REN­O­VAT­ING 101

BRING­ING HOME A REN­O­VA­TION WITHIN BUD­GET AND ON TIME IS UN­DOUBT­EDLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHAL­LENGES FOR ANY NOVICE REN­O­VA­TOR. IT REQUIRES SKILL, KNOWL­EDGE AND CARE­FUL PLAN­NING.

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | HOME - WORDS: CHERIE BARBER For more ex­pert advice, go to life­style.com.au.

The same prin­ci­ples ap­ply to any ren­o­va­tion, big or small, and it starts with re­search and plan­ning, es­pe­cially if you are manag­ing the ren­o­va­tion and tradies your­self. Here are some es­sen­tials to guide you through that mine­field.

1. DRAW UP A PRO­JECT PLAN

A pro­ject plan is an ab­so­lute must for any ren­o­va­tion, but es­pe­cially projects that are trade-in­ten­sive and need to follow a care­fully de­fined se­quence of works. Kitchen and bath­room ren­o­va­tions def­i­nitely fall into that cat­e­gory. There are soft­ware pro­grams you can use to put to­gether your pro­ject plan, such as Mi­crosoft Pro­ject, or even just an Excel spread­sheet. It must in­clude ev­ery task to be com­pleted (the scope of works) and in what or­der they need to hap­pen (or­der of works). Why? Be­cause you can lose weeks in down­time if you haven’t worked out in ad­vance the cor­rect se­quence of tasks (plumb­ing, elec­tri­cals, cab­i­netry, tiling, etc). When you’ve fi­nally worked out you’re ready for the tiler to start work, chances are he’ll be tied up on an­other job for the next fort­night.

2. BUILD IN A CON­TIN­GENCY

Things never go ex­actly ac­cord­ing to plan on a ren­o­va­tion, so al­ways build a 10% con­tin­gency into your bud­get to cover un­ex­pected costs, es­pe­cially if you’re deal­ing with older prop­er­ties that might re­quire un­fore­seen re­me­dial work. It’s also a good idea to fac­tor one day per week or fort­night into your pro­ject plan to cover un­ex­pected de­lays: things like tradies fall­ing sick, de­lays in ma­te­rial sup­plies or days lost through bad weather.

3. GET A HAN­DLE ON LEAD TIMES

Know in ad­vance roughly how long things take. You’ll need to wait for the bath­room wa­ter­proof­ing to be done and have time to cure be­fore any tiling can hap­pen. There’s a few days right there. Kitchen cab­i­nets can take weeks to be made up in busy pe­ri­ods, as can win­dows and doors. This is the kind of in­for­ma­tion you need to as­cer­tain in or­der to draw up an ac­cu­rate pro­ject plan.

4. WORK OUT YOUR BUD­GET

A ren­o­va­tion bud­get needs to be proportion­ate to the over­all value of the prop­erty. There are dif­fer­ent for­mu­las peo­ple op­er­ate to. For a cos­metic ren­o­va­tion, I rec­om­mend cap­ping the bud­get at 10% of the to­tal value of the prop­erty. So for a $500,000 prop­erty, that would be $50,000 tops.

5. CHOOSE YOUR TRADIES WELL

Get­ting to­gether a trusted, re­li­able team of tradies is ab­so­lutely cru­cial. When pulling to­gether your team of tradies, draw on word of mouth rec­om­men­da­tions where possible, al­ways per­son­ally check their li­cences and in­sur­ances, and ask to speak to their last client. And ab­so­lutely al­ways get min­i­mum three quotes for any job, so you get an ac­cu­rate es­ti­ma­tion of costs.

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