Being an avid fan of grand designs and all-around general daydreamer I thought the prospect of a house renovation couldn’t be that hard right? After all, it’s only an extension……boy what a surprise that was. My naivety certainly came back to bite me. But fear not, having been there and learned the hard way I hope to be able to help with these tips on how to start a house renovation if you are thinking of taking on a house renovation or redesign project.
HERE ARE OUR TOP 10 TIPS ON HOW TO START A HOUSE RENOVATION..
1. GET AHEAD OF THE GAME
Find a way to collate all of your ideas and research. I found it easier to carry a notebook with me and create an online research bible by creating boards on Pinterest and bookmarking all relevant websites for research. It pays to get organised from the get-go, as it’s surprising how quickly all of the information piles up. Also, it gives you a great visual reference when trying to convey your ideas to architects, builders, and of course loved ones. I’m sure it makes perfect sense in your head and you can visualize it but it’s always trickier to try and explain without a visual reference.
2. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Once you have a clear idea of the sort of renovation you require to get an idea of the scale and size of the project. Try and find examples of what you would like to have built and from there do some research into whether you will need planning permission. The planning portal offers a variety of really helpful advice on all aspects of planning permission.
It’s a really good idea to have an idea of what you ideally want to spend as this could affect what and what is not possible in terms of the overall build
Once you have an idea of how you would like it to look and what your ideal budget is you can really start to drill down on the next really important aspect…
3. FINDING AN ARCHITECT AND THE RIGHT ONE AT THAT
As above, take your time to really research architects. Start with a relatively local search and then widen the net if need be. I also found it useful to cross-reference their websites with checkatrade reviews. Look for client testimonials and look at previous projects they have done to see if you feel like they could work for your idea. Make a shortlist of five architects you like.
4. MAKE CONTACT
Make a call and send a follow-up email to find out more about them and arrange a site visit to your property so you are able to meet them in person and discuss your project in detail. Be prepared with any questions you may have and ask lots of them to ensure they are the right fit. Be sure to give them an idea of budget at this stage so they are able to advise how realistic it is and what could be possible.
5. APPOINTING YOUR ARCHITECT
Once you have settled on your chosen architect make sure that you provide as much information as possible, this is where steps 1 & 2 can really help. Be clear about the design that you would ideally like, the architects are the experts and will work to your brief but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, this is a process and it takes time to get it right and it’s unlikely that the first draft plans you receive back will be perfect, it’s on-going progress and it may need tweaks here and there to ensure you are completely happy with it. More often than not amendments are easy to make and it’s definitely worth spending the time at the start to really get it right and a good architect will work closely with you until you are happy.
You would have discussed an idea of the budget with your architect so they are able to give you an idea of what is possible and they will consider this when coming up with plans for your property. Do bear in mind though to get a real idea of estimates you will need to engage tradespeople.
In your budget allow for the following:
- Cost of work
- Fixtures and fittings
- Any new furniture or household items you would like
- Rental fees – if you will need to move out during the renovation
Once you have calculated your figure for your renovation it is definitely advisable to add 10% – 20% to cover any additional costs that may be incurred (unfortunately it always goes over budget so it’s best to be prepared from the offset and have a contingency in place).
7. PLANNING PERMISSION
Now is the time to get in contact with your local authority to apply for planning permission. If you have appointed an architect they should offer a service where they will complete this for you.
By contacting the local authority they will be able to confirm the following
- If you need planning permission to proceed
- What building regulations are required
- Consent if it is a listed building
- If building near a boundary will the Party Wall Act affect your work
8. MANAGING THE PROJECT
At this point, it is a good idea to think about who will take care of the project management.
- Can you do the project management yourself?
- Points to consider are:
- Are you able to be on-site every day?
Do you have the time to manage the various contractors that will be required throughout the project and manage the timeline of who is needed when?
Are you confident that you are able to answer any questions regarding the plans and work required?
To help you make a decision it is worth talking to your building company to see if they are able to project manage it for you, this will come at an additional cost but is this worth weighing up when considering the above points?
9. FINDING TRADESPEOPLE
Word of mouth is a great way to find tradespeople, talk to friends or people in your local community to see if they can offer any recommendations. Facebook community groups are fantastic for this. Make sure that you discuss all of the points mentioned above and confirm the budget, project plan and timeline.
Do your own research as well and check the following sites for help:
10. TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND PRESS THE BUTTON
By now you have done all your research, you have a budget, your plans are approved and your contractors are in place to start and have agreed on a timeline.
So well done for making it this far! Now it’s time to take a deep breath and press the button it’s an exciting/stressful/emotional time but it will be well worth it when it is finished and here’s hoping you will be so happy in your new home!
Hopefully the above gives you a good idea of how to start a house renovation and there will be more top tips to follow and help you through the process from beginning to end. As always feel free to get in touch with any questions, always happy to help!
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how to start a house renovation