Self-build Renovation-What to consider
Self-Build home renovation projects can be challenging to manage, especially Deep Retrofit’s. Maybe you are a first-time buyer? Or maybe you have decided to downsize your house. Either way a Deep Retrofit has multiple moving component parts to arrange.
Each component should dove tail neatly into the next to ensure a successful retrofit/renovation.
Taking on something like this on your own can be a struggle. Unless you have experience in construction management it can be hard to succeed.
The drawbacks to doing a Self-Build Renovation
Construction continues to be the one industry in which people presume that they can give it a go themselves and succeed. Without experience, oversights and delays will occur and they will inevitably cost you money. Costs mount up for numerous simple things that you wouldn’t even have considered at first.
You hire a tradesman. But you leave them standing around with nothing to do for a day or two. You will still have to be pay them for those unproductive days. Simple things like not ordering the correct quantity of materials, or even just forgetting to have the portaloo removed on time.
These are all Slippage and slippage costs money.
If you don’t have experience in construction management, you’ll most likely fail to successfully manage a self-build renovation project.
Not only will the quality of the finished product not be as good, but you’ll suffer budget over-runs too.
Should I project manage my own Self -Build?
Personally, we recommend that no-one ever attempt to renovate by direct labour. Renovation works and especially deep retrofits are complex. They require close co-ordination and co-operation between tradesmen and suppliers.
There are a host of jobs and tasks that are not the responsibility of any particular trade. These are known as ‘builders’ works’. They will become your concern if you decide to give direct labour a shot. Buildings renovated by direct labour usually reflect the fact that there is no experienced individual in charge. One with an interest in overall the finished product. Builders and tradesmen are accustomed to operating under the instruction of a project manager, normally an architect.
Three reasons to hire a project manager
An experienced project manager will consider all the elements of your renovation, using experience, expertise, and joined-up thinking to stitch them all together. The project manager will care about your project and the quality of your completed deep retrofit.
For health and safety reasons it is now a legal requirement to appoint a competent person to plan and oversee your project. It is essential therefore to ensure that the company you engage is competent. They must be fully insured with public liability, employers’ liability, and all risks insurance cover. If the contractor you engage is not competent and properly insured and an accident happens on site, then you may find yourself badly exposed.
Carrying out a survey to establish the condition of your existing building is also of utmost importance. This helps minimise the likelihood of ‘nasty surprises’ during the job. By getting a survey done you avoid wasting time considering unworkable solutions such as, for example, underfloor heating, which may not function in your building due to its original condition.
Prepare your own Brief
Ok, you have decided to go with an experienced project manager,
Now it’s time to prepare a clear brief. Competent and experienced people still need you to tell them what you want to achieve.
This is ‘the brief’.
Be very clear about what you want to achieve why you want to achieve these it.
What is your primary motivation for doing the project?
Is your house uncomfortable or cold?
Are your fuel bills too high. Perhaps your house is draughty or suffers with condensation?
Your main priority may be to transform a badly laid out, old-fashioned and dated house that doesn’t fit your family’s needs?
Make a definitive list of all the elements of your home that don’t work well for you. Then make sure that the final plan for your house solves as many of these issues as possible. Don’t lose sight of these priorities during the design process.
Finally, your finances should also be arranged well in advance. The budget is an essential component of any plan because it dictates the scope of works that can be carried out and informs you design decisions. Seek professional advice on how to achieve your goals within your budget.
So should I do my own self-build?
Self-builds and in particular Renovations can be tricky and costly affairs to get right. There is a presumption that with some YouTube video’s and graft it is and cheaper to go it alone. For some people they can achieve success but more often than not it can end up being a drain on your resources and time with the resulting house not matching the one you dreamed of.
Instead seek the help of an experienced project manager and team. Be well-organised beforehand and clearly articulate what you want from the renovation. This way you will avoid the stress of making important decisions under pressure while the works are ongoing on site. This will also greatly speed up the whole building process and you’ll be able to occupy your dream home sooner and avoid any extra costs.
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