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Things you need to know before taking on major home improvements

As the penchant for major home improvements and renovations grow, so too does the need for awareness of problems; do you know exactly what you’re getting into?
Renovating your home: potential struggles that you’ll encounter
Unlike smaller-scale home improvements, a major renovation has the potential to throw up a myriad of problems, including issues that you haven’t accounted for like unforeseen damage and delays to aspects of the project. There may also be areas of the renovation that cannot be completed without a specialist’s advice or attention, including plastering, refitting, plumbing, or electrical work. If these haven’t been taken into account, you could find yourself on the back foot for the duration of the project. Common struggles that people encounter during renovations include budget constraints, problems with the builders, electricians, plumbers, or decorators that have been hired, health and safety issues that could be encountered regarding the structural soundness of the renovation, or discovering that the project is more work than anticipated or doesn’t fit in with your home’s keeping as first thought. You may have heard the horror stories from other people, such as a renowned sports stadium running incredibly over budget, or a homeowner having to demolish a structurally unsound wall, or even run into minor issues of your own during a smaller renovation. However, nothing will prepare you for handling such a major operation.
Managing a successful renovation project
As you would imagine, the top tips for managing a successful renovation project include setting boundaries, agreeing a budget and timescale ahead of the work’s commencement, and ensuring to include topics such as health and safety in your plan. A successful renovation project is one that takes every eventuality into consideration, and endeavours to stick to each aspect; what use would a plan be otherwise? It is also important to spend your budget wisely, thinking through every design decision and purchase well ahead of time. That said, though, never compromise on the basics. Whether you’re having an extension built, completely gutting a property, or building a house from scratch, some things should never be scrimped on, such as the plumbing, electrics, and fixtures. Finally, always set a little money aside, normally 5% of your budget, to deal with any complications or unforeseen circumstance post-build. Even if everything appears to be on track, you can never know what the future holds and it always pays, quite literally, to be prepared.
Of course, one of the very best ways to ensure that your renovation project gets off the ground successfully, runs to time, and is completed with the maximum precision, is to hire a contractor who will manage the project’s day-to-day running and direct all other site personnel. Choosing a well-regarded and efficient contractor, such as one you have found via a reputable company or trader site, can instantly get a stale or starter project off the ground, and you’ll have access to years worth of experience and insight, somebody on site who is responsible for health, safety, and insurance, a ready cash flow and resources, and an expert upon whom you can call with any questions, ideas, or concerns. Additionally, contractor pay, particularly when made under a fixed term contract, can often be far less complicated than hiring your own building team and managing the project completely on your own. While there are some disadvantages to hiring a contractor, such as increased costs, a certain loss of control over the renovation, and having to rely on somebody else for the duration of the project, the benefits often outweigh these – especially if you work fulltime or cannot commit to being on site every day.


Deciding to take on a major home improvement or renovation project can be incredibly exhilarating, opening up a whole new world of possibilities within your home or the potential for expanding your property portfolio. Having an extensive plan in place, as well as the assistance of a contractor, is one of the very best ways to ensure the success of your project, although you will soon learn to face each eventuality with wisdom and good humour!