What could be more exciting than home improvements? Ok maybe a two-week holiday.
But even then, holidays are over in the blink of an eye, while a new kitchen, or extension, or garden bar can potentially last a lifetime.
While thinking up grand designs can undoubtedly be fun and invigorating, it’s always worth remembering there are a large number of legal and building requirements to consider.
Fail to navigate all of these, and your brand new extension may never get off the ground.
Home Improvements – 10 crucial points to consider
- Cost. Probably the most important aspect to consider ahead of any potential home renovations. Drawing up a budget, even an outline one, will give you an idea of just how far you can go when undertaking a refurb. If you’re not sure how much the work will cost, free calculation tools can be found online, before getting an estimate from a contractor. The right type of improvements, carried out by the right trades people, should be seen as an investment, potentially adding thousands to the value of your property.
- Are there any legal or building regulations to consider? Any work carried out on your home that will require structural alterations, will most likely need building regulations approval before you push ahead. Work that will need to be checked by building control includes extensions, loft/garage conversions, and internal alterations. You will also need to check with your local council to make sure changes meet their regulations. There’s a good chance planning permission will need to be sought; incurring further costs and eating up further time.
- Are you able to DIY any parts? Depending on the size of your project, there may be certain bits you can do yourself. Not only does this provide a real sense of satisfaction, you’ll probably shave quite a bit of money off the overall cost. Save the big jobs – like extensions, window fitting, plumbing, electrics, fixing the roof – to the professionals though.
- Think green. We should all be doing our bit to help save the planet, and creating an eco-friendly home is a fantastic way of cutting our carbon footprint down. Whether it’s upgrading your insulation, using material from sustainable sources for window frames or installing solar panels, there’s an ever increasing number of ways to turn your home green. As an added bonus, choosing more energy-efficient features should also help dramatically reduce the cost of those rising household bills, too.
- Material shortage. Getting hold of certain materials – cement, bricks and timber for instance – has been proving difficult for a couple of years. While the supply chain issue has led to skyrocketing prices, it has also wreaked havoc with timeframes. It’s certainly worth spending a bit of time looking into whether any of the core materials for your project are in short supply, as the knock on effect could be infuriating to say the least.
- Pick the best contractor for your job. This almost goes without saying, but you, of course, want the best contractor to work on bringing your vision to life. How do you find the best though? Always speak to at least three different contractors, and if possible, consult previous clients, asking if you can go and see their past work for yourself. Ask the contractors to send you photos/videos from their previous jobs as well. Also, make sure everything is covered in their quote, and get this in writing.
- Insurance. Have your contractor send you proof they are insured. That way if anything does happen to them while they are working on your property, you will not be liable. In terms of damage to the building, a reputable contractor will either cover the issue or file a claim with their insurance company. It is still worth looking at beefing up your standard home insurance policy as this, in all likelihood, will not cover any renovation work being carried out.
- Speak with your neighbours. Everybody loves good neighbours, right? Well, they may not be liking you too much if work on a great, big extension suddenly starts and they’ve not been informed. You are legally obliged to notify neighbours of your extension, so it’s actually in your best interest if you’re wanting to obtain planning permission. Minor works, and in some cases, garden rooms, don’t actually require planning permission, but we still believe the polite thing to do is keep your neighbours up to date. You’d know doubt expect the same.
- Speak to experts. Home improvements are, more often than not, huge jobs. And if you don’t get them right then the consequences can be, to put it mildly, disastrous. Top tips and advice can be found online, but nothing comes close to expert advice in person. Talk to estate agents about valuations, builders about the materials, architects about the design; the more questions you ask, the more knowledge you’ll have; greatly improving the chances of a gratifying outcome.
- Plan, plan, plan! We’ll delve a little further into this in the next section, but the role planning has in home renovations cannot be overstated. Projects like this rarely go exactly as expected, but having a plan of action in place from the outset can mitigate a lot of the potential issues. Do not try and ‘wing it’ under any circumstances.
Why having a detailed plan is important
Drawing up a detailed plan before starting any home improvement project is vital for so many reasons.
It will help ensure you get the right materials, the best contractor, and meet any legal or building requirements. It enables you to reduce costs, and, hopefully, lower stress levels.
A strategic plan takes you on a journey from the starting point to completion, allowing you to, not just visualise the desired outcome, but identify any potential issues that may crop up along the way.
Now, even the best-laid plans can sometimes go astray, but having a comprehensive guide in your back pocket puts you in a far better position to get things back on track, than if you had no blueprint at all to follow.
Take your time. Researching, compiling ideas, discussing your options; this is the fun part, before all the work starts. Only move on to the next phase when you have a clear understanding of your goal.
Don’t let home renovations overwhelm you
We said at the beginning of this article that few things were as exciting as a home improvement project. Few things are, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy.
The trick is to try and not let things overwhelm you. Easier said than done, but with a detailed strategic plan, and the right support, the finished article will almost always be worth it.
Add to the fact VEKA offers windows of uncompromising quality, tremendous versatility and unparalleled functionality, and that’s one area of home improvements you never need to worry about.