House Renovation

How to tackle a house renovation


Your home is a space personal to you; influenced by your style, relationships and experiences, the walls tell your story to those who enter. In today’s housing market, many people are opting for new build homes thanks to their 5% deposits, the Help to Buy scheme and the blank canvas they present you with. However, if you’re truly looking to put your mark on your next home, a renovation project could be just what you’re looking for.

Many houses across the country are empty and looking for a new lease of life. Fortunately, these are typically cheaper with more space for you to customise. Homebuilding and Renovating shares: “The process is complex and can be prone to unforeseen issues and expenses, so being well prepared is key to a successful project. Before you take on your own project, follow these tips from those who have been there and done it.”

Browsing the windows of your local estate agents and property websites to find your dream home is the easy part, it’s what happens once you’ve completed and picked up the keys that can present a challenge.

Schedule of works

Building Works

If you’re considering renovating a house, there’s nothing more important than having a plan of action. This will allow you to estimate costs and timings, as well as providing you with a schedule of what is happening and when. This schedule of works will list every single thing in your home that needs changing, such as the plumbing and damp, in addition to whether it’s possible to incorporate domestic house lifts or knock down a couple of walls.

Some of the steps on your schedule of works will have been outlined by your surveyor during the buying process, so will be available in your building report. During this stage, you may also opt for a measured survey to give you a scale drawing of the existing building. Otherwise, a builder will be able to offer more insight as to the jobs that will need to be completed.

Finding a contractor

Find the right contractor for the jobs will take time and dedication. Word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family might help you to feel more confident in your decision, however, it is important that they are fully aware of your vision before you bring them on to help renovate. The success of the project depends on your contractors, so it is crucial that you’re confident in their ability.

During this time, it is also worth hiring an architect if you’re wanting to use one. They can help to guide you through the Planning Permission process, as well as give you an estimate of costs for the project. Although many people forgo hiring an architect, they can come in useful, especially if you’re hoping to really push the boundaries. This stage often coincides with the schedule of works, allowing you to have your preparations complete and out of the way.

Paperwork and insurance

Builder Working

Before any work starts, you’ll need to make sure that you have your paperwork and insurance organised. Planning Permission, Building Regulation approval, as well as the observation of the Party Wall Act are essential, and breaching any of these could prevent building works from going ahead.

If you’re considering building an extension, you will need to apply to your local council for Planning Permission. In the UK, this currently costs £462 if you’re building a brand-new dwelling or £206 if you’re looking to add an extension to the existing property. Once Planning Permission has been granted, this lasts for 3 years, in which time the building works will have needed to be completed.

When starting renovation work of any kind, you need to let your insurer know as this could invalidate your policy. If your existing cover doesn’t allow for renovations, you can always opt for a specialist insurance policy whilst the work is ongoing. This insurance typically includes public liabilities insurance, malicious damage and structural damage protection, as well as protection for your cover if left empty. Your contractor will also need to be covered, so it’s worth checking that they have site insurance.

Starting the renovation

With your plans set in place and your team of building professionals ready to go, it’s time for the renovations to begin. During this time and depending on your budget and the scale of the job, you may wish to live in alternative housing. It is likely that your home will be filled with dust and noise, which may make day-to-day tasks more difficult. If this isn’t something you’d budgeted for, make sure that you have a plan of action, knowing which rooms you’ll be able to live out of whilst work is done in other areas of the house.

Some people may opt to do some of the renovating themselves in order to cut back on costs. In some areas, this can be really cost-effective. However, in others, it is worth enlisting in the help of a professional. Structural, electrical and plumbing are crucial to get right, whereas you can be a bit more lenient with elements such as painting and decorating.

Tips for tackling a house renovation

Installing a home lift is truly one of the best renovation ideas, bringing many benefits such as added value to your home. A house renovation is no simple task but, hopefully, with the above tips and advice, you will have a good platform with which to build off. No matter what your goals are, remember, from organising paperwork to finding the right contractor, planning and preparation are always key.

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