Top five crucial pitfalls when renovating

Often, the excitement of a renovation can become all too much, with the idea that renovations can be somewhat 'easy'. We have zoned in on the 5 crucial pitfalls that could happen when undertaking the well-deserved makeover on your abode.

Home renovation plan
ARTICLE Persephone Nicholas


1. The project is bigger than planned

This can happen when work begins and preparatory work shows there’s a problem, such as damp, wet or dry rot or structural defects, that go-ahead in advance.
This is what happened when Nielen Prince of Refresh Renovations SA was brought in to give a client’s bathroom a facelift. When his team started work they discovered rotten Gyprock beneath the old tiles.
To make matters worse, the structural uprights didn’t comply with SA building regulations and the integrity of the bathroom wall was compromised. The ceiling also lacked proper support.
The structural issues had to be addressed, but the work wasn’t within the original project scope and Nielen had to get the go ahead from his clients. They were away on holiday at the time, so Nielen sent text messages and photographs to show them the problems that had been uncovered. They quickly approved the necessary work and budget increase.
The result was a bathroom that took a little longer and cost a bit more than planned, but the clients were delighted with their finished bathroom and had the peace of mind that the job had been completed to a high standard with all structural issues rectified.

2. Budget blowouts

There are two main reasons why renovation costs turn out to be higher than expected:
Insufficient detail in the original brief/costings. The more detail you have in your renovation brief, the more accurately it can be costed. Choose suppliers, tradespeople and project managers who will give you a firm quote (rather than an estimate) for your project and avoid agreements based on uncapped hourly rates.
Unforeseen expenses. Problems often come to light once a renovation is underway, so be mindful that additional costs may crop up. This is one of the reasons experienced renovators recommend having a contingency (of at least 15-20% of the total budget) just in case.
homeowners with cowboy builders

3. Communication challenges

Effective communication is vital if a renovation is to be completed on time and the budget. So make it a priority to work with people with whom you feel comfortable and communicate well.
When getting quotes, make sure you understand exactly what is and is not included.
After meetings or important discussions, follow up by email to ensure your requirements are clear and that you understand the cost implications of any decision. This is important, even for apparently minor details such as the position of power points, since moving them at a later date could cause delays as well as additional cost.

4. Poor planning

Effective planning ensures time and money are spent wisely, delivering maximum value for both. Plans should be in place well before a renovation’s start date and should help ensure that all procurement is completed in good time, the order of work is logical and efficient and that clients and/or members of the household understand the scope of work before it begins.

5. Time pressures

Clients will often come to Refresh with a tight deadline for a project. Sometimes there is little or no flexibility, particularly if the renovation is being undertaken in time for a specific occasion or event, such as the birth of a new baby. At other times, clients may be time poor and look to Refresh to deliver a quality job, quickly and with limited input from their side.

You might be interested in reading: Ten unique renovation ideas.

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This article by Persephone Nicholas featured on page 034 in Issue 024 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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