The Bulletin

5 golden rules to avoid renovation hiccups

Renovation hiccups happen all the time. There’s not many renovations that didn’t have at least one little diversion on its way to completion. The key to success is being prepared. 

When it comes to renovating, there are a myriad of cruel and creative things that can derail your project (and your sanity). The trick is to prepare, plan and know when to go with the flow.

1. Pick good tradespeople

Word of mouth is the most reliable tool for picking tradespeople – and picking good tradespeople is the safest way to ensure your budget and timeline don’t get thrown out of whack.

Once you’ve found a good tradesperson, cling on to them for life! They will treat you well as well. Building up that relationship with your trades is important to get the best price overall.

2. Plot your timeline

Number one is making sure you find all the materials and products you want, then you can book your trades.

It’s really important to know the order that tradespeople need to come in for each room. You’re probably going to do all your demolition first, then you need your plumber, then you’re going to get the electrician in for wiring.

You can go to Google for help, or ask friends, but you can also talk to your tradespeople and say, ‘hey, do you need to come in after the plumber or before?’. Having that very open communication [with your trades] is important.

To keep things in check, have a spreadsheet or a calendar to help you keep track of all the plans you’re making.

3. Have back-ups

If a tradesperson continually lets you down, it’s time to find somebody else.

To secure these ‘back-up plans’, get at least three quotes when costing out your renovation and use one of those if the others fall through. Just be sure to keep records of everybody you’ve spoken to.

4. Have a budget buffer

Unforeseen circumstances can lead to overstepping your budget, but the key is to avoid maxing out the budget in the first place. Leave yourself a buffer of at least 10% of the total cost.

It’s always a good idea to have a contingency fund. Make sure you’ve got more than what you think it’s going to cost. Even if a tradesperson has quoted you and you think you have a guarantee of what it’s going to cost, always leave extra. They say have a 10-20% contingency in case something goes wrong, which can happen!

5. Be flexible and push forward

If something doesn’t go to plan, keep pushing forward.

Having multiple quotes, back-up plans and your contingency fund is going to help you weather the unexpected.

You just don’t know what’s going to happen. You might open up a wall and find termites or something else might need to be replaced or fixed that you hadn’t anticipated. You have to expect that it’s not going to run smoothly and you might need a back-up, or more time.

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