Whether you’re renovating your investment property or your family home, any kind of home renovation is a monumental project. Like any big project, renovations require expert planning and careful preparation. Without these two things, your dream home improvement project could quickly turn into a living nightmare.
With years of experience working on home renovation projects, our team at Jim’s Construction have seen it all. Here are some of the top tips we’ve picked up over the years that will put you in good stead for a seamless and successful home renovation:
1. Clearly define the scope of your project
Before you even begin to think about hiring contractors or purchasing materials, you should take time to carefully define the scope of your project. We’ve all been there: after a morning of reading Architectural Digest, your plans for a kitchen renovation have suddenly turned into plans for a kitchen, living room, and dining room renovation.
If you don’t take the time to put together a detailed scope of work, you might find yourself constantly adding new things to your project. Before you know it, you’ll have a task list that’s totally out of control and a timeline that keeps being extended.
Taking the time to carefully filter through your ideas will allow you to assess whether or not you really want to proceed with the project, whether or not your budget will be adequate, and whether or not you have the time to accommodate the project. If you share your home with other people, having this conversation will also ensure that everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.
These initial stages of planning also happen to be the best time to determine whether you’re going to hire a project manager/builder to preside over the project, or if you’re going to manage the project on your own. Don’t wait until work has started to think about this.
One of the obvious benefits of hiring a project manager/builder is that they have experience in scheduling and running home renovation projects. They also have an extensive list of trusted contacts and suppliers, so it saves you from having to source tradies and materials on your own. Be realistic about how much time and energy you’re willing to personally expend on overseeing your project, and let that guide you in your decision to hire, or not hire, a project manager.
2. Set a project budget
Budgets can make or break a home renovation project. Controlling your costs will prevent major budget blow-outs from occurring. The first step in setting a budget involves having a realistic conversation about what you are actually willing to spend on your project and what you can afford. Your budget will cover the entire project, including things like permit costs, material costs, equipment costs, and labour costs.
We always recommend leaving a little bit of wiggle room for safety. Accidents happen, and it’s very likely that you’ll run into some sort of uncontrollable situation at some point in your project. To ensure that these accidents don’t completely blow your budget, make sure to allocate an additional 10-20% of your total budget to cover any unforeseeable costs.
Unless you’re qualified in the trades, you should definitely hire a professional to complete all electrical, plumbing, and structural tasks. These are not the places you should be cutting down on costs. The best places to save are on things such as fittings, appliances, and finishes. These areas can easily save you thousands of dollars, so see if you can find any good deals on appliances and fittings and ask around to see if you have any family members or friends who would be willing to lend a helping hand on minor tasks.
3. Set a project timeline
A project timeline will keep you accountable and organised, and will improve your team’s efficiency. Without a well-thought out project timeline, your 3-month renovation project could easily turn into a 12-month project.
When creating your timeline, be realistic about how long each task will take and set a priority list for tasks. Which tasks need to be completed first, and which ones can be done concurrently? Be prepared to face unexpected delays and inconveniences such as rainy weather, and allow for some wiggle room accordingly.
Make sure that your timeline takes into account the time required to clean and clear the area, as well as delivery times, your existing commitments, and public holiday or school holiday dates. Again, this is an area where it helps to have a skilled project manager or builder on-hand. It’s easy to grossly overestimate or underestimate turnaround times if you’re inexperienced, so a project manager can be hugely helpful in keeping your project on schedule and on track for completion.
4. Consider temporary housing and living areas
During a major renovation, it may not be possible to continue living in your home. Not only would the dust and fumes create a dangerous living environment, the constant chaos would be extremely stressful. If you know that your renovation will be extensive, don’t wait until the last minute to search for temporary housing. Make it a matter of priority to organise and confirm temporary housing in the months before works are scheduled to begin.
In other cases, it’s entirely possible to continue living in your house during a renovation. However, this also takes careful preparation. If you’re planning on staying, make sure you’ve made the necessary arrangements to ensure that your home is still liveable. For example, if you’re renovating your kitchen, set up a temporary kitchen elsewhere that’s complete with dishes and cutlery, a microwave, a fridge, and other minor appliances. This could save you hundreds of dollars in takeout and will ensure that you have a place to go that’s away from the chaos.
5. Communicate effectively and keep a paper trail
Good communication goes a long way in just about every scenario. With the constant stream of contractors and deliveries coming onsite, renovation projects can quickly become chaotic and overwhelming. However, no matter how overwhelmed you feel, try to remain calm and clear in your communication at all times. Make sure that you give your contractors clear orders and that you provide detailed descriptions of your vision (pictures and diagrams are great ways to do this).
During a renovation, you’ll be having multiple conversations everyday with your team. For this reason, details can easily get lost or forgotten about, which is why it’s important to keep a paper trail for all the agreements you sign off on. This will keep you and your team accountable and will prevent mistakes from occurring.
Home renovation projects are time-consuming, but they can also be hugely rewarding and enjoyable. At Jim’s Construction, we endeavour to make the renovation process as easy and stress-free as possible. If you want to discuss your dream renovation project, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 131 546 or enquire online today for a free consultation.
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