I’m about to start my first renovation - any tips before we begin?

Embarking on the renovation of your home is an exciting, somewhat daunting project. From our experience, there are some key things to be aware of before you begin.



Above all, it will help hugely if you are organised during each step of the build. All design decisions and selections need to be made and documented for your builder in a detailed Schedule. Your builder will give you a thorough cost plan and building Program that you carefully review and approve, and you will sign a suitable building contract with your builder. Planning is vital and key items will need to be ordered early to avoid delays and long lead times. You need to have the correct insurances in place for yourself and your builder. When we work with our full service clients, there is an extensive ‘Preparation for Construction’ phase where we carefully plan the build and ensure the cost plan is thoroughly understood and agreed.


Attention to detail is crucial; if you are managing the build yourself, it is important that you confirm all decisions or changes with your builder in writing to avoid costly misunderstandings. If you are working with an Architect, they can administer the contract for you, acting as the agent between you and the builder, ensuring that everything runs smoothly through the Construction phase.


If at all possible, move out of the house for the renovation. Living on site during renovation work slows things down, can end up costing more, can be difficult to insure and is generally very unpleasant particularly if you have young children. If you can, move out for the duration of the renovation and let the builders get on with it.


Finally, you should allow for a contingency fund. There will always be things that crop up during a renovation that you couldn’t have anticipated, so it is best to make sure that all the predictable things are locked in ready to go. This should mean that the need to draw on your contingency fund is minimised, but you have the emergency money there as a safeguard.


Being well organised with your renovation project and realistic about the level of upheaval and work involved should help you go with the flow, and enjoy the process as much as possible!