Updated: Jul 18, 2022
If you have ever renovated a house beyond sanding paper and a lick of paint, you have probably faced some issues. Depending on a number of factors it might have been a better or worse experience. To give you heads up before your next project I listed these 12 biggest traps you might fall into if you are not careful.
Lack of clarity
Unless you know what EXACTLY you want to have done it falls under this section. Yes, it’s one of these things that cannot be avoided but it can definitely be reduced. The more things you decide ahead of time the more clarity it will give you in terms of price and timescale. The clearer you are about the outcomes the clearer people around you are. If you keep changing your mind every 5 minutes the more of a chance that people around you, will stop following your thinking. That may lead to confusion and extra costs. Clarity is a key.
Going with the cheapest quote
It’s a very old trap. When I used to work in a construction company we always used to use this trick and 9 out of 10 times it would work. What I would do is lower the value of the quote by excluding some less obvious elements that would still need to be done. This way the client sees a really cheap bottom line figure and doesn’t really read the bit in the middle saying what is it based on.
Paperwork and permissions
Depending on the property and kind of work that is being done the list of required documentation can be long like Terms and Conditions of Facebook. Party walls, Asbestos certification, Fire Risk assessments… Make sure you know about the existence of these and ensure they are followed as the final responsibility always stays with the homeowner.
Trying to keep and re use things that aren’t worth reusing
That’s a classic trap people fall into. “The boiler is fine, we can re use it!” But when you count the amount of time it takes to remove the boiler, keep it and protect if for the duration of the renovation, buy new flue and run it, re install the boiler in the new place you will find out that the cost saving is minimal if not none! But you still end up with the same old boiler that is most likely out of guarantee period and can break at any time.
Access to the property
Something to consider when planning home renovation. How will builders be coming into the work area? Where will they sit drinking a coffee? Where will they change? Where will they use a toilet? It may turn out that that the access needed is more then only side path…
Missing out on the external works and garden space
That’s another common mistake especially when it comes to terrace houses. If there is no access to the garden from the street either by a side/back path then any mucky and dirty garden works are an absolute must have. Trust me you really don’t want a wheelbarrow riding over your newly laid wooden flooring…
Starting too soon
When the builder is pushing you to make a start even though you are not 100% clear yet. Remember builders are still business owners and to a degree – sales man. They look at your project as a business opportunity and want to get their foot in the door. There may be loads of reasons for that, cash flow requirement, other projects in the way etc
You can have all the time in the world to think about your renovation but there will be things that will not meet your expectations. These might be little or huge and you will need to make a quick decision as to the best way of fixing it. Something to be aware of and keeping a plan B for crucial elements of your renovation.
There is nothing worse then missing out on the acoustics of the house. Kitchen noise or a lovely toilet sounds coming through the bedroom walls, children running upstairs and you thinking that the ceiling is just about to fall down…. Its commonly missed thing but once done, its done.
Drainage alterations tend to get missed out at the early stages of the design work but are usually a crucial element. You can dream of having a bathroom at the front of your house or kitchen in the centre but unless there is a soil pipe in the area that you can connect to – it’s not going to happen.
Good ventilation is really important. Of course, if you have rooms with windows – that sorts the problem out. But if you have a bathroom, utility space, cloak room etc that might be lacking a window – make sure you have sufficient extraction there.
Unless you live in the middle of the forest you will have neighbours. Why are they part of a trap list? Because they are usually missed out on. Yes, from a legal point you don’t need to apologise to them for the dust, noise and interference all the time. But remember that once your renovation is done you will have to live next to these people. And it’s not really a great start of a neighbour-relationship if you don’t give a shit. Just saying…
Its usually picked up on quite early but it happens that the layout is not entirely compliant and you get to hear that after the first visit of Building Control Inspector.
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