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Smashing the Snag List

By December 14, 2018October 2nd, 2019Managing a Renovation, Renovation, Knowledge & Tips

Guest blogger Tracey Petherick returns, post project…  

Important disclaimer – Tracey didn’t use a project manager but now wishes she had… 

There’s nothing fun about a snagging list. It’s basically all the small issues left behind when the excitement of a big build is over. And it can really drag on. I lost count of the times I cheerfully declared, “Well, that should be everything done now!” only to find “just one more thing”.

So, let’s put a positive spin on this. Your snagging list is also an opportunity. A chance to make sure everything is completely finished and just right. Your biggest challenge? Sweet talking your builder into coming back – AGAIN – to fix yet another outstanding issue. 

Here are a few tips for how to handle the dreaded snag list and why a project manager can make the whole experience that little bit less stressful.

A project manager can make dealing with snagging less stressful

Do make sure you’re clear on what’s included in your quote. 

You don’t want to get charged extra for finishing touches like boxing in ugly pipework or planing the doors to open and close smoothly. If you have a project manager they’ll be able to clarify all this for you.

Don’t confuse your snagging list with your wish list. 

It’s unreasonable to expect an electrician to move a plug socket just because it doesn’t quite fit behind your TV unit. The snagging list is for faults, repairs and unfinished work, not interior design tweaks. If you’re really not sure, ask your project manager – when they burst out laughing, you’ll know it’s a wish list item.

Do keep an eye out for unexpected problems. 

Even brand new bathrooms can leak. Especially when they’ve been tiled with the wrong sealant (yes, there is such a thing as the wrong sealant). So if you notice even the tiniest damp patch on your brand new living room ceiling, don’t ignore it. This is classic snag list territory.

Don’t panic! Cracks can appear in new paintwork for a variety of reasons

Don’t overreact.

Sometimes you might be immediately irritated by something – the front door being hung the wrong way round, for example. But if you can take a deep breath and curb your initial reaction you’ll probably end up with a better – and quicker – result. This is where your project manager doubles up as your therapist.

Do be assertive.

Sometimes (whisper it) tradespeople are wrong. When our plumber fitted the bathroom radiator so high up the wall that all the pipework was on display, he was wrong. The fact that he had to replace several marble tiles in the process of moving it didn’t make him less wrong. NB. This is a good time to utilise the diplomacy skills of your project manager.

Don’t be a prima donna.

Not even the most amenable builder will appreciate being called at 8:30pm because a coat hook has come loose or you’ve noticed a chip in the skirting board. (On the other hand, I can confirm that calling at 8:30pm because your kitchen is 4cm deep in water is fine.)

A chip in your paintwork – definitely needs fixing, maybe not at 8:30pm

Do engage in conversations.

If something is bothering you, talk to the main contractor about the problem is and what the solutions might be. When our drainpipes still hadn’t been fitted, three months after our main renovation was complete, we sent our builder a strongly-worded (read: arsey) email. He politely explained that it was intentional – they would be back to do it after the external rendering was done. This made perfect sense (nobody wants their lovely new drainpipes splattered with render, right?) and if we’d just asked the question three months before, we would have been a lot less annoyed. 

Don’t give up.

From kitchen cupboards that still don’t close properly (my father-in-law can’t look at them without getting upset) to uneven plastering, we have a range of small(ish) matters that remain outstanding. When you’ve already had your lumpy walls replastered and repainted once, it’s a bit embarrassing bringing it up again. But I know if I’d had a project manager they would have persevered until everything was complete. 

Speaking of which, we still have a colossal old lintel sitting in our loft. I’m pretty sure someone was meant to come back and take that away…

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