Household

Top tips for avoiding property refurbishment pitfalls

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29th January 2016
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Renovating a home can be a tricky business. Whether you're looking to modernise a whole property or you simply want to update a single room, there are a number of potential pitfalls to be aware of when embarking upon a property refurbishment.

Jon Over, Owner and Managing Director at Goldstone Homes, provides his top tips for successfully planning your home makeover.

Don’t end up on the listed blacklist: before starting any work, check to make sure your property isn’t listed as a building of special architectural or historic interest.  You can find out if your building falls into this category by consulting the National Heritage database.  If your home is a listed building, you will need to get listed-building consent before undertaking any work involving demolition or partial demolition, internal and external alterations or extensions.  It is an offence to carry out any work on a listed building without the relevant consent so make sure you are certain about your property’s classification before you begin.  

Get the relevant planning permissions/check permitted development: The same goes for any relevant planning permissions or notifications required to refurbish or update a property.  If in doubt always check with the local authority.  A good builder will be able to advise you accordingly and provide an outline of which permissions you will need to apply for if applicable.

 Hire a reputable company to carry out the work: make sure you do your research on the company undertaking any renovation and refurbishment work on your behalf before you instruct them.  Be sure to get recommendations and references from their previous clients.  If possible try to view examples of similar projects they have completed previously and do not be afraid to ask questions.  Any legitimate tradesperson will be happy to demonstrate they are reliable, trustworthy and can complete your project on time, within budget and to a high standard.

Factor in a contingency budget: it’s always difficult to know precisely how much a project is going to cost you by the time it is completed so a contingency budget is essential for any refurbishment or renovation project.  Use the estimate of potential costs from your builder as a benchmark allowing for a contingency of between 10% and 15% on top of the total amount.  It’s a good idea to prepare your own budget for any other items and materials you may require.

Keep in close contact with your builder: make sure you are on hand throughout the project to answer any questions or queries the builders may have.  Remember, your choices may not always be immediately apparent to those working on site.  Make sure your requirements are clear from the outset and always update them with any changes you may make along the way as it may have a cost implication for you.  Schedule regular meetings with the project manager and ensure you get daily updates on progress.  Good builders will want to communicate with you so that you are delighted with the end result.

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