It’s daunting knowing where to start with renovations, home improvements or necessary maintenance. 

If it’s a leaky tap or an electrical issue, we’re all confident contacting the plumber or the electrician. But when it is more complex renovation or maintenance related issues, there’s a whole host of various trades required, we really need to get it right.  

Large specialist companies generally have project management experts on their team.  You pay for the peace of mind that things will be organised and delivered on time and to specification, and that you will have a central point of contact to deal with any issues that might come up….and in renovations you must plan for this.  

From our experience, the planning phase of your renovation or home improvement is a key. It’s about having a roadmap to turn your dream into reality. 

With any of our projects, we start with ‘the end in mind’, which is knowing what we want the result to look like. 

We then go through our list of actions. 

  1. Draw the plans to make sure everything will fit into the space. Draw each of the ‘elevations’ – which is basically draw each of the walls and the position of things. 
  2. Work out locations of power outlets, and water too if it’s a wet area, then mark out where you want them to be in your vision.
  3. List the finishes and products you want to use, as you’ll need to ensure they’re available (think about lead times) and onsite for your building team when they need them. 
  4. Meet your builder to discuss the plan and your vision. Discuss with them the different trades needed, and the order of work that’s needed. 
  5. Discuss any issues your builder thinks might effect your project. Consider things like availability of materials, their availability (they often have multiple jobs going at once), the availability of their team of trades, and anything else in your home that might effect the work you’re planning to complete. 
  6. Then work out dates for each stage of the job to be started and completed. This will let you manage the process with your builder.

We always plan to have two key documents at the start of our projects. 

  1. ‘Scope of Works’ and 
  2.  ‘Schedule of Works’

The Scope of Works is a document that describes exactly what you and your builder agreed will be done. Ensure it clearly details all the work you’re expecting to have completed. Sometimes in renovations there will be ‘variations’ to work, and this document will help you know what a real variation is! 

Once you have agreed on the Scope of Works, you need a Schedule of Works. This is where you and your builder agree on the timelines for the project, and the order of the work being done. It’s your ‘roadmap’ for what trades will be onsite, when and for how long. 

Finding the right builder for the job and for you is super important, but equally having a clear ‘roadmap’ for your project is crucial. 

If you have seen us on The Block, you will understand what we are talking about here, having the right builder was the cornerstone to our successful build, however a detailed plan was essential.  Jason, our builder was amazing, but we made sure we understood each other, our plan, and our joint responsibilities. 

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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