Good management can help keep your renovations on track, on time and on budget. We explain what's involved.
Proper planning is at the heart of every successful home renovation, and project management hinges on laying some basic foundations across all areas of your renovation. Without renovation project management, you risk a poor quality - or worse, incomplete renovation, that could end up taking more time, and cash, than you anticipated.
Your project budget – a great tool
As cost plays a key role in home improvements, your project management blueprint should include a detailed renovation budget that includes accurate costings for everything - materials, labour and council fees.
Importantly, stress-test your finances to be sure your budget can cope with unforeseen problems. A key aspect of renovation project management is considering the possibility of anything from weather related hold-ups right through to your builder discovering hidden nasties like dodgy wiring that needs to be replaced. Seasoned renovators know that major projects can end up costing much more than anticipated, and as long as you make allowances for possible additional costs you won't be forced to put the project on hold midway through completion.
Develop clear plans and stick with them
Tradies often find that home owners can be their own worst enemy when it comes to poor project management, with unexpected changes to the plans often occurring at various stages of the renovation. Changing your mind about any aspect of a renovation, from your choice of materials right through to a rethink of the design or layout, is likely to drag out the completion date and add to the finished cost.
Unless there is an extremely good reason to change your plans, you're likely to be better off investing upfront time making sure you are happy with the proposed renovation than muddying the waters with a change of heart once building work gets underway.
Remain on schedule
A critical aspect of renovation project management is making sure the work is done on schedule. There are several ways you and your builder can ensure this happens.
First, contact your local council to check what sort of red tape applies to your project. Failing to have all the paperwork lodged on time can be a real chain dragger. If you are unsure who to approach for information, your builder or architect should be able to point you in the right direction.
Next, check the availability of materials at an early stage and develop a timeframe based on quoted delivery dates. Develop a contingency plan with your builder for work that can be completed in other areas if you are left waiting for key materials.
Finally, have an open and frank discussion with your builder about who will be on site – and when. It's not uncommon for the builder to only appear on-site once or twice a week while his team of tradies carry out the bulk of the work in between. Form an agreement on how the builder can be contacted if issues arise so that things can sorted easily and promptly.
Let the experts do their job
A good builder will keep you up to date at all times, and on major projects you may want to stipulate that you and the builder get together at the end of each week for a run-down on where the project is at. Unless it's absolutely necessary try not to intervene in the building work too much. Good project management will streamline your renovation but bogging down the building team with questions, queries and even home handyman suggestions will distract your construction team and ultimately slow down the project.