Steps to a perfectly run project
Updated: Jan 13
Never start building work on a renovation project without the following:
1) Relevant planning permission if required.
Planning permission may be required for larger builds. Speak to your local authority for guidance.
2) Building control notice.
You must give notice when you start the work, most contractors will do this for you. Building control will monitor the project at key stages to ensure that the project fulfils building regulation requirements.
3) Detailed design plans by an architect, interior designer or qualified other party
A common misconception is that you need an architect to draw up plans and submit applications on your behalf, this is simply untrue, an interior designer or architectural technician can also produce the same drawings. An architect would be essential for bespoke house designs and more complex projects, a simple house extension could be carried out without an architect provided the person doing the work has relevant experience in what you require.
4) M&E design.
I cannot express the importance of understanding the locations your mechanical and electrical services in your property. This will include the supplies of gas mains, electric mains, telephone and broadband, all of which may need to be moved at your cost. These can take a long time to arrange with suppliers so the earlier the better.
It is also important to know where the main electrical unit and water tanks will be located as they take up a substantial amount of space in any home.
If you have decided to have underfloor heating, you will need to establish what type you require before any works starts so the contractor can ensure it is viable and you have access to manifold locations.
You may have decided to have a whole house lighting/AV/ heating system such as Lutron or Crestron, if this has been determined then an AV specialist will be required to design the system for your needs.
It is essential to determine all of these factors before you start a project as the costs for equipment can be costly but even more so to add at the last minute or move if the location doesn't suit your needs!
5) Bathroom layouts.
Bathroom items can take up to 8 weeks to arrive on site so these need to be designed and ordered very early on. Tiles often have a lead time of 2-3 weeks as majority of tiles are imported from Europe, batch colours may vary so getting the correct quantity from the start is important.
First fix items will be required on site early on, these include concealed toilet cistern frames, baths, shower wastes and trays and concealed body kits for shower controls. Second fix items can be sent towards the end of the project when the bathrooms are tiled, these items include basins, vanities, shower screens and mirrors. All items can be purchased in one but delivered in two batches. A designer often arranges two deliveries.
6) Kitchen layout.
The kitchen is the new hub of the home and is an important place to design early. A kitchen becomes a complex place on site to coordinate as there is a mixture of different trades who all work in sequence to complete the job. Sequencing often goes, first fix M&E, plastering, tiling/ flooring, cabinetry, plumbing installation, worktops templating, appliances installation, worktop installation, decorator, lighting second fix.
Don’t underestimate how long a kitchen installation takes, often the builder is juggling multiple trades in a relatively small space, if one trade is delayed or is taking longer to complete his work the whole kitchen is likely to be delayed.
7) Time to dedicate to the project.
If you don’t have time to dedicate to the project you will never achieve the outcome you want. Your ideas and requirements need to be relayed to your designer so they can do all the hard work for you, allowing you more time to look at the aesthetic elements of your house. Giving up more time at the beginning will give the designer a better sense of who you are and how you live.
If you don’t want to use a designer then be prepared to make decisions on a lot of details, you will need to put more trust in your main contractor and may also be lead by their own experiences in design, unless you have a strong understanding of what you want you may find you are left with a generic or dated design.