For many people, ‘home improvements’ never go beyond a lick of paint and a new bathroom suite.
For others, however, the whole concept of putting ‘their’ touch on a home goes way beyond that. Their existing home is a blank canvas of possibility, just waiting to be remodelled, extended, converted, opened up and redesigned to make the house they bought a home that is truly ‘theirs’.
Once you start thinking in terms of how you can connect separate floors in new and exciting ways, or how you can double the size of your kitchen-diner by knocking through and extending, you are starting to move beyond the realms of a bit of DIY decorating.
Your dreams are starting to look a lot like a substantial building project, and you are taking on the role of project manager. And all good building project managers do one thing well – plan.
Whether you are looking to renovate, remodel or extend, here are six great tips for getting your home building project off to the best possible start.
1. Don’t Skimp On Costs
Perhaps more so than in any other walk of life, with construction you really get what you pay for. Cheap materials, poor design and shoddy craftsmanship will lead to low quality work that will just need to be done all over again in a few years. It also pays to consider every detail carefully. It is easy to find costs spiralling when you start to face knock-on costs in materials and fixtures you hadn’t considered.
Think carefully about bringing in a professional to help with the planning and design stage. Investing in their expertise at this stage can save you money and headaches in the long run.
2. Get the Right Consent
Although many home extensions and improvements are covered by Permitted Development Rights and don’t need planning permission, the rules are strict and vary from place to place. You should always consult your local authority to check the rules and let them run the rule over your plans. You also need to ensure your plans meet building regulations, for example for how steep the flight of stairs will be into a loft conversion. But rest assured that much of the work that we carry out, such as a bespoke or glass staircase doesn’t require planning permission.
3. Consider Utilities
One of the most common stumbling blocks people come across during a building project is unforeseen impact on utilities. The planning stage is the right time to consider how to run heating pipes to your loft conversion, to get a gas supply to a new kitchen, and how an external extension might impact on sewage pipes and land drainage.
4. Think Outside As Well As In
Although the focus on a home extension or renovation is the building itself, it is easy to forget the impact building can have on the grounds of your property. A rear extension will necessarily eat up some of your garden, while the work itself can leave the exterior space looking blasted and rubble strewn. If you are hiring an architect, ask for some help with landscaping the exterior to really complete the project.
5. Schedule Well In Advance
Good building contractors are in high demand, and are often booked up months in advance. Moreover, if you need a range of different tradesmen working on your project, scheduling so they are all available within a reasonable timeframe can be tricky. The only answer is to be ahead of the game and get your bookings in well ahead of time.
6. Check Your Insurance
Finally, a major building project on your home will have an effect on your buildings insurance. You are legally obliged to keep this up to date, so make sure you talk to your provider.