Whether you are planning to renovate your home to make it more comfortable and stylish, increase its property value, reduce maintenance and utility costs or add outdoor living spaces, it is important to have a plan in place. Home improvements are exciting, but they are also stressful undertakings and can be more expensive than expected if not managed correctly.
Research and plan
The planning phase of a home renovation project is arguably the most important, as settling on the right mix of materials, products, suppliers and contractors will increase the likelihood of completing upgrades efficiently and on time. You should set out your budget, read reviews, compare prices and make final decisions about each aspect of the build, covering lighting, flooring etc. Fortunately, there are now a vast range of online sites and digital tools available to make the task easier. Mobile apps, for example, can visualise projects and calculate costs.
Hire a contractor
Trying to complete a renovation yourself or choosing an unqualified friend or family member is not recommended if you want high-quality work. Hiring a reputable contractor registered with an umbrella company will give you peace of mind, as he or she will be licensed to work and insured and will make certain that any renovations are completed to an appropriate standard without any delays.
You should take some time to select the right flexible worker, so try to get at least three bids from different contractors, complete background checks on each and investigate their work history and habits if possible. Make sure that they know exactly what you want by talking through your objectives and outlining any specific features or products required.
Get a written contract
Getting everything down in writing is vital when hiring a third party, as this will form the foundation for any work carried out. The contract should include start and complete dates, information on building permits and fees, terms of payment and consequences if either party defaults on the project. Let the contractor know some ground rules too so that he or she doesn’t disturb you while in and around your home. It is also good to have a strategy in place to resolve any differences that may arise.
Engage in day-to-day management
Once the contract has been signed, the project can finally get underway. Before the first day of work, draw up a schedule and display it on prominently on a wall so that everyone involved knows what to do and has a resource to refer to. You may also want to ask the contractor to send over a complete list of the materials that will be used and a general outline of each project phase.
Getting rid of rubbish is an often-overlooked aspect of home upgrades, and TV builder Tommy Walsh warns against using large skips, as they are generally relatively small, expensive and may require a permit if they are located at the front of your house. He adds: “You’re better off with a self-loading lorry, which can take up to 22 tonnes of rubbish in one go.”
Completing a diary of each day’s events is useful for keeping the project on track, and it can also be referred to if there are any problems. You should also store any plans, invoices and receipts in a safe and secure place and make records of the VAT that you spend, as a portion of this could be reclaimed following the completion of the project. Finally, plan forward at all times. Homefix Direct founder Declan Curran concludes: “You need to be constantly thinking ahead.”