on budget is to engage an expert. Refresh Renovations offer a complete project management service from initial design through to final completion of the project. “Making sure you have someone managing an apartment renovation who has the skill and knowledge to ensure everything runs smoothly is key,” Rob says.


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Contact Refresh about your renovation

Want to know more? Get in touch with the renovation experts at Refresh now to find out what they can do for you and your home. Refresh Renovations Specialists offer a free initial one-hour consultation that will help you make the decision whether their team is the one for you. This consultation is no obligation and is a chance to understand what they can do for you.

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