How To Keep Your Renovation On Track
Whether it be one room, an addition, or a whole house, these are the tips to make sure you keep your renovation on track.
We all know what happens when things don't go to plan - lots of dollars, lots of heartache, lots of pain. So getting it right from the start is a critical one.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time there will be unforeseen delays. There's going to be hidden costs. Workmanship could be shoddy.
But there are ways to avoid all that.
Firstly, before you start, check your insurance. Insurance is a critical part of the renovation stage. If you're engaging a builder, or any professional, even tradies, ask, when you accept the quote, about their insurers. They should be very transparent because you cannot have anyone on site that's not insured.
This is a real simple question that people forget to ask. Don't be afraid to ask the question.
If they don't have insurance, or they can't give you a straight answer, or email or fax it to you, you've got some other questions you need to get to the bottom of.
If you're an owner-builder, you need to arrange your own insurance and ensure that you've got cover for everybody onsite.
You need to ensure that, because the fact is, you are now taking on the role as the builder, and you have anyone come onsite and anything happens to them, you are going to be liable.
You also need to check, depending on whether you're in the home or not, is do you need to, or have you checked in with your home and content insurance policy? Does it need to be maintained during that renovation build period, particularly if you're not there, or whether you can suspend it? Speak to your insurance brokers.
Insurance is where you have your assurance.
Check In With The Builder
When you've got people onsite, if you have a builder, a professional builder, and you've handed the whole project over to them, they're not going to want you to ring them daily.
But you may ask, when you are about to sign the contract, what the agreement will be on when you can check in with the project supervisor, or the building supervisor, or the builder, depending on how big the project or how big the builder is, and so you can meet, ask questions, and check on things.
However, if you're coordinating yourself and you're an owner-builder, or you've got a reno and you're dealing with trades yourself, have a weekly check in. Get the weekly check in with the builder or the tradies, phone, email, Skype, site meetings are good ones, and cover the items for the week ahead.
Understand what is going to be scheduled, and then you've got that in place, and you can check off the week after, the follow through is important as well, but at least you know what's going on.
Anything of major importance that's going on in your site during that period, you're on top of it, you're aware of it. Not that you rock up one day and find a huge hole in the ground, or something's landed on site that you weren't aware of.
You have every right to understand that, be aware of it, know what's going on. It's your money you're spending.
Getting a builder or tradie contract review can be worth the extra dollars to ensure you don't end up paying more down the track. Don't get caught out in the fine print.
The other thing is, is the scheduling piece. Now, you can get the old spreadsheet out, an Excel spreadsheet, or you can write up one yourself, or there's some really cool apps these days that give you some scheduling or project management for the amateur, or for the starter, on how to actually schedule all the different people you're going to have on your site. You check on that, and so you know exactly, for the month ahead, for the project duration, who you're going to have at what stage.
Then as they're completed, you mark it off, you know what's coming up. If something hasn't been completed you can see the mud map of what needs to happen and have that communication, ask the right questions. That follow up process with your builder, your tradies, your suppliers, your service providers, is vital. So, you can only do that followup process if you've got some sort of scheduling plan and you can follow that through.
This is a question that people forget to ask, especially if you're an owner-builder or you've got a renovation or an extension happening, ask your tradies or your builders what is it they want from you. What can I do for you? What do you need from me before your guys get there, or before you're going to start? Because by asking that before they arrive, everything happens in place, there are no excuses for delays, there are no hold ups, there are no surprises.
The surprises are the things that tradies and professionals hate the most, because they get there, they plan, they've got their costs, they could take other people with them, laborers, and they find that it's just not what they expected and it becomes expensive. It's their time. People get paid on time, make the most of it, you keep them happy, and you actually have a project that will flow as you want.
Make time to check the workmanship if you are an owner-builder, or you've got other tradies that you've engaged yourself, or even if you've got a house that's built to a lockup stage and you're doing the rest of it. Make that happen. Do some frequent walk-arounds to see what's going on. Notice the changes. See what's happening.
Look out for potential hazards. You do not want something onsite that someone else has left, and then someone else could come along and break an ankle or hurt themselves, because that is going to delay your project, it's going to potentially be costly, legal issues. Unfortunately, you do have some people, whether they be drivers that deliver things onsite, or other tradies that don't take care, or they've forgotten to put things back, and you've got a potential hazard. And you for yourself, as well, you need to be aware of that. So look out for those sorts of things.
Don't underestimate the dangers on a building site. It doesn't need to be a big commercial building site for it to be dangerous. It can be just a home extension or a couple of room renovation, where you could still have dangers, so be aware of it, as well. Even things like fumes, what could be left exposed, flammable materials left onsite.
Check for waste because waste is at your cost. If you haven't negotiated it, make sure that you who you're paying takes their stuff offsite. If you had negotiated to get rid of the waste and you've got a dump bin there, then that's fine. That's something you've already had arranged.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Regular communication really is the key. Besides the planning side, talk to the people you're engaging. Talk to the people. They love someone with a personality. You don't want to be a pain in the backside to anybody, but get things in writing, back it up, ask questions.
You've got every right to ask a question. It's your money you're spending. Do it right, and if people don't want you to talk to them, then you've got to question if they are the right person for your site, because they really shouldn't be hiding anything. They should be very transparent.
When they're finished, they should actually walk you through, check off the work with you, and so you know exactly what you've got. If you've got questions then and there, you can ask before they've gone off to another job and you need to wait a week before they come back to fix it. And then you pay them. The simple one from that.
In the event you ever have anything that turns ugly, and I'm talking about a situation where it hasn't gone right, it is a tough one and that's the honest truth, but if that happens, you've got bodies like the Housing Industry Association, the HIA, the MBA, Master Builders Association, particularly if your builders or tradies you've got are members from there. Your local council sometimes or shire can be of help, in their building departments, in guiding you. You want to avoid lawyers if you can and ombudsmens. You want to avoid that where you can because it takes time and it gets dragged out. But be prepared.
If you get all the planning and preparation right first, they don't unravel later on, and you avoid those issues, and you keep your renovation on track.