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5 biggest mistakes people make when starting home renovation building work

5 biggest mistakes people make when starting home renovation building work

We have all been there. Bought a house, moved in, lived in it for a couple of years and then started running out of space. What can you do? Look for a new house and move? Extend, convert and refurbish the existing house? Well… the guy selling the house a few years back said it has lots of potential, right? 🤔

So you reach out to the architect that Joe Bloggs from across the street recommended who says that for a couple of hundred pounds and a bucket of good will you will get a planning permission as soon as 6 weeks from now.`

If that sounds like you, be careful! You might be a step away from making one of the 5 biggest mistakes people make when starting home renovation work.

1. Trusting the architect's cost estimate.

I have a lot of respect for architects and their profession, but a creative mind doesn’t always mean financial awareness. So if you rely on the architect's advice when it comes to the build cost - I hope you have a massive retention in your spare bank account 👍 Especially now in the post pandemic construction world.

2. Paying builders upfront.

The amount of horror stories floating on the internet about builders who took the money and ran away or those who did some dodgy work and left is just horrifying. The fact that someone says: we always take all the money upfront does not mean you have to pay that upfront. Let me tell you this secret: payment terms as well as a lot of other contract conditions are negotiable! You should always be negotiating terms that make you feel most comfortable with the work that is about to happen. Stage payments are common, perhaps keeping a retention of some sort. Do what you need to do to keep your money safe.

3. Paying for the work in cash.

Well. We all know what this means. Without going into too much detail just know that the minute you pay cash for the contracted work - whatever the contract says is null and void. If you are trying to be above the law and not pay taxes you can’t expect the same law to protect you and your money. Just saying 🤷🏼‍♀️

4. Underspecifying design information / trying to make design decisions as you go along.

Yeah… if you want the fastest route to a project that is hugely delayed and massively over the budget this is it. There will be decisions you will need to make on the spot as things hardly ever go to plan. Something might get discontinued. The wall is in a different place than originally assumed. These are unforeseen changes.

But if you know for 6 months that you have to choose handles because like an average human being you like to have doors between rooms in your home and yet, you do nothing about it until they are needed on site the next day… you are not really putting yourself in the best position.

5. Giving yourself a hard deadline.

The typical one is Christmas. Loads of people make that mistake every year. They have either moved out and have been renting for a few months or they have been living with the builders for some time. Work is falling behind and Christmas is just around the corner. When everyone is running around buying Christmas presents you are choosing bathroom tiles and paint colours. You may or may not succeed in your aim of completing prior to your deadline but the amount of stress you will put yourself through will be traumatising. Do yourself a favour and avoid any hard deadlines like this.

There are loads more mistakes and pitfalls that cost people time and money. But these 5 are really the most common and the biggest ones in terms of the impact they have on the project as well as peoples lives. They are also usually the easiest to avoid.

Building projects are hard. Not only because it’s an area where everyone knows something but because everyone feels overconfident with what they know. It’s also a fairly stressful place to be in. If you would like to receive regular tips on what not to do and how to go about the building work on budget - sign up to our newsletter below.


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