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Avoiding problems during a renovation

By January 18, 2019October 2nd, 2019Managing a Renovation, Renovation, Knowledge & Tips

Firstly, don’t panic!  

Almost every renovation, however well planned, suffers a few hiccups.  Some are easily solved; some require time, effort and ingenuity to work around.

As project managers, an important job on site is efficient problem solving. 

See our top tips below for avoiding issues and next week’s blog on how to deal with issues when they arise.


Engage professionals to help you plan for the works and ensure you have:

  • A carefully considered design, specification of works and timeline
  • All the details required for someone else to transform your design into reality
  • All permissions/ consents required

Start with maximum goodwill – engage suppliers only if you fully trust them – if you don’t like your builder at the start, you definitely won’t by the end (if you get that far!)

Choose builders you are happy to work side by side with

Choose suppliers who:

  • Communicate clearly and really understand your needs
  • Price fairly (you get what you pay for – cheapest is not always best).  Don’t hammer down costs unfairly – if you need to reduce costs, reduce the scope of work.  If a supplier feels they’re not fairly paid, they won’t go the extra mile for you.
  • Are affable and trustworthy.  Most builders rely on referrals so will want to do a great job, especially if the person managing the works can give them repeat business.
  • Are professional – ensure you feel able to have frank conversations with them.  if working with friends or family, be clear about exactly what they are to do/ when and how.  

Discuss potential issues with suppliers before you start; ensure everyone has considered issues and their solutions – for example, agreeing who is responsible for  ordering fittings according to timetable (order well in advance to avoid delivery and therefore site delays).

Commission thorough surveys – i.e. test holes or drainage surveys – to identify unexpected issues, so solutions (and their costs) can be priced at the start. 

A thorough and detailed survey will help you to anticipate issues

Notify neighbours well in advance and manage their expectations –  don’t underestimate time or disruption.  Neighbours are less likely to complain if the works are not as bad as they’d feared.

Put contracts in place for all contractors – include a retention payable several months after completion to encourage contractors to return and resolve snagging issues.

A proper building contract is important to ensure any problems get dealt with

Check contractors’ Insurance policies and keep this on file.

Health and Safety and the CDM Regs – ensure you have considered your obligations (More info here) and ask your contractor/ principal designer to confirm their role and steps they have taken to reduce risk.

Take written notes of conversations and email to all relevant participants. 

If you’d like help with managing your project including the design/ planning/ sourcing contractors and overseeing the work then get in touch. We have at least 20 years’ collective experience in residential renovation and effective problem solving!

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