Organising your renovation is a giant task even before your Builder and trades pick up the tools, so here's how you should plan your timeline.
Where on earth do you start when planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation? When do you book your trades, order your tiles, call in the painters? Here's how to make sure your project comes together in the right order, with no double handling.
12 months before: compile a moodboard
Include absolutely everything you can think of as inspiration – your favourite colours, flowers, landscapes, the Balinese sunset from your last holiday, food – you name it. It will create an idea of the ambience you're after. You will very quickly find there is a theme of likes and don’t likes.
6-12 months before: visit showrooms and price up ideas
Nail down what you love and take note of the prices and lead times attached. It's better to go with the worst-case-scenario price, rather than trying to be conservative – it'll save any nasty financial surprises later.
6 months before: set your budget, call the bank about loans (if required)
Work out what amount of money is feasible, and where you'll be able to trim back if necessary. Work out how much cash you have access to, and whether you'll need to apply for a loan.
Set aside a contingency sum, because the unforeseen can be just under the surface. Like the old bathroom we demolished and found the floor tiles laid on compacted soil instead of a floor slab and all the old plumbing was leaking underground.
5 months before: make appointments with kitchen and/or bathroom specialists for concepts and guideline costings
It's better to have any designers come to your home for your first meeting, to give them an accurate idea of the space you're working with. Now is the time to ask for their ideas, suggestions, material recommendations and quotes.
Are you starting to feel overwhelmed with all the knowledge you have to gain and the pitfalls to pour/lose money into? You will have to coordinate trades from work or give up your holidays. Now is a good time start having second thoughts about managing the reno yourself and start thinking about engaging a renovation Builder to manage the whole process.
4-5 months before: decide whether to use separate contractors or a bathroom/kitchen specialist
If you're still thinking of managing the reno yourself, before you start anything, book in a marriage counsellor, because you will need one before you’re finished. If you ever finish. :/
Using separate contractors will enable you to be a lot more hands on. Many clients have advised me that “hands on” is very overrated and was not a cost saving as thought.
So by choosing to go with a kitchen or bathroom building specialist, you can pass on the worry, dealing with trades, sorting out building issues and the physical hard work to them, as they'll essentially project manage the entire reno from start to finish.
Now that you have decided to get a Builder to carry out your renovation, which one do I choose?
Firstly, your builder must be:
1. Licenced to carry out all the work i.e. Fully Licenced
2. HBCF insurance accredited. Without this, your renovation won’t have” Home Owner’s Warranty”. All building work valued over $20,000 must be insured. So, don’t be talked into supplying the materials to keep the contract under $20,000
3. Willing to enter into a building contract for work over $5,000.
4.Experienced in renovations. Renovations are much trickier than building new homes, so experience is required.
You have read this far and are probably groaning under the weight of information, so I will give you a big tip to save you a headache. Call Craig Martin at Kareela Constructions. We are fully licenced, HBCF insured, have 30 years building experience and use HIA or MBA contracts for all our work. We will design and get approval your renovation or extension to suite your lifestyle, your land and budget. I have the experience to note most building issues and have planned how to overcome them before we even start.
We will introduce you to our preferred suppliers to help you choose your finishes and stay with the contract budget. They will prevent you chasing after “shinies” that will not coordinate with everything else and probably blow your budget.
3 months before: finalise start/finish date
Now that you've contracted your renovation specialist builder, we will make a commitment to start and finish dates. Bear in mind that completion dates can be blown out due to unforeseen delays such as the bank is slow in approving your loan, material shortages, illness among the tradies, unexpected discovery of dampness, structural issues or termites, the list goes on.
2-3 months before: choose your finishes, such as your splashback and tiles
They may seem like small details, but a statement splashback can change the entire look of your kitchen, and a feature tile in the bathroom can take your reno to a whole new level. Sometimes your tiles need to be ordered from abroad, that can take time, so plan with your builder accordingly. Our preferred suppliers work with us to take delivery of materials on time, if they have been decided on, in time.
2 months before: finalise fittings, fixtures and appliances
After confirming with your builder that the appliances are appropriate and will fit, go and get 'em! This goes for any new fridges, dishwashers, bathroom towels and those vintage nick knacks you've had your eye on. Make sure your appliances are available and held in the store.
Not a good conversation when you find your fridge was discontinued and you need a larger opening after the kitchen has been installed.
1 month before: organise painters
If you’re still managing the reno yourself, give the painter a month's notice to ensure their availability – that way, you won't be waiting for that finishing paint touch long after the other tradies have packed up and left.
Oh yes, we have contracted Kareela Constructions for our renovation, so we don’t have to worry about booking and checking on Waterproofing, Tilers or Painters. You beauty! We get to keep our sanity.
1-2 weeks before hand over: book carpet and house cleaners
You can never underestimate the amount of dust even the smallest bathroom reno can make and all the crevices that dust will find its way into. Do yourself – and your sanity – a favour and call in the experts for a proper deep clean. A few hours of their hard work will feel like walking into a new home.
2 weeks after completion: complete your snag list
Under a standard building contract, you have a 13 week defects liability period window to highlight any problems to your builder. So, if you've discovered that the cutlery drawer jams shut, or that the bathroom mixer has a bit of a wobble, let us know right away. We will send out one of our tradies out to fix problems quickly. For the minor items, send a list towards the end of the defect period and the tradies will only have to drop in once.
The ball is in your court. Do you contract Kareela Constructions to design, manage and build your renovation, or do you go out and manage the process yourself?
Ask yourself do you have:
⦁ An experienced design team?
⦁ 30 years building experience in planning and solving building problems?
⦁ A team of qualified and experienced trades that will look after your home?
⦁ A list of experienced and friendly suppliers?
⦁ Knowledge of a Building Consultant?
⦁ HIA or MBA building contracts
If you can’t say yes to these points, contact Craig Martin at Kareela Constructions and let’s get started on your renovation.