We all know that a renovation well done is one of the most rewarding projects you can pull off, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. That’s why many people choose to leave it in the hands of experienced project managers, be it a licensed builder or a specialist kitchen or bathroom renovation company – if you’re doing those two important rooms.
These pros will manage and coordinate everything for you, so you can sit back and relax while they take charge of ordering in materials, organising trades, managing timelines, overseeing every stage of the renovation and ensuring all the boxes are ticked in terms of regulations and sign-off. And you’ll pay them a hefty premium for their troubles.
So if you want save serious money – and feel your have the skills and know-how to carry it off – then project managing your renovation effectively cuts out the middle man (or woman). But there are some key things to keep top of mind.
The first step is nailing your budget, followed by a detailed list of all the works you’re doing, and the precise sequence in which they need to be done. This avoids getting expensive tradies back every five minutes for unnecessary tasks they could have been done in one hit. That’s the quickest way to swallow up a budget and blow out your timelines. It also means you’ll have the right materials ordered in for your tradies – when they need them.
And, of course, you want to get at least three quotes for any major works.
Mapping out the tasks in the right order will highlight which trades you need when. For example, let’s look at the sequence of tasks that are typical for a kitchen renovation.
- Strip out the kitchen so you’re back to a bare shell. You’ll need electrician and plumber to disconnect power points and water supply. And possibly a handyman for the demolition.
- Wall and floor set-out (if you want to change or correct these in any way). This may require a carpenter or builder and perhaps even a structural engineer, if you’re taking out a supporting wall.
- Plumbing and electrical rough-in. You’ll need this if you’re moving power points or changing around the plumbing. So back comes the sparkie and plumber.
- Install the new kitchen cabinets (cabinetmarker or carpenter).
- Install the benchtop (cabinetmaker or carpenter)
- Install the splashback (generally glass or tiles, so you’ll need either the glass installer or tiler for this).
- Install sink & appliances (you’ll need the plumber and sparkie back again).
As you can see, there’s a lot more to project managing a kitchen renovation than first meets the eye. If you’re not extremely organised and knowledgeable about what needs to be done when, you’ll have tradies waiting on work that hasn’t have been done and materials that haven’t arrived.
That’s why it’s so important that renovators invest time, and money if necessary, properly educating themselves about what is required. “Winging it” is the surest path to disaster.
–Cherie Barber is the director of Renovating for Profit, a company that teaches everyday people how to buy and renovate properties for a profit.