Here is some advice that I give my clients and pitfalls to expect:
- Where possible get a fixed priced contract for building work to be done and if possible, have the firm organise all sub trades needed, like the plumbers, painters, electricians and tilers.
- You know the total cost involved
- They will co-ordinate all sub trades
- In my experience, the job is run very quickly
- The payments are made by progress payments throughout the job
- Covers the cost of materials and labour
- Can seem quite expensive, however you have to remember they are covering the cost of
sub trades as well.
- The fixed price won't cover anything unforeseen. You never know what is lurking behind a
wall until it's pulled apart, this can cost more and lead to delays. However, a good builder
will communicate well with you and should have quotes for the extra work, and the
problem resolved within an agreed time
- I'm not personally keen on hourly rate or charge up. In my experience it gets very expensive and the majority of the jobs I've been involved with that do it this way have been a very slow build. If you had a very small job, this could be an option for you.
- Remember, no one can tell what's lurking behind the walls or in some cases floors. You may be in for added time and expense if the structure behind your walls needs repair.
- Be realistic about where the bulk of your budget should be spent. It's all well and good wanting designer furniture, but if the budget won't allow it, don't be tempted to cut corners with the bathroom and kitchen or the building work to enable you to purchase that stunning dining suite. At the end of the day, these are the areas that will add true value to your home. The extras can come later.
- If it is a major renovation, try to avoid living on site. You never escape from the project and can be very dangerous, especially if you have children. I understand that sometimes budget doesn't allow for rent, but perhaps a good friend or relative could help out.
- Allow around 10% over your budget for overruns. It is a rare thing not to have an overrun!
- Know who the manager is on the project. Nothing worse than talking to 20 different people trying to establish when something will be installed. Know who the manager is for each part of the project and only deal with them.
- Same can be said at your end. Have one manager that all the trades can deal with and make sure that person communicates with the others living in the home. Work out the budget together and go through the design process together, but when it comes to installs and building, it is better for everyone involved to be dealing with one decision maker.
- Trust each professional working on the project. Don't ask the plumber what colour the wall should be, just like you wouldn't ask an interior designer how to plumb a toilet. If you ask 10 different people, you can expect 10 different answers and then you will be totally confused.
- Have a list with all the names and telephone numbers of all the people working on the project. Like your designer, plumber and builder, etc. Provide a copy of this list to everyone.
- It's a good idea to have a project meeting with the trades involved to nail down a timeline and for everyone to meet each other.
- Make sure you have Builders Risk Insurance. Or check your existing policy to see if it will cover the type of renovation you are undertaking.
- Have meals prepared and frozen. Have a list of your local restaurants, or break out the BBQ. If you are replacing your kitchen, you could be without one for a few weeks.
- Time-out – have a nice place to relax and forget about what's going on.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and there is certainly a great deal more you need to know when you're renovating. However, try to enjoy the process; it is worth it in the end.
The opinions viewed in this blog are only the views of Mal Corboy Design and in no way reflect how all companies operate.