Renovating your home can be a stressful and nerve-racking experience. At the same time you need to coordinate works, schedules, budgets and of course your family life. In short, when not planned correctly it can end in disaster.
Luckily with a bit of planning, and some up front thinking, you can greatly increase your chances of a successful renovation, sticking to your budget and reducing your stress levels.
The below checklist will head you in the right direction.
Work out your budget
First up, you need to work out your budget. Not just an estimate on the back of an envelope, but what you can really afford and over what time period.
Your budget will dictate the size of your renovation and also what materials you use. Without knowing your budget you are heading for failure.
Work out your budget and then add a safe guard of 20 percent in case costs blow out. Knowing where you can allocate funds and where you need to cut down will help you out when deciding which quotes to go with for each material or service.
Contractor or Do It Yourself?
Ask yourself whether you want to pay for a professional or do the work yourself?
While DIY can be cheaper, it can add a lot more stress and if things go wrong then the budget will suffer.
If you don't have any experience with renovation then it is best to start with a contractor, at least for the heavy work. You can always do the redecorating and painting yourself, but anything involving power tools or supporting walls should be handled by a professional.
Know the structure of your home
Sometimes even professionals get it wrong. It’s worth checking, and then double checking, all of the supporting walls in your home to make sure you don’t knock an important area and cause more damage than you can afford to fix.
If you are undertaking a major renovation with structural changes, it is worth getting and independent engineer to review the designs. The extra few hundred dollars up front can save a lot of money if an issue is picked up.
Is asbestos going to be an issue?
Asbestos is still an issue in Australia. While there are no asbestos factories any more, many of the older homes still have asbestos in the roof or in other materials used to build the home. Even if your home was built in the 1980s or 90s, there is still a good chance that asbestos was used.
You need to check if this is the case, as there are costs and safety requirements that need to be considered if you have to remove asbestos.
As a starting point, organise a professional asbestos inspection as it’s not safe to do this DIY. Qualified inspectors will assess your property from top to bottom and will specifically detail where asbestos has and hasn't been used.
The assessment will also show the extent of asbestos used in your house and what condition it is currently in. For example, if it's starting to break apart then there may be an immediate health reason to have it professionally removed.
You will receive an asbestos report at the end of the inspection which you can use to start planning your renovations around asbestos or show to a qualified asbestos removalist so they can quickly remove the offending materials, clearing the way for you to begin your project.
What permits do you need?
Check with your local council what building permits you need and what requirements you must meet.
Forget to obtain a permit, and you could be fined thousands of dollars, as well as a delay in a certificate of occupancy.
How you will live during the renovations?
As a last point, it is important to consider how you will still live and function in your home as it's being renovated.
You need to actively think about the timing of your renovations, and how you can schedule these to minimise impact on your life as well as budget.
There are obvious things, such as not renovating both your bathrooms at once, but there are also many less obvious things such as not painting rooms days before your kids exams.
Look at your schedule and try to match your renovations accordingly.