Congratulations! You ve taken the big leap and are building or renovating your home. The weeks and months ahead promise to be equal parts exhilarating and challenging as your dreams begin to resolve into reality. Beware, however! Your exciting project can very quickly turn into a nightmare if you dont plan and control every aspect of your project effectively. Weve all heard horror stories of renos or construction projects that went terrifyingly wrong, and left owners emotionally and financially scarred.To avoid such a fate, we thought wed look at some common pitfalls and offer a little bit of sage advice as to how you can avoid them.
Pitfall 1: Underestimating Your Budget
In all my years in the construction industry, I ve never seen a project come in at, or under budget. Irrespective of how meticulously you plan, something will always go wrong. Whether its unforeseen complications, underestimated materials costs or the job simply taking longer than expected; there is always something that can and does go awry. Its always a good idea to budget 15-20% over and above your defined costs. This leaves room for budget overruns and reduces your exposure. More importantly, it is crucial to ensure that you are constantly in control of where your expenses are relative to your budget. Closely monitoring your costs will help you to make decisions on your feet and avoid nasty surprises.
Pitfall 2: Skimping on Contractors
If the smooth-talking contractor who promises to tile your bathroom for 30% less than the nearest competitor sounds too good to be true – he probably is. Good quality work is rarely cheap but will save you a fortune in repairs in the long run. While it can be a significant investment time, you should meet with a few different contractors for each part of the job to ensure you get the best cost-performance. We all have busy lives, and juggling work and family can be a bit of a logistical headache. Nevertheless, if you plan your time efficiently, you will be in a better position to make the right choices. Youll thank yourself down the track.
Pitfall 3: Poor Organisation
Make no mistake; your build will need careful project management if it is to run smoothly. If you cant tell Agile from Scrum, or think that PRINCE2 is the son of a famous rock star, you will need to brush up quickly to stay on top of everything. Your first step is to ensure that all your documentation is in order. Between quotes, permits, applications, invoices, plans and others, you can soon end up drowning in paper, which can lead to costly errors and oversigh. Get your files in order, and you will pave the way for a far smoother ride.
Pitfall 4: Substandard Record Keeping
At every stage of the journey, you will be inundated with information, ideas, and suggestions for how to get the very best out of your project. Few things can be as frustrating as struggling in vain to remember where you saw those spectacular bathroom fittings or the exact name of the colour paint that you wanted to decorate your bathroom. Ensuring that you carefully note every inspiration or discovery will ensure that you can easily refer back when needed.
Pitfall 5: Over-Designing the Interior
Not everyone is born with an innate spacial sense. Some people can look at a set of plans and immediately envisage what should go where. Others may as well be looking at blueprints for a nuclear submarine. When it comes to planning the interior, less is frequently more. The last thing you want to do is invest in fitting out your bathroom, kitchen or installing those wardrobes, only find out that the place feels a little bit like that submarine after all. Get a solid handle on the dimensions and space requirements, and you will save yourself some disappointment and unnecessary costs.
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