Excited to get a new kitchen or bathroom, many homeowners rush into their refurbishment projects without proper planning in place. It is important to take care of the fundamental details before you get started or your project could turn into a disaster, taking much more time and costing much more money than you expected.
Make sure you have a good idea of what you want before you start tearing down walls. By visualizing your project and looking into different options for the space, you’ll be able to make a list of everything you want to change. This will help to keep you on budget and on schedule down the road.
To help with planning, it is often worth hiring an architect. An architect can help you work through your ideas and put together a plan that fits your style and budget, and can also make sure the plans are executed properly by the contractors.
Sometimes cost increases are out of your control. For example, if an electrician finds that the wiring in the kitchen isn’t to code and needs to be replaced, unfortunately that’s an extra cost that you’ll have to accept. But often, cost increases can be the result of homeowners changing their minds mid-project.
Over the course of the project, you’ll have to make hundreds of decisions — from small items like picking out door handles, to bigger costs like flooring material. You might decide on slightly more expensive upgrades here and there, which can add up quickly. Our advice is to get a price list for materials in advance, work out what you can afford and stick to it. To help you stay on top of things we recommend logging project costs and setting a budget for the project in advance.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your refurbishment goes smoothly. First, make sure the materials you want are in stock and available. You may have your heart set on a specific bathroom tile, but if there’s a six-week backorder, it’s most likely going to cause massive delays and possibly additional costs. So check with your builder in advance to make sure all the materials you need are available.
Make sure the project manager or architect is going to be onsite regularly. Many will show up at the start of a project, delegate the work and then not show up again until the final walkthrough. This could be a recipe for disaster, so make sure you insist that a site manager is there daily or on a very regular schedule. If you’re living elsewhere during the refurbishment project, try to visit very frequently, if not every day. That way, when issues arise, they can be sorted out quickly.
Once a project has begun, maintaining good communication with your builder is key. Having a positive relationship with your builder will make sure you are kept up to date with any changes taking place or any problems that they may run into, keeping you on top of the project from wherever you are.