Having any kind of renovation work done in your home can be very stressful. No matter how big or small the project it is going to have an impact on you and your family. Dust, chaos and invasion of tradesmen from very early every morning can take its toll on even the most patient amongst us. But with a little forward planning and good communication with your contractor the process can become a lot more bearable.
If your renovation is quite extensive the ideal solution is to move out if you can. Renting can be costly and it’s almost impossible to find short term lets at the moment but even if you can schedule to take holidays over the worst part of the works this will make yours and the contractor’s life a lot easier. Speak to your contractor before the job starts and work out a programme so you can schedule to be out of the house for the most disruptive part of the works.
Plan the works to suit your family. For example it might make more sense to schedule works over the summer when you might have planned to be away, consider things like exams or children who might need to study or other events where the disruption of builders might not be ideal.
Do some research before selecting your contractor. Ask for recommendations from neighbours or friends who have had work done. Ask for references form the contractors and if possible try to visit the homes of previous clients. You want to be very confident your chosen contractor will be able to deliver the job to the standard you expect on time and within budget. Building work is stressful enough without worrying if the team you’ve hired is not up to the job.
Before the builders start ask them to provide a programme of works so you know what to expect. For example when you are likely to be without power or water and for how long. Establish which areas of the house are off limits and discuss issues such as bathroom facilities, parking, hours of work and impact on neighbours.
Before the contractor starts you will need to ensure the areas that they will be working in are completely clear – this means clearing out cupboards and moving out all furniture, pictures form walls curtains and blinds to storage or a room in the house that is not being worked on. Cover everything else with plastic sheeting and shut then seal any rooms not in use with tape.
Most contractors will be happy to help you move large items of furniture but be realistic about what the contractor will move for you. Whilst they will be happy to work around certain things if they have to, it will slow them down. We had contractors arrive to start the job where the clients had walked away without moving anything – even the breakfast dishes were left on table, not a great start to the project.
If you do have to stay in the house make sure your chosen contractor is happy with this. Contractors will prefer a vacant house. While the works are going on make a plan with your contractor to section off an area where you can retreat from the chaos. Most contractors will be able to set you up with some sort of sink and cooking area and you may have to move around.
However careful and considerate your builders are, there will be dust and disruption. Try to keep on top of dust in the areas where you sleep and cook by keeping doors closed and wiping down each day.