How to plan a home renovation

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Collecting ideas

Before getting a renovation specialist around, determine what you are trying to achieve - is it to create more space, add value, or prepare for resale? Having some idea of what you want at the end of the project will help both you and the renovation specialist through the design process. Gathering images of existing examples is a great way of creating inspiration that will highlight what trends and styles appeal to you. A simple scroll through our Photo Gallery or Case Studies can highlight what you like and don’t like. Look for inspiration in renovation type, product selection, style, colour and scale. Reviewing these images with your renovation specialist will be extremely useful, as it will enable the designer to align with your personal preferences.

Local Site & Building Restrictions

While the aesthetic qualities of a renovation are important, understanding what impact your project has on your house and site can hold even greater significance to a project’s outcome. With the help of your renovation specialist, you should become aware of your land title, land area, boundary and zone. This information is critical as each zone has strict requirements impacting on what you can and can’t do on your site. Simple things to look out for are height to boundary, land coverage and heritage zones. Let your Refresh Renovation take care of this for you, we have lots of experience in dealing with this process efficiently and taking the burden off our customers.

Finding the right people

Once you have decided on what you want to achieve it is time to start looking for the team who will make it happen. It's best to choose a company that has experience with similar projects. Unlike many other builders, the core business or Refresh is renovations, meaning they have probably carried out a renovation similar to yours. Refresh is heavily customer focused with an emphasis regular and open communication, as well as detailed budgeting and project management. If you’re unsure the best thing is to give them a call - They will be happy to give you advice and come for a free site visit to consult with you.

Creating a brief

The brief is the most important component of the concept stage. It is where the scope of the project is determined and provides the direction for the renovation specialist. Even if you have no idea what you want, it is still vital to create a brief. The most important thing is to create a priority list – make a list of must-haves VS nice-to-haves. While it is great to get all your ideas out, prioritising will ensure you have a tool to manage your ideas against the budget and keep you grounded.

Planning your budget

It is critical to highlight your budget in the brief. While you may not know what the building costs are yet, you should determine how much you can and can’t spend. Are you doing it to sell? Or is the plan to live here for the next 20 years? In these cases, you need to review the value of your house and determine if you want to under or over-capitalise your property.

A budget blow-out is a common occurrence in renovations and one of the main reasons for this is not engaging the concept stage. Trying to quote a project with no image or design is always going to have a high variability in price. Concepts will allow you to establish an idea of what the project will cost early on and determine if it is financially viable.

The later refinement into working drawings will provide you with an in-depth breakdown of components enabling a highly resolved cost estimate. This process and assessment before the project is important to ensuring the project comes in on budget. Due to the unforeseen nature of renovations, allowing for a contingency is critical. Unknowns such as leaks, rotting and subsidence are examples of common issues found after a project has started.

Allow a minimum of 10 per cent of the costs to cover these types of issues. Do try to investigate your different types of potential funding - savings, mortgage top-up, bank loan, personal loan. And if you need to spread the budget, ask yourself, could you complete your renovation in different stages over time?

Using concepts and drawings

The definition of concepts is broad throughout the industry and determining early on what you are getting is essential. This is usually identified in the pricing of the concepts. A concept that is comprhensive enough to estimate cost from is best. You are looking for something that is going to help you visualise and plan the space. For some people, a line drawing will be sufficient. However, a lot of people prefer to see 3D images.

A good concept explores form, function, colour and style. The more realistic this is, the greater the ability to critique and improve the design.

A common mistake is the confusion between concepts and working drawings. Working drawings are required from council for work involving building and resource consent. They are an extensive set of detailed drawings that are legal documents for the building work to be carried out. It is vital to find out early on if you require council consent, as there can be a considerable cost associated with this.

There are two types of consents required by council: building consent and resource consent. Building consent is required to ensure the building work meets the building code. This usually takes a minimum of 20 days to complete. Resource consent is only needed under special circumstances, and your renovation specialist will be able to advise if you need this.

Making it happen

Once your Renovation is underway, your dedicated Refresh Renovations specialist will be there to keep you updated and provide support for the duration of the project. Renovating with refresh also means that you have access to our proprietary project management system which allows you to track the progress of your renovation and communicate with the project manager regarding any aspect of the build.  

Contact a Refresh about your renovation

Want to know more? Get in touch with the renovation experts at Refresh now to find out what they can do for you and your home. Refresh Renovations Specialists offer a free initial one-hour consultation that will help you make the decision whether their team is the one for you. This consultation is no obligation and is a chance to understand what they can do for you.

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