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85 Top Tips To Save Your Time Money and Sanity

On Refurbishment Projects

1. Working with builders is more about rapport than price.

Price is important but if you don’t get on with your builder it doesn’t matter how cheap they are. Ask yourself – would you take on an employee you didn’t like even if it sounded like they could do the job well? Consider the last time you bought the cheapest of the products that were available, you already know it’s more about value than cost and we recommend you apply the same principle when employing a builder.

2. REMEMBER THAT MOST BUILDERS ARE NOT PROPERTY INVESTORS.

If you meet a builder at a property networking event they are more likely there to find business than as investors. That means they won’t know things like HMO regulations, so if it’s important to you then find the regulations and specify what you need.

3. TELL YOUR BUILDER EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PROJECT.

Remember that you may well have known about the project for a number of months before appointing the builder. You might have owned the property for a number of years and planned the works in a lot of detail. You need to get your builder up to speed as quickly as you can so make sure that you tell him as much as possible so that he understands your ideas.

If you’ve been following our Facebook page, you’ll know that over the past 2 years we’ve been giving out daily tips to help property investors like you save time and money and reduce stress on their refurbishment projects.

We’ve seen first-hand how scary it can be when it comes to refurbishing a property, and there’s always more to learn, so we’ve compiled our very best tips into this fantastic resource to help you better understand the refurbishment process and get more enjoyment from your future projects.

If you’d like to gain more confidence on your next refurbishment and benefit from my 30 years of experience in the property and construction industry, why not have a look at one of our training events that we run throughout the year to help your refurbishment projects run more smoothly and save your time and money.

I really hope you find this document useful, and if you’ve got a great tip you’d like to share, please do send me an email at martin@refurbishmentmasterclass.co.uk

To your refurbishment success.
– Martin Rapley

4. PAY WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO PAY.

Whatever you agree with your builder, stick to it or tell them if there’s a problem. Remember your builder is a small business and generally is better at building than managing cashflow. Most builders have limited accounts facilities and manage their accounts on a week by week basis.

5. Pay for everything you are happy with.

If there is something in your builder’s invoice that you aren’t happy with then by all means don’t pay BUT pay for everything else that you do agree with, it will make it much easier to sort out the discrepancy.

6. Only employ a specialist to do the specialist bit and employ
your builder to do the rest.

If you receive a quote for carrying out specialist works, always ask what the specialist bit is and if your builder can do the rest. You’ll be surprised by how much cheaper your builder is.

7. Put together a budget BEFORE you start the works.

If you don’t have a budget then how can you ensure that you won’t spend too much? We can help you with your budgets and teach you how to do them for yourself.

8. Make sure that you write a specification of works.

If you delay the start of any work whilst you write a specification for your builder you will probably finish quicker and almost certainly have better control of cost.

9. If you are refurbishing a property to hold and rent out you need
a different specification than if you are refurbishing to sell.

A property that you are going to be holding and renting out needs to be easy to maintain, robust and economic to manage therefore it’s worth spending money during the refurbishment stage on better quality products. Better quality door handles that bolt through the door are more tenant proof, shower boards instead of wall tiles are easier to clean and maintain, standard and easy to match products can be replaced if broken.

A property being refurbished to flip really just needs to look more expensive than it is so that you can attract a premium price. Don’t skimp on things that prospective purchasers touch though. Chunky door handles, quality feeling kitchens and bathrooms and nice carpet will disguise costs saved elsewhere.

10. Which properties could be cheaper for you to refurbish?

The renovation of a property that has been empty for two years or more is subject to VAT at the reduced rate, currently of 5%. This applies to repairs and alterations.

The VAT registered builder will require proof that the property has been empty for at least two years. This could include Local Authority Council Tax records, Electoral Roll records, or possibly a sworn affidavit from the former owners.

11. You don’t always need to call a tradesman out to obtain a
quote.

If for example you need a price to replace some windows then draw what you need and measure the openings as best as you can. Send these details by email to some local companies and you will have quotes within a few days. Invite the cheapest to the property to get accurate measurements and also check that you are getting what you wanted.

Adopting this strategy will immediately demonstrate that you are respecting their time and therefore should lead to a better relationship.

12. Cracking – sometimes you have to get the professionals in.

Diagnosing the cause of cracking is a very specialist area and a structural engineer’s advice should be sought. Crack damage will sometimes need to be monitored for six months or more and they will be looking at if the movement is seasonal (not usually serious) or progressive (serious).

13. Check that your builder has insurance.

Then make sure that anyone else working on the project is insured as well, it’s not uncommon for a builder to only insure himself and his works rather than other members of the team.

14. Always obtain insurance backed guarantees for the specialist
work.

Company guarantees only last as long as the company so if you want a guarantee that is recognised by mortgage lenders and you can pass on when you sell the property then make sure it insurance backed.

