With the shortlist for the 2020 Don’t Move, Improve! Awards to be announced this month, and the winner announced on 11 February, is it time to consider creating your own grand design? While the 37 shortlisted owners can now sit back and enjoy the fruits of their hard work, it’s worth bearing in mind that potentially award winning properties entail much planning and pain. Industry experts and house builders in Hull have tips to help create a strategy for your dream home.
Never rush your project. The time taken to plan out the build can sometimes take longer than the actual build itself, and it’s worth taking your time over to make sure that every little detail is right. Designing on the fly as you go along can only end badly, and small changes can have a serious knock on effect in the long run.
The key to realising your dream project on budget yet beautifully is to ensure you plan the entire process effectively, carefully, making sure you don’t miss out any detail. You should always employ the services of a chartered building surveyor to get a building report before any building commences.
Whatever the scale of your project, it would be unwise to expect miracles. It’s unlikely that any major refurbishment or extension that requires structural work and drainage alterations would take less than five or months.
It may seem that initial construction happens fast, but schedules slow down towards the end, as painters will want to avoid the dust from the carpenters, and the electricians and plumbers will want to get in to do their jobs too. Rushed jobs will always come back to haunt the client, with even the slightest imperfections sticking out like a sore thumb.
Always seek out the best contractors you can for the work needed. Ask friends for recommendations, and always view previous work and check references before signing a contract. Take time to visit previous projects, and make sure you would be getting the finish and standard that you want.
Everyone will have a budget to work to, but remember that buying cheap often means buying twice. Projects will often have problems if the client is opting for the cheapest tenders. Often small business builders will not use quantity surveyors, or get pricing wrong, or maybe underestimate the level of detail required in the job.
Get multiple quotes from contractors, and bear in mind that the much cheaper quotes should possibly be treated with caution. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Always conduct thorough research, not only on getting the right contractors, but the materials and fittings, furnishings, and decor.
It will benefit you greatly to have all materials, such as tiling, flooring, and colour schemes all picked out and agreed on before building work starts. The more decisions made earlier on, the fewer that will need to be made mid-construction.
With builders, architects, party wall surveyors, and building control costs, the fees for the professionals will account for a large chunk of your budget. But unless you have professional expertise in the industry, you will need the experts, so be prepared to pay the right money to get the right work.
If your grand project is something that’s running in to six-figures, then it might be advisable to hire a quantity surveyor, who will be able to keep track and keep on top of all the details and figures that perhaps a builder will not be able, or not have time to. Getting all the costs low and the budgeting right will be worth the investment.
Once you have decided on the right contractors for the job, ensure you have a proper contract between all parties, detailing exactly what work will be done, and schedules and timeframes for the work to be completed. Include a payment plan of when the contractors should be invoicing you, and for how much.
Of course even on dream builds, not everything goes exactly to plan. Things will, and can change, no matter how carefully planned. Inclement weather can hold up jobs, materials may become difficult to attain, and many other unexpected surprises. But with a contract and timetable, yourself and the contractors will always be on the page.
It’s very important to remember the smaller things when planing and budgeting. Suddenly having to find extra funding for such things as door handles, light switches and fittings, shelving, etc, can be a pain, and create unnecessary delays to the project. Check on all quotes and prices to see if they include VAT also, as that can add on 20 per cent to your project costs.
While budgeting, make sure you shop around for the best prices for materials. It’s not a case of buying cheap, but finding exactly what you need might be cheaper elsewhere. Taking time to check availability and quality can potentially save a lot of money. Always prepare for emergencies too, it is essential to have 5 to 10 per cent of the total build cost put away for if and when things go wrong.
Depending on the extent of the build, it’s very much advised to not be living in the property while the work is being conducted. The contractors will be able to get the work done faster in an empty property, and with the noise and dust it would end up causing more stress than it’s worth living amid a major build.
The emotional impact of staging your own build should not be neglected either. Having building work in progress in your home for such a long period of time can be hard on yourself and the family. Delays and extra unexpected costs can cause a lot of distress, so it’s vital that you try to make the project as exciting and as fun as possible.
Keep positive, and remember that often delays are inevitable, and they are not the end of the world. When problems arise, it’s much better to think, “how can we fix this?”, rather than “who’s fault is this?” Focus on the end product, and the value it will add to your home and your life.
Professional house builders in Hull will always be able to give sound advice for anyone considering such a grand project, as well as any domestic or commercial building and civil engineering projects. Get in touch today, and let our experts assist you.