Renovating: It’s good to plan…

By March 25, 2020 Managing a Renovation

With so much uncertainty in so many areas due to the global health crisis, many house-moves and renovation work projects are, rightly, paused for now. 

However, to the extent it’s possible to do so, we suggest continuing to work on finalising the planning/ designing/ decision-making during this ‘on hold’ period.  When normal-ish life resumes, you can have made (most of) the remaining design/ choosing, etc. decisions and obtained related costings, with less time pressure than usual, and be ready to start ordering and getting on site at an appropriate time. 

Working on your renovation project may also be a welcome distraction…  We’ll continue to share content to advise and inspire.

Getting Ready

Starting a big renovation project is a big decision. Many clients get in touch once that decision is made and they are chomping at the bit to get the builders in. However, there’s a lot of work (and time) between theoretically ‘ready to start’ to actually being ready (for the project to run in a time and cost-efficient manner).

It’s a good idea to engage a designer or Project Manager as early as possible in the process… even before you’ve decided exactly what you want to do, or when.

Absolute Project Management

We’ll help you to define the scope.

We help you to work out the works to include by;

  • Identifying problems and opportunities you may have missed.
  • Investigating ‘feasibility’ – engaging specialists to check e.g. the existing structure, electrical & plumbing set up.
  • Working through the design detail with you.

A really thorough and well-defined scope will ensure you get properly accurate pricing from your contractor. This in turn will help you decide exactly what to go ahead with and whether to do it all at once.

It is easier to make decisions before your home looks like this…
Planning docs and structural drawings on site in the contractors shed on site in Islington.
Starting on site with detailed plans results in more accurate costs and timings

Permissions take a long time (but last a long time).

Your project may need Planning Permission and/ or Listed Building Consent and/ or a Party Wall Award and/ or permissions relating to utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewers). These processes take months. The statutory consultation period for Planning Permission is 8 weeks – but before that:

  • You/ your architect needs to prepare, refine and agree the required documents, and
  • The Council needs to ‘validate’ them

and then there is no guarantee that the council will approve the application first time.

Once granted, these permissions usually last a quantity of years, so this work is ‘in the bank’ if you decide to delay. They can also be considered an asset if you sell your home before going ahead with the work.

Changes to your electricity supply requires permission
Party wall award
If you are building an extension which sits on the party line, you will need a Party Wall Award

Specialist design and key materials can take a long time.

Once you have an outline design, you may need to engage specialists such as Kitchen designers and Glazing manufacturers. The design of these elements can take time; they are important details and have an impact on the rest of the design, so the process can be iterative. Once the design is finalised, there’s often a long manufacture lead time.

Similarly, some of the components for your bathrooms may need ordering ahead of starting on site – so you will need to finalise this design work in good time.

Dining room with beautiful view of garden through large patio doors - renovation by Absolute Project Management
Glazing usually has a long manufacture time
Modern bathroom with white marble wall tiles styled by Absolute Project Management
Luxury bathroom items may need ordering ahead of starting on site
Take time to design your dream kitchen

There are more decisions to make than you might think…

You should have ALL your design decisions made before you start on site, and once you get down to it there are a lot of decisions to make. Every finish, fixture and fitting in every room…

You might think you can do this after work has started on site, but this almost always increases timelines, costs and risks of mistakes. See our upcoming journal ‘design freeze’ for more on this.

The prep work we’ve described here can (should) be done before you buy anything or press the button on the building works.  It’s therefore worthwhile investment (of time and money) even if you aren’t sure exactly when you want to start.

Whilst all these decisions can sound overwhelming- with the right guidance, designing your ideal space and choosing finishes can be an extremely exciting and rewarding experience.

If you’re thinking of embarking on any sort of home renovation- please get in touch. We’ve got a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you make the best decisions for your home.

Absolute Project Management
The Absolute Project Management team – here to help