Speed­bumps to avoid dur­ing a re­furb

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property The Market - Denise O’Con­nor

De­lays are com­mon with home ren­o­va­tions, with so many mov­ing parts and so much to con­sider, no mat­ter how much ef­fort you put into plan­ning your pro­ject things can go wrong. Pop­u­lar TV shows rely on the fact that there are many pit­falls and hic­cups through­out the build­ing process to en­sure good viewer rat­ings. The best ad­vice is to plan for even­tu­al­i­ties so that you are pre­pared when things go wrong and con­trol what you can, and most im­por­tantly keep fo­cus­ing on the end re­sult.

There will be un­fore­seen things that are com­pletely out­side of your con­trol, such as the un­der­ly­ing struc­ture or sta­bil­ity of the build­ing, par­tic­u­larly in pe­riod homes. These kinds of is­sues of­ten won’t make them­selves known un­til the work starts. The only thing to do here is to be re­al­is­tic about the time­frame of the pro­ject from the out­set and err on the side of cau­tion.

Also en­sure that if you are ren­o­vat­ing a pe­riod home that you al­low a con­tin­gency of at least 10 per cent to cover any un­fore­seen items. Other rea­sons for de­lays out­side your con­trol are sup­plier de­lays, in­clement weather or is­sues with plan­ning per­mis­sion.

There are how­ever other com­mon de­lays you can do some­thing about. Here are five of the most com­mon speed­bumps and how to avoid them. 1. Liv­ing in your home while the work is be­ing done De­spite crazy rents, the im­pos­si­bil­ity of find­ing a short let, and the scary prospect of mov­ing back in with your par­ents, you need to move out if you want your build to move swiftly. Not only will liv­ing in the house make the process far more stress­ful, but it will add to the timescale and make it much harder to find a con­trac­tor will­ing to take on the pro­ject, push­ing out the timescale be­fore you’ve even started. 2. Not hav­ing fi­nance in place Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate how long the bank can take to ac­tu­ally give you the money. It can take months to fi­nally re­ceive the first pay­ment. You will need to draw down the money in stages so be well pre­pared and stay on top of this as with­out prompt pay­ment your con­trac­tor may have to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend work. 3. In­de­ci­sive­ness and chang­ing your mind Make de­ci­sions on time and don’t change your mind. In­de­ci­sive­ness is one of the most com­mon rea­sons projects go over bud­get and time. I can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of hav­ing all of your fix­tures and fin­ishes cho­sen and ready be­fore your builder starts.

Once the build starts it’s a fast mov­ing process and you won’t be able to keep up with it un­less you’re very or­gan­ised. If the fin­ishes and fix­tures are se­lected and or­dered be­fore the con­trac­tor starts on site, as soon as the builder is ready to fit the items they can be de­liv­ered.

‘‘ Plan for even­tu­al­i­ties so that you are pre­pared when things go wrong

4. Long lead times

Make sure you check out the lead time on the items you are hop­ing to use. Not ev­ery­thing will be in stock. Bear in mind that over the sum­mer many sup­pli­ers take hol­i­days. This will have a huge im­pact on the lead times for or­der­ing. Start by telling the sup­plier when you need to have the items.

This way they will be able to ac­cu­rately work out when you need to place your or­der. The items you are se­lect­ing may be on a four-week lead time but if the fac­tory takes hol­i­days this lead time might ac­tu­ally be six or eight weeks.

If you are brave enough to be work­ing to a Christ­mas dead­line, ask well in ad­vance what the cut off is for or­der­ing to guar­an­tee a de­liv­ery be­fore Christ­mas.

5. Prod­ucts se­lected be­ing un­suit­able

Some prod­ucts may re­quire spe­cial­ist fit­ting or ad­di­tional preparation. For ex­am­ple your con­trac­tor may have priced to fit a stan­dard floor tile in your bath­room but you have ac­tu­ally pur­chased a mosaic. This is a more com­plex fit­ting and will take longer and pos­si­bly add cost. Keep the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your builder open at all times and run your plans past them be­fore pur­chas­ing. Denise O’Con­nor is an ar­chi­tect and de­sign con­sul­tant @op­ti­misedesign

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