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Look­ing for ex­pert ad­vice on your project? Our team of home­build­ing ex­perts are here to an­swer your need-to-know ques­tions. This month, they dis­cuss glaz­ing so­lu­tions, home se­cu­rity, man­ag­ing ren­o­va­tion work and more

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What can we do to Lessen Dis­rup­tion While Ren­o­vat­ing? Q

We hope to carry out a ren­o­va­tion and ex­ten­sion to our 1960s house and, with a young fam­ily, we’re look­ing to make this as easy on us as pos­si­ble. We’ve never car­ried out a project be­fore so we want to try and be as or­gan­ised as pos­si­ble. What can we do to en­sure that we can go about our daily lives while the work is un­der­way? Anon, Hamp­shire


as­pects Prepa­ra­tion is michael of go­ing the build to is be holmes — key. space, af­fected Think cook­ing says: about dur­ing what and all bath­room and in­ter­net fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cess. Have wa­ter, a sched­ule heat­ing, of park­ing, works de­tail­ing what’s hap­pen­ing and when, so you know when you’re likely to lose ameni­ties and when they’ll be back. Base your­self in a room that won’t be touched by the ren­o­va­tion — this will give you some­where to es­cape. A util­ity might be­come a tem­po­rary kitchen, and your garage could be­come a liv­ing space. Rear or side ex­ten­sions, or loft con­ver­sions, can be all but fin­ished with lit­tle dis­tur­bance to the rest of the house, with the knock-through be­tween old and new left un­til the end. Tem­po­rar­ily clear­ing part of your house out will cre­ate more space in the few rooms you are us­ing, and can pre­vent items from be­ing dam­aged in the work. Out­build­ings could pro­vide use­ful stor­age on site, or you could use a self-stor­age com­pany. Don’t for­get you’ll also need some­where to store the work­men’s tools and build­ing ma­te­ri­als safely dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion. If you’re hop­ing to project man­age, a con­struc­tion phase plan will let you plan skip, plant and scaf­fold hire, ma­te­rial de­liv­er­ies, and when to have trades on site at the right time to avoid de­lays. At the out­set, you will need to set up the site with in­sur­ance, site fenc­ing, health and safety no­tices and first aid kit, and pro­vide a wel­fare area and WC fa­cil­i­ties. You’ll also need to keep track of any per­mis­sions you might need so the work isn’t held up, such as ar­rang­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion and Build­ing Reg­u­la­tions’ ap­proval, in­clud­ing site in­spec­tions. If the work is on or near a bound­ary with a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty, you might also have to ar­range a Party Wall agree­ment. Tick off when pay­ments need to go in or out and when money will be com­ing in to keep on top of your fi­nances, too. You want to main­tain good re­la­tions with your neigh­bours both dur­ing the work and af­ter the trades­peo­ple have left. You can warn them of large de­liv­er­ies or when there is likely to be any ex­ces­sive noise. Make sure your work­men know not to block en­tries or drives too, as this can be a nui­sance. If you have suf­fi­cient land, you could hire or buy a car­a­van and live on site and con­vince the chil­dren it is all one big hol­i­day. You might need to seek per­mis­sion to stay in it there, so check with your lo­cal au­thor­ity. Rel­a­tives or friends could sup­ply tem­po­rary shel­ter, though this could cause ten­sion if you feel you’re over­stay­ing your wel­come. Rent­ing could give you a home away from home too, and the builders will prob­a­bly be able to progress faster if they don’t have to work around you. Should you choose to move out, try and stay some­where close enough to drop by reg­u­larly to check progress and deal with any is­sues.

Michael Holmes Michael is HB&R’S Head of Con­tent and Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment. He also chairs NACSBA (Na­tional Cus­tom and Self Build As­so­ci­a­tion).

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