REGARDLESS of whether or not you decide to engage an architect or draftsman for your project, or whether you plan to be an owner-builder, your role in the planning stage of your project is extremely important, and will significantly influence your renovating success.
Once your budget for the project has been established, planning is the next crucial element of success.
Plan, evaluate, replan, cost your plan.
With good planning a successful outcome for your project is much more likely to be achieved.
It is your role to investigate options for everything from fitting and fixtures to the finishing touches before a 'tradie' sets foot on your property.
GET QUOTES! GET ESTIMATES! COMPARE PRODUCTS AND SUPPLIERS AND SERVICES.
When it comes to renovating, time literally means money. The more you prepare prior to work commencing, the more money you will save. It really is that simple.
If you are working with an architect, much of the design aspect, planning and organisation of the project will be undertaken by him or her.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be involved. If you have very specific tastes and a clear visual picture, make sure your architect appreciates the outcome you are trying to achieve.
Communication is the key to any successful relationship and this is no different. Go shopping and source products yourself - it’s fun!
If you decide not to engage an architect, or a project manager, planning will almost be entirely up to you.
Do your homework!
Source materials. Compare prices. Write everything down.
Put your entire plan in writing, along with cost estimates and estimated timeframes. Make it as detailed and clear as possible, so that you can show it to whomever you are dealing with at the time, be it your builder, tiler, painter or plumber.
"You wouldn’t start a business without a business plan - make sure you have a plan for your renovation."
I like to begin each project with a wish list and a “vision board” for each room and then the project as a whole. (A vision board is simply and compilation of images and samples and ideas for a room, be it digital, like Pinterest, or old fashioned with a collage of visual ideas torn from magazines and material swatches - more on this later).
Pinterest is a wonderful asset to any renovation project!
Once I discovered Pinterest I was an instant convert, however I had already commenced my major renovation prior to that discovery.
Ironically, I had almost entirely covered a large wall in our living room with pages and pages of images torn from magazines, organised into various rooms and including textiles, furniture, light fittings, rugs, paint colours, taps, bench tops, fridges, shutters, flooring options - you name it, it was there.
Upon discovering Pinterest, I realised I had in fact created a lifesize, 3D Pinterest experience of my own!
Once compiling my images of designs and products I liked on my massive 'Pinterest' canvas, it became extremely obvious what direction our renovation would take and what design theme we should follow.
I am a huge Hamptons’ style fan, and that is the theme I choose to follow when designing our most recent home.
With this visual concept in mind, it should have been a straightforward (yet still time consuming!) task to get quotations and prices for the products I intended to incorporate into the renovation, resulting in a much more accurate costing for budgetary purposes.
"Unfortunately, I didn’t heed my own advice at the time, and although I had a very clear visual image of what our home should look like, I didn’t take the next important step to follow up and get quotes and costings, resulting in times of genuine chaos and in significant overspending."
Another serious negative consequence of failing to plan is what I describe as ‘double dipping’.
Simply explained, it means that because a clear plan wasn’t in place, many of the contractors were called in and out to the project at different times, because jobs hadn’t been finished and the workers on-site weren’t ready for them - all due to a lack of thorough planning.
For example, the electrician was called in and out to the job constantly, adding significantly to overspending.
The painters too, came and went and came and went, when in fact they should have only been called in at the end of the project. It was, at times, a disorganised shambles.
Double dipping cannot be completely avoided, because trades such as electrics will have to come back to finish in the correct order of sequence.
However this should follow a plan, not just because you haven’t made up your mind about something, or even worse, changed your mind!
Painting undoubtedly should be undertaken at the end of a project, when everyone else has gone.
Nobody wants to spoil a fresh paint job. In the case of our major renovation, it was more difficult, given that the project spanned over three years (with time out for sanity's sake).
Lack of suitable planning results in significant time wasting and is consequently a money wasting activity.
Without a proper plan, I was often forced to make decisions on the spot, sometimes after lengthy discussions with the contractors on site. More time and money wasted.
Also, bad decisions made under pressure due to a lack of planning often had to be rectified.
Big, costly mistakes.
I remember one specific incident when I had to ask a carpenter to move a section of wall he had already constructed, because I realised upon seeing it in place that it would not have created enough space in the section of the ensuite in which it was positioned.
What an unnecessary waste of time and money.
"Sometimes, mistakes like this are unavoidable. However with proper planning, they can be avoided or at least minimised."
During the project every mistake I made due to a lack of planning, only served to make me feel less confident about my ‘project management’ skills.
It also made me feel very guilty that I was wasting our money. I realised that I was “in over my head” but I didn’t know what to do about it.
Another consequence of a lack of planning during our largest project was that it created a vicious circle of bad decision making.
I was often under pressure, deciding things on the spot, only to wake up the next day in exactly the same predicament, only with a new decision to contend with.
Once the project had started and work was well underway, I felt as though I never really reached a point where I had never had enough time to plan ahead for any significant period.
It seemed impossible to create a plan halfway through the project, and yet I didn’t want to stop work to do so, at the risk of losing my contractors.
During this time weekends and after school hours were packed with sports and activities, leaving me little time to get on top of things.
It also resulted in a great deal of unnecessary stress for the family, which could have been avoided had I planned better at the beginning and been more organised.
"Spend months if necessary to plan and budget in as much detail as you possibly can to avoid overspending, stress and worst case scenario - chaos!"
Don’t make the same mistake I did and start a renovation without a carefully considered plan - regardless of which way you intend to tackle your project.
Careful planning is essential to renovating success and it will save you thousands of dollars.
Renovating with love,