Maybe you want to remodel your house (or at least a room) or maybe you’ll be doing a renovation so you can sell your property at the best price. So where do you start? Here’s our checklist to get you going.
PRECISE PURPOSE: What do you want?
Make sure you know exactly why you’re doing a renovation. Your end goal is your first guidepost in making decisions before and during the project. It will help you make better choices (from colour and materials to furniture sizes and fixture types).
Have a wish list of what you like and don’t like, or what you want to change, upcycle, or throw out the door. Write these things down so they don’t get blown with the wind.
- Do I prefer simple designs or intricate patterns?
- Do I need more storage or less storage?
- What images inspire me? (Find some online, like on Pinterest.)
- What do I consider as essentials?
Your list can be as simple or as complex as you want. You can have two columns, what you want on the left and what you don’t want on the right, or split it down into categories (e.g., rooms or areas of the house).
BELIEVABLE BUDGET: How much will you spend?
How far and wide your project will go depends much on your budget, which really depends entirely on you. Set a reasonable amount so that you’ll minimise any risk of overspending.
Find out the average price per square meter for renovation work in your locality. Ask an architect or get information from builders’ organisations so you’ll have an estimate to start with. From there, you can decide on the loan amount you need, or whether to downsize or postpone your project.
Get real with what you can and can’t do within the limits of your budget. On the other hand, don’t cut too many corners or else you may have to spend more later when you’ve got to redo a job. Be a smart renovator by knowing where you can save, like sourcing quality materials at lower prices from reputable online stores
STEADY STYLE: Consult a design specialist
You don’t need an interior designer, or at least not everybody needs full-service interior design.
You probably just want to consult with someone who has studied and does interior design so you don’t have to regret anything later on.
Someone who’s done enough projects will have the experience to help you in areas like:
- Matching your home design with your lifestyle and desired moods
- Where and how to shop for decor, fixtures, furniture, and renovation materials
- Deciding where doors, windows, and structural support beams should be located
- Layout solutions for small areas and irregular room dimensions
- Visualising what your renovation will look like prior to spending time and money
When consulting with an interior designer, always be open-minded.
Remember that interior designers have much better ideas of how to design rooms in a practical way. Listen to everything the designer has to say and ponder them carefully.
CREDIBLE CONTRACTOR: Scout for a contractor you can rely on.
Having an experienced contractor will be most helpful during a renovation. Referrals can be a great way to find a good contractor, though this should not stop you from searching online or asking at your local hardware store.
List down available contractors and ask them for credentials, licenses, and references. You can also search for reviews online (if any). Ask for a quotation from at least three contractors who offer services to suit your needs. Take time to speak to their former clients and to visit a past project.
After gathering information, ask to interview the best contractor on your list. Discuss the contract, warranties, insurance, and other relevant questions that will ease away your doubts.
PRACTICABLE PLAN: Plan your work, work your plan!
Start your project only after proper planning! This will help you avoid unnecessary spending, extra work time, and crucial mistakes. It’s where you indicate what’s essential and what you can do without (or do later), the order of priority for tasks, who’s in charge of what, and when things should be started and finished.
Before mapping out your plan, assess the condition of your property. You might need a structural engineer, a surveyor, an electrician, and a plumber to do inspections and make recommendations. Plan your renovation activities based on their reports.
It’s very important to follow the cliche “plan your work and work your plan”, but also be prepared for changes along the way. Make sure you stay in the general direction of your project, with enough room for unavoidable adjustments.
THOUGHT-OUT TIMELINE: Make a realistic calendar.
When you already know what needs to be done, create a timeline of the tasks that need to be carried out.
Include time also for preparatory tasks (setting up floor protection, signage, preparing safety equipment, etc.). Discuss your project calendar with your contractors and do the needed adjustments. Along the way, revise your schedules when delays happen or when tasks finish earlier than planned.
Renovations can follow a general order, as follows:
- Assessment & planning
- Demolition work
- Electrical and Plumbing jobs
- Framing and Drywall
- Fixtures and cabinets
- Finish work
POLICIES & PERMITS: Comply with policies and get proper permits.
Before starting any renovation work, make sure you are clear on your home owner’s policy about renovations, get necessary building permits, and inform your insurance company.
Check your local council for any approvals that may be required. Review the local Development Control Plan (DCP) and find out what’s allowed and what’s not in your area. Inquire also as to which tasks require tradespeople.
You may want to know about energy efficiency, water efficiency, and other standards and requirements. Find out more government information on renovations and additions at http://www.yourhome.gov.au/you-begin/renovations-and-additions.