ask the experts
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
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).