It can be really disheartening to see your home renovation or building project plans put on hold in the current climate. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use this time wisely to put your plans in place and still move forward on that home improvement you have been planning.
Here are some tips to consider:
1. Get your ideas on paper
Renovation and extension projects can be lengthy processes. Throughout the project, you will need to be clear, consistent, and precise to avoid others misinterpreting your instructions or design wishes, or giving you perhaps well-meaning, but ill-conceived advice.
Unless you can explain what it is you are trying to achieve, how can you expect others to deliver you a final product that matches your expectations? To do this, you will need to ask yourself (and others who will be using the property) some serious questions. If you don’t get this clear in your own mind and don’t capture your vision and goals in a clear way before you start, you run the risk of mistakes being made and misunderstandings happening – all this can cost you serious time, money, and frustration!
Take a look at the handy Digital Project Brief available online at buildincommon.com and use this template to capture all your ideas in one place.
2. Set up a virtual consultation
Once you have Project Brief ready, it’s time to start engaging with some designers, builders, or tradespeople. Depending on the nature of your project start your research on who is out there that could help you get the job done. You can ask friends for recommendations, jump online, and search local providers or visit online networks such as home improvement display centers, common interest groups such as Renovating Mums, or more generic google searches.
The upside with the current restrictions is that virtual consultations are becoming easier and more common. Before arranging an online consultation:
A: Make contact either by phone or email to confirm that they do the work you are thinking of and are available to have a chat.
B: Send them a copy of your completed Digital Project Brief in advance to the virtual consultation. This will save you and them a lot of time and effort and give them a clear understanding of the scope of works you are looking for.
C: Have a copy of your Project Brief in front of you when you sit down for your virtual consultation. Make a list of all the things you want to ask before the meeting and remember to take notes.
3. Plan your timeline now
Research shows that as a general rule of thumb the time between realising you need or want a renovation and actually getting started, it about 6 months.
This may change depending on current home building grants and other industry incentives, but nevertheless, you can use this time of isolation to get your research done, create a mood board for your project and start collecting information from your local council, trades, and designers. Make sure you get your product and appliance research out of the way now.
If the initial consultation goes well, you may find yourself ready to move onto the design phase, followed by the concept and feasibility phase. There is no reason why you can’t learn how to take accurate measurements with a little help from the experts.
4. Plenty of time to get comparison quotes
Now is also a great time to get cost estimates out of the way! Remember to always get multiple quotes to ensure that you are getting a fair and reasonable price. What you might find is that the quotes you will be given are presented and worded in different formats, which can be confusing.
To work out if you are comparing ‘apples with apples’, print off all quotes and lay them beside each other. Make notes on what seems amiss or where you would like further information. This method will provide you with a clear understanding of what is and isn’t included and what has been overlooked. A difference in price may sometimes be that scope of works has been forgotten e.g. the price for installation, removal of rubbish, incorrect number of light fittings, etc.
5. Keep an eye on up-to-date official advice
At a time when health conditions and public restrictions are changing on a weekly basis, make sure you take the time to check th4e Department of Health websites in your state to understand what work can be undertaken and what, if any, restrictions there are on trade professionals entering your home.
As a final tip, make sure you read the fine print of any service engagement closely and understand any terms and conditions that relate to delays in supply or services due to unforeseen circumstances, including pandemics.