A renovation can be challenging if you haven’t done your homework on how to prepare for it. You might have heard horror stories about how disruptive it can be for a family. Here are 10 steps to help you to better prepare yourself:

  1. Create your vision

What is your main goal with this renovation? Is it going to be a total renovation of your home or only certain spaces? Will this renovation be long term or to flip the house?

Tip: Write down your goals and vision for the renovation and always keep that in mind when making any decisions.

  1. Research and choose an architect

You will be able to find reviews and information about various architects on the internet. Remember, word of mouth is always a good indication of someone’s work. Ask around and preferably speak to these architects in person. Make sure that their design styles are in sync with your vision and personal taste.

Tip: Depending on the scope of your renovation, you may need permits or approvals from local authorities. Discuss this with your architect and ask them what their scope will entail. Your architect will have to ensure that all paperwork and applications are in order before starting the project.

Depending on the scale of the project, in some cases an engineer will be required. Make sure that you discuss this with your architect.

  1. Create your budget

Make sure you discuss this with your architect as they can assist you in making the correct decisions. What is the maximum amount you will spend on your home?

Tip: It’s wise to set aside some extra funds and time for unforeseen circumstances. Renovations often encounter unexpected issues or delays, so having a buffer will help you navigate such situations without causing significant disruptions or financial strain.

  1. Start the design process

These days the complete design process is digital. Architects have changed over to 3D rendering and now you can see your design come to life. Make sure that you make relatively careful decisions when it comes to finishes. This can easily result in exceeding your budget, but don’t be too careful as this is your only chance to do what you want with your own space.

  1. Research and choose a specialised contractor

Speak to your architect or project manager about this. Ask them to suggest a suitable contractor. Some architects only work with specific contractors because they have a long-standing relationship and the contractor also understands their vision and design style. If you like a certain contractor’s styles of renovation and builds, you are more than welcome to suggest him or her. You do not necessarily have to say yes to the contractor the architect suggests.

Tip: Do proper research before making the decision. Visit their website, ensure that they belong to the NHBRC and to some type of builder’s organization. This will ensure that you can hold them accountable for any issues that might occur.

Before signing any contracts, thoroughly review the terms and conditions, payment schedules, and project scope. Ensure that all parties involved are in agreement and that the contracts protect your interests.

  1. The calm before the storm

It’s crucial to prepare yourself and your family mentally and emotionally for the entire process. It can be a disruptive period, but it also depends on the scale of the renovation. Once you know approximately how long it will take, discuss it with your family to manage their expectations. Once you have come to terms with this, the process will be easier. The best possible option would be to look for alternative accommodation for this period.

  1. Prepare your space

The safest option would be to move all your loose standing furniture and belongings to storage, depending on the scale of the renovation. This will create an easier space to work in for the contractors. This way you can also assess what you possess and what you can get rid of. You also have time to reflect on possibly finding new items that will better suit your new look.

  1. Start the project

Now the real fun begins! Discuss the scope and timeline of the project with your architect and contractor. This will give you a better perspective of how things work in this trade. This will also establish your expectations to both parties and manage your own schedule accordingly.

  1. In the eye of the storm

It is not the end of the world to try new ideas as the project goes on. You can always ask your architect to come up with new design changes, alterations to specific details, etc. Just be aware that any changes can result in extra costs and delays. Regularly visit the renovation site to stay informed about the progress and address any concerns promptly. Maintain regular communication with your project manager and address any issues or changes as they arise.

Tip: Maintain detailed records of all communications, contracts, invoices, and receipts related to the renovation. This documentation will be valuable for reference, tracking expenses, and resolving any disputes that may arise.

  1. Clear skies ahead

Once you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, be sure to arrange the last site meeting to discuss any snags. Any snags should be concluded within a short period of time. Once the snags are concluded, it is time for the certificates of completion and make sure that all your electrical, gas and other similar installations are signed off by a competent person.

Remember, the entire project is a team effort between the contractor, architect and yourself. It is important to keep everybody on the same page and keep all parties motivated during the entire project. By following these steps and staying organized and proactive throughout the renovation process, you can better prepare yourself for a successful home renovation. Remember to remain patient and flexible as unexpected challenges may arise, but with proper planning and communication, you can achieve the results you desire.

PS: Remember to document the process by taking photos and videos! You won’t regret it.

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