With the wealth of information online and the numerous home renovation shows on TV, it's easy to believe that home renovations are straightforward and simple when in reality, even the simplest project can quickly become problematic and very expensive. In this article, we'll go into some of the hidden challenges of renovating and why having a professional manage the project can save you a lot of stress and regret.
Our home is the most significant investment we’ll ever make, so it’s no surprise that we pour our heart and soul into wanting to make it perfect. But at Refresh Renovations we’re often contacted by homeowners whose enthusiasm and excitement have got the better of them, causing their renovation project to derail. As Cambridge builders, we know the common pitfalls with home renovations and we’re able to bring our expertise to bear to ensure that every project is completed on time and within budget.
In our experience, when it comes to a renovation the importance of time should not be underestimated. If you’re just moving in, take some time to learn how your property ‘flows’ and what modifications – if any – would offer the best rewards. Spending time on familiarisation will help you achieve the best results in the long term. This time will also inform your planning – whether they’re extensions, loft conversions or kitchen redesigns, many projects proceed without proper planning and require remedial work to bring things back on track. As well as wasting time, this can also eat up large sums of additional, unplanned budget. Taking time therefore heads our agenda.
When it comes to budgeting, it’s important to be realistic. We recommend not underestimating costs, but also avoiding splurging on unnecessary luxuries. It’s very easy to lose control of the budget, and it can be best to hand control of the purse strings to an independent project manager who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to the project. It can also be prudent, for example, to add a 20% contingency to your budget so that the impact of unforeseen complications is mitigated.
With a whole world of information available online and a host of home improvement shows airing on TV, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that domestic building projects are straightforward and that they always work out in the end. The reality is that even the smallest project can involve a number of different professionals, from architects to builders and electricians to painters and decorators. Keeping track of each constituent part of the project can be a headache, and there’s no substitute for experience in this area, especially when everyday life often gets in the way.
It’s not uncommon for projects to start to fall apart when homeowners have accepted the lowest quotation or hired professionals without asking for references, talking to satisfied customers or conducting thorough research. This applies not just to tradespeople, but also to architects – just because they have a great website and a strong portfolio, that doesn’t mean they’ll be a great fit for you and your particular project.
The project itself can be fraught with complications if it’s poorly specified. Inaccurate measurements, incorrect materials and subsequent changes to the design can all cause problems. And what appear to the uninitiated to be simple changes can actually result in considerable overspends and over-runs on the schedule. Even moving a light switch or adding an extra socket at the wrong time can be costly, so it’s vital to commission detailed drawings and plans and to take great care on reviewing and approving them before any work commences.
Accountability is another key factor for a successful home improvement project. This can be tricky with a team of contractors as they have the capacity to play the blame game. Building a team of tradespeople, some of whom may never have met each other let alone worked together before, can be a headache, and that’s where a project manager can be worth their weight in gold.
While this makes home improvement sound like a nightmare, as Simon Kelliher of Cambridge builders Refresh Renovations UK points out, hiring a renovation expert can make all the difference. ‘As a design and build professional, I’ve seen many people come unstuck by rushing into a home renovation without the necessary skills or experience,’ says Simon. ‘At Refresh we’re able to work with clients to take away the stress of an extension, loft conversion or kitchen redesign by following a simple but tried and tested formula. Our five-step Refresh Process starts with the Initial Consultation before moving into the Concept & Feasibility phase. When that’s completed we embark on Working Drawings and Costings, and only when they are completely approved do we enter the Construction stage. The fifth and final phase is the finished home.
‘The great thing is that working with us won’t necessarily increase the cost as we’ve built excellent relationships with our tradespeople and our suppliers. Add to that our ability to ensure that the right contractors are on site at the correct times, to schedule materials deliveries accordingly and to manage the overall budget objectively, and you’ll receive a better end product with less hassle and a similar spend.’
Refresh Renovations UK are Cambridge builders offering design and build services. To discuss your home improvement project, please get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page.
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.
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.