Embarking on a property renovation project, whether it’s our home or a rental property can be both an exhilarating and daunting thought. Imagining the end result of a luxury kitchen, basement or loft extension is what often drives us to take the plunge, yet, the obvious disruption to daily life, the anxiety of overrunning costs & timescales and the fear of cowboy builders give us sleepless nights.
If, however, you are meticulous in our approach, disciplined with your costs and quick with your decisions your property renovation project can be smooth (as far as possible), on schedule and within budget, giving you a home or space you will love and be proud of.
The SDA build team decided to put our heads together and give you some pointers that will make your property renovation project as pain-free as possible, within your planned timelines and costs.
Plan, plan, plan…
There are no shortcuts to detailed planning. Creating spreadsheets are a useful way to list all the items that you need to consider when doing a renovation project. Be as specific and detailed as you can be. Include the main areas like kitchens, appliances, bathroom fittings, flooring and decking, but don’t forget the smaller details such as electrical sockets and fittings, number of radiators, carpet underlay and more. The list is endless, but the more you detailed you get, the more you will be able to plan. In your spreadsheet, create columns for costs, delivery times and ordering deadlines, contractor/builder responsibilities so that you know exactly who is doing what and when.
Make sure your budget is realistic
Think about a realistic budget for your project. Whilst, you don’t want to over spend, you don’t want to compromise on what you are trying to achieve with a very tight budget either. Talk to people who have done similar projects to understand the numbers. Once you have decided on your budget, based on the nature of your project and what you can afford… stick to it. Stay focussed on the number set and don’t be swayed. Running out of money towards the end of your project will result in unnecessary and frustrating delays.
Prioritise the most important tasks
There are some areas in your property renovation project where there can be no compromise such as structural building work, electrics and wiring, boilers and plumbing to name a few. These must take priority over a handmade kitchen or hardwood flooring where compromises can be made. Quality control issues that get discovered mid-build will undoubtedly result in costly delays.
Hire an experienced project manager
At SDA Build, we project manage our own work, in close consultation with our clients. If your contractor or builder does not have an on-site project manager, make sure you hire one or project manage yourself. Word of caution: If you have no experience with building, we would strongly recommend hiring someone who does and knows what to expect. They would be need to be on-site almost daily, ensuring all aspects of the build are moving in tandem and on schedule.
Get the timing right
As building contractors, we know all too well, what havoc the weather can play. Ideally start your renovation projects in the spring, especially if it involves loft conversions and extensions, which requires your builder to be outdoors for the most part of the project. If your work is primarily indoors, the time of year is not as relevant. Word of caution: Always build in additional time into your schedule to manage any delays.
Changing plans and taking too long to make important decisions can inadvertently delay your project. Make sure you place orders for kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and others in time for them to arrive when needed. Many of these have a 6-8 week delivery lead time from placing the order. Changing your mind too often can cause these delivery times to increase causing the overall schedule to be disrupted.
Work with an interior designer
If you are unsure, work with an interior designer to plan your internal layout; furniture placement, placement of televisions and art or any other appliances, before your building contractor starts work. A detailed internal plan, allows your builder to understand at the outset where electrical sockets and plug points need to be places, plumbing outlets, heating outlets and more and they can then plan for that at the start. Making these minor changes mid-project will invariable cause delays as it would mean re-opening walls, replastering, and repainting… all leading to unnecessary delays.
Hire the right building contractor
Last but certainly not the least, hire an experienced and reputable building contractor. This in our view, is the most important aspect of your property renovation project. Get no less than three quotes and visit some of the properties they have worked on. The cheapest quote may not necessarily be the right builder for you. In many cases, building contractors may be more experienced in specific types of builds, for example, basements or loft extensions, or restoration projects. Do some digging to make sure the building contractor you hire is right for the sort of project you are doing.
A property renovation project can be a scary path to go down with endless frustration and worry. However, if you stick to our guidelines above, you should be able to get there without much angst, giving you a home or property you will cherish.
Speak to the SDA Build London team and let’s talk about turning your dream home into a reality. Get in touch here!