How to remain sane while building
BUILDING a new house is a big undertaking and there’s a good chance there’ll be a few stressful moments during the process.
Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to minimise the problems. Load up your toolkit with some of these stress avoidance and management techniques, and keep your sanity along the way!
1. Have a clear idea about what you want to achieve from the outset One of the best ways to avoid stress during a new build is by starting off with a comprehensive plan of what you want to achieve.
There’ll always be issues you can’t account for, but making changes creates cranky builders and costs more in time and money. Spend some extra effort going over your plans before you start and you’ll save yourself unnecessary hassle down the line.
2. Back yourself Once you’ve decided what you want, make sure you communicate your ideas firmly. You’ll probably come across a few tradespeople who do a bit of eye rolling when you tell them what you want, but it’s your build and it’s not necessary to justify your choices.
There will be times, of course, when you need to weigh up the advice of professionals, but try to remember your goals and listen to your intuition. Hasty last minute changes can lead to substantial regret.
3. Make sure you understand everything Misunderstandings can lead to a wide range of unnecessary complications, so make sure you ask lots of questions.
If you’re not on a building site every day, there’s no way you can be expected to understand all the ins and outs of putting up a new home.
Good tradespeople take the time to explain things thoroughly, without making you feel foolish and insecure.
4. Have realistic expectations Make sure you understand the costs and timing, and remember to expect the unexpected. Building is a multi-faceted process with lots of small steps, and sometimes things go wrong.
Factor in a 10-20 percent budget contingency and add an extra six months to your build calendar so you won’t be overly stressed if the budget starts to creep or the building schedule hits a few snags.
5. Try to keep your emotions in check This is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially if you’re building a home for your family. You want it to be right, and that’s understandable, but taking a step back and disconnecting your emotions a little can help you see more clearly.
Building a new home should lead to happiness, not a heart attack, so if you find yourself getting angry or upset, take a deep breath and use your head instead. Solutions will be a lot easier to find.
6. Get Involved Keeping an eye on things is important, especially if you don’t have a project manager or architect. If you spot any issues you can nip them in the bud before they get out of hand.
Visit your site as often as possible and if you notice anything unusual, make sure you bring it up immediately. Don’t assume that it’s all under control, or that everyone knows the plan.
7. Maintain communication with your neighbours No-one likes a raft of building trucks parked outside their home every day without an explanation or apology.
Make an effort to let the neighbours know what’s happening, and offer them your mobile number if they want to discuss any issues.
Taking time to listen is often all it takes to keep the neighbours onside. Put yourself in their shoes, and offer some genuine understanding.
Failing that, move on to some good oldfashioned bribery — a nice bottle of wine and a couple of movie tickets usually does the trick!
8. Spend some time on activities that don’t involve the build The building process can be long and arduous so make sure you take some time out to clear your head.
Unless there’s a bunch of urgent “do or die” issues sitting on your desk, factor in a couple of nights away or an afternoon on one of your hobbies.
It will help reduce any pent up stress and re-ignite your enthusiasm for your project.
9. See the stars When it all gets too much, go outside at night and look up at the sky. Nothing puts it all in perspective like a couple of awe inspiring moments thinking about the size of universe.
OK, so the builder ordered the wrong materials. Most things can be fixed, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that bad.
Building a new home should be a positive experience, not one that leaves you feeling frazzled and disappointed.
Although it’s nearly impossible to remove all the stress from the process, having realistic expectations, a comprehensive idea about want you want to achieve, good communication, and a time-out plan means you’re more likely to enjoy the experience.
And who knows… you might even want to do it all over again!
The building process can be long and arduous so make sure you take some time out to clear your head.