19/04/2016 | 4 mins read


I met someone who has just recently moved back into their house after a sizable renovation and extension project. They remarked that from the time they decided to update their home it had taken two years for the job to be complete.

This seems like a very long time but a home renovation project can be a lengthy process. Even the time to get to the point where the builder starts work can take a while.

The first stage is the initial design process where all options for achieving your brief are explored. How quickly this process moves along depends how decisive you are and how well your design professional interprets your brief.

To ensure the process moves along quickly It’s important to be realistic about your budget. All of the items on your wish list may not be achievable within your budget so compromises might need to be made. These kinds of changes will prolong the design process.

If the proposed work to your home needs planning you will need to make an application to the county council. This process takes three months in total. After two months you will receive your decision from the planners followed by the final grant one month later. The planners can extend this time scale by looking for additional information.

The process can be further extended If there is an appeal by someone who has made an objection during the planning process.  When this happens the application will go to Bord Pleanala which will prolong the process even further. It’s advisable to keep your neighbours informed of any works that you are planning to avoid this kind of delay.


Once you have your planning permission you should start the tendering process. This is where a set of drawings and documents are prepared listing out everything that you want to be included in your project and sent out to a number of contractors to price. It’s important that you get a price from more than one builder to make sure that you are receiving a fair quote for the work.

Once you have identified your preferred contractor you should meet with them to go through the price that they have submitted before you start on site. This way you can make sure that you are absolutely clear what is included and what if anything has not been priced. Should you embark on the job only to find that something you assumed was part of the price had not been included, that will be an additional cost and possible time delay while you try to resolve the issue.

Ask your contractor for a programme of works and suggest that they identify critical dates for any decisions that you will need to make. Things like kitchens, bathroom fittings, tiling and flooring do not typically form part of the builders work so will need to be chosen by you and ready for the builder to fit when he needs them. The earlier in the process all of these decisions are made, the better to ensure that the job runs without delays.

As a rule of thumb, typical timescales for a small project such as a bathroom refurbishment renovation is approximately 4-8 weeks. For a mid-sized project such as a kitchen renovation, plan for 8-12 weeks. And a larger project, such as a house refurbishment and extension, can be from 8-18 months.

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