Property Development

Building a house is a lot harder than writing software?!

A Home is without doubt one of those important things that effects our lives. We will all own or rent one at some point in our lives. Housing is everywhere. Very similar to software, it’s an integral part of what we do.

Our Homes are also a major investment for us where we tie up huge amounts of capital and wealth. So, it’s not surprising that TV programmes on all aspects of property are so popular with the masses.

Buying a holday home or renovating a second property to rent out present enticing investment ideas for people. A 60 minute episode of Grand Design will make us feel our creative juices itching for a power tool to knock down a wall or build an extension. Some may even see property development as such an easier way to make a living than having to working in an office.

Well that’s kind of true. The reality and horror stories of people who enthusiastically jump into renovating a property and hit difficulties is also quite common. I wonder why?

I was playing with Archimate recently and created a model of the business functions and services that must be managed during a major property build project.

Property Development Business Model

I know from personal experience, how painful this process can become when a complex, expensive and challenging renovation unravels. The unpredictable and frequent issues stretched me physically, mentally and emotionally. The compounding effect of pressure due to time, budget and quality made me realise that I had taken on a mammoth task. Whether you play a small management and financing role or a more hands on involvement, the pressures can be severe.

The timing of this renovation was shortly after a challenging consultancy engagement. Due to personal circumstances I set myself an unbelievably difficult challenge: to complete the entirety of this personal project in 2 months from start to finish.

Rear shots taken when we viewed the house. Before

Rear view after completion. After

The sale of our current home at the time had concluded faster than anticiptaed and we agreed to the buyers’ aggressive entry date. Two months - to purchase the new house, submit designs and plans for council planning and building warrant approval, engage contractors, demolish / remove and rebuild. The property had to be habitable for a young family and our furniture in 2 months! The business model depicted in the diagram above came to life with a vengeance and I was the fodder fueling the monster.

During this time I became friends with a new orange friend! Cement Mixer

With the benefit of hindsight, I would have never started such a project. However, being enthusiastic and reasonably pragmatic, I rolled up my sleeves and jumped in. How wrong I was! This was tough. Not a sprint or a marathon. This was an ultra marathon with shackles tied to your ankles. This was the kind of character building that you wish on others. This beast required every ounce of grit and magical power before it would concede.

The results? Well have a look at the before and after pictures above. Would I do it again? Yes, but I would not put myself under such time pressure and the very real risk of ending up homeless if the project did not complete on time.