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Renovating? The Truth about Timelines

When we talk about timelines, most people just think about the actual build / works process, but there's a whole lot that comes first - and to get it right, that takes time!

Timelines - Part 1 : What happens before we start to build?

I have watched my fair share of design shows over the years. Ones from the UK, from USA, from Canada... Everything from Love it or List It, Selling Homes, The Property Brothers and countless others. Like many people, I was hooked on The Block when it first hit the screens although a few seasons in, when it became more about the drama and marketing campaigns for big brands and less about the design process itself - I started to give it a miss.

If you're a fan of design shows, consider the difference between what you see on a show like The Block to what happens on one like Grand Designs. The truth of renovating is that it takes time to get it right and there can be so many trials and tribulations along the way. What I love about a show like Grand Designs is that you get an insight into what comes before you even start a build/renovation.

Firstly - lets talk about the design. Whether you are going solo or working with a designer, the concept and planning stage is critical and sometimes takes the longest part of the process. Perhaps you've been scrolling through Pinterest and flicking through home magazines to get your inspiration - sometimes the more you look, the more confused you get. Othertimes, you stumble across the perfect look/layout/style but can't work out how to relate that to your actual space.

This is where a good designer is worth every cent. They are trained to take your inspiration or brief and create a design that brings your space/s to fruitian in a way that is truly yours and fits both the size & style of your space/s as well as your budget. A good designer can bring additional elements to the design that you may not have considered.

When I sign a client up to a design package, the first stage is Concept Development. It is the most labour intensive (for me) stage of the renovation. We start with any inspiration images my client has gathered and the space/s is measured up and drawn to scale. Having the right dimensions means that I can play with the layout of your space/s to get the most functionality and best flow within the parameters of the brief. Sometimes, it is my job to explain to a client why we can't fit both a bath and a walk in shower into a space for example, but in the same breath, I can offer alternatives or other solutions.

As we work on the space layout, we also start looking at the selections - so paint colours, tiles, flooring finishes, window treatments, lighting.... the list goes on. I also start ordering in samples so that by the end of this stage, we have floor plan options and our mood boards and samples at the ready. This is not an overnight process and it's better to take the time to get it right now - rather than when we are in-build. Stay tuned for our next blog piece on Space Design & Function.

Once the concepts have been signed off, we move to the next stage - Specifying & Quoting. It's time to get the trades in to quote the execution of the work and to calculate and quote things such as tile quantites etc. Again, this is a process that is worth taking the time to get right. There are appointments to be made for builders and/or other trades to visit the site and then time for them to work out their pricing and to collate everything into the overall cost of the work. Whilst we always work with a budget in mind, sometimes the design has to be amended to bring down costs or simplify the work to fit that budget. With covid in the rear view mirror, we are still experiencing so many upheavals in terms of rising material costs and the availablity of selections chosen. Sometimes, we have to go back to the drawing board.

So now we have our design, our selections and our pricing.... what next?

Well, next we have to look at the builders' calendar - he/she might have 'held space' for your build in his diary but chances are that work is not going to start the day after acceptance of quotation. There may also be another deciding factor in planning the start date - if we are renovating a family bathroom, what is the best time to do this? Perhaps school holidays are coming up and you might go away meaning that the builder has full access to your property without needing to turn water/power on/off to accommodate your family. It's worth noting that when your builder has full unfetted access to the property during execution, the project is likely to happen quicker and possibly even cheaper - when there is only one call out for a plumber or sparky each time to disconnect, to rough in and then to fit off...

A project might not only be limited by a builders availability, but also by a selection. You may have chosen a chandelier that takes 8-12 weeks to be made or tiles that are still in transit from overseas. These timelines all need to be taken into consideration and your designer is (or should be) skilled in how to put this all together. Choosing a designer that has solid relationships with trades / suppliers and is experienced in the execution of a build/renovation is critical. She/he is the one that navigates the journey with you and is vested in the ultimate delivery of your new space/s.

The 5 P's....

Prior Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance..

Take the time to prepare properly

  • get the design right

  • get the measurements right

  • get the builder right

  • get the pricing right

  • get the start date right

  • create fabulous!


If you haven't already, read our first Renovating 101 piece on "Budgets"


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