Extensive renovations or home extensions are big projects and you can ensure yours goes more smoothly by using our “pre-flight” checklist. We’ve put together a list of essentials that will help you to make sure you have everything in place for a successful project.
1. Planning permission
This is a big one. You first need to decide whether you need planning permission and if you do, then apply for it and have it granted before you begin work. If you don’t do this you could be faced with being forced to remove your extension, resulting in huge cost and heartache.
2. Building regulations & Building Control application
Whether you need planning permission or not, your extension or renovation will need to comply with building regulations and a Building Control application will have to be submitted. Your contractor may manage this for you but be sure to check, otherwise we’re back in hefty cost and heartache territory again.
Your contractors should have their own insurance but you need to alert your own buildings insurance provider about the work you are planning to make sure you are covered. Again, failing to do this can be painful as any major mishaps resulting in damage to your home may not be covered.
4. Neighbour relations & the Party Wall Act
You’ll need to talk to your neighbours about the work you’re planning, get them onside by listening to their concerns and setting your schedule to be considerate to them. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property you may need to get them to sign a Party wall Agreement before you proceed with the work.
5. Initial budget
Make sure you have a clear and detailed initial budget with everything costed out and a contingency fund in place. Ensure you’re investing in quality where it counts, in the construction and fundamental features like windows, doors, floors, rooflights etc. You can save money on scatter cushions and paint as these things are easily changed further down the line.
6. Your architect
Choosing to work with a good architect means you have access to a wealth of ideas and experience to help you take your dreams and form them into a workable, budget friendly reality that your builder can work from. They often have great trades connections you can lean on too.
7. Your tradespeople
Make sure you get at least 3 quotes for the work and check references, or ideally get recommendations from people you can trust. Remember that great people are often busy people so it can be worth your while to be patient and wait a few months for the right contractor to be free.
8. Final budget
Once you’ve chosen your team, refine your budget so you have final figures in place and you know exactly how much your project should cost and that you have enough left as a contingency fund for any unexpected expenses.
9. Timescale, schedules and communication
Set clear expectations for your timescales, schedule and communications so everyone involved knows what to expect and you can see when the project comes off course. Keep lines of communication open with your tradespeople so they feel they can talk to you about any issues they are facing.
10. Your responsibilities
Make sure you’re very clear on all the responsibilities in the project, including your own. Your contractor may expect you to order some of the supplies, manage waste removal or supply a hired toilet for tradespeople to use on site. Making sure you know exactly who is doing what before you start means you can plan your time and reduce stress.
11. Your lifestyle during the build
Finally, have a think about your household and how they are going to cope during the build. You may choose to live elsewhere which requires organising or if you’re looking to stay on site you’ll want to work out everyone's schedule requirements so you’re not woken at 7am on a Sunday by banging or have a critical work call disrupted by high pitched drilling.
Careful planning and preparation leads to awesome projects that deliver the home of your dreams without too many dramas. Good luck creating your perfect place to live!