15. Help your builder manage his accounts.

Good builders will have accounts with a number of merchants but they may not have high credit terms. The reason he could be asking for a quick payment is because you have asked him to purchase something that has taken him up to his credit limit. If you don’t pay, he can’t buy any more materials.

16. Proper preparation saves TIME and MONEY.

It’s really tempting to start work on a property as quickly as you can but I guarantee you will save time and money if you spend an extra week planning everything.

17. What flooring should I choose in my rental property?

Carpets can wear and get dirty quickly. They are also costly to clean so use carpets in low traffic areas like bedrooms to give that cosy feel.

Lino is warm and cost effective, tiles are cold and more expensive, however may give you the look you are after. You can get great quality lino flooring which looks just like laminate flooring. These can be used in bathrooms, hallways, kitchens and utilities.

18. Is your Buy to Sell in proportion?

More bedrooms do not necessarily add value. Would you rather have a three bedroom house with a bathroom and en-suite or a five bedroom house with only one bathroom and no possibility of adding an en-suite.

If extending a three bedroom house to a five bedroom house, can you also add the additional bathrooms/en-suite required? Would a five bedroom house also expect a downstairs toilet? Are you extending the lounge, or is it still the same proportion as when it was a three bedroom property? Is the lounge big enough to accommodate the number of family members who would live in a five bedroom property?

19. What Add Value does a buyer see?

When designing your Buy to Sell property, the aim is to make the buyer feel they can move straight into the home and live their life. They will at some time decorate the living room, bedrooms, hallway, in their own style. However expensive items like kitchens and bathrooms, they will want to be finished and completed only adding their own touches through accessories.

It’s the kitchens and bathrooms that will sell a home.

20. Is the garden an afterthought?

Often when refurbishing a property, the garden is left to last. However, the front garden will be the first thing the buyer sees.

You need to consider where the exits for the garden are. If the property is an end of terrace or semi-detached there will be a side access. If it’s a mid-terrace, is there access from the rear of the property or will everything you remove be required to go through the property to be taken away, and new turf, fences etc. be required to go through the
house to the garden. This will need to be carried out before the internal decorating stage or you will end up spending more money and time rectifying damage.

Gardens can often need time to settle. If you have a three-month refurbishment timeline don’t wait until week twelve to lay the lawn.

21. Opening up an old fireplace? Discuss with the neighbour first!

Reinstating old fireplaces can be an easy way to add value.

Opening up an old redundant fireplace might involve prising off a sheet of hardboard or removing a few blocks/bricks. Remember to go easy and use a bolster and club hammer. On the other side of the chimney your neighbour may have ornaments displayed, possible even an heirloom or two. Inform your neighbours first – it could save a relationship you need.

22. Positioning your radiators.

If replacing old radiators, you will find most new radiators will take up less space. In the past radiators were often found under the window to balance out the cold air entering the room. With modern double glazing this is not as necessary. However, placing them under windows still allows the freedom for placing items against other walls.

These are several points to consider:

  • Underutilised walls are ideal
  • Avoid behind sofas
  • Larger rooms require more than one to evenly distribute heat
  • Radiators under windows should be of similar width for visual appearance

23. Roofs don’t always need under felt.

Since the 1950s roofs were normally built with a layer of under-felt beneath the tiles. This provides an additional defence against rain and wind. If you can see the underside of the roof tiles when in the loft the roof is likely to be pre-1950s. Do not panic! The draughtiness of these lofts allows damp to evaporate, and unless re-cladding is required the cost of stripping the roof to lay a breathable membrane is not warranted.

24. Flat roofs have a much shorter life than pitched roofs.

Older flat roof extensions were generally covered in felt and chippings; more modern roofs tend to have a high performance covering that will include an insurance backed guarantee. The life of the older coverings is 10 to 15 years with some insurers not covering a related claim if the roof is over 10 years old. Don’t forget to budget for a replacement either as part of your refurbishment or later whilst you own the property.

25. Why is the roof sagging in the middle?

The roof might seem bowed under the weight of the tiles and the party wall areas stand proud. One of the causes of this to occur is where slate roofs have been replaced with a more modern concrete slate and require the rafters in the loft to be strengthened to carry the extra weight.

26. If you see a property with black mould on the walls or ceilings
then this is as a result of condensation NOT damp.

Condensation forms as a result of lack of ventilation or lack of insulation. Common rooms to see the problem are kitchens and bathrooms where there is a lot of moisture, or corners of rooms with exposed external walls and it is cold. You can clean off the mould using products that you can purchase from DIY stores, apply a stain blocking paint and redecorate very cheaply but remember to resolve the cause of the problem.

27. Don’t get fooled by a run-down property with new external
rendering.

The question you should ask yourself is ‘what is this new rendering covering up?’ There could be some structural movement or poor maintenance of the wall, either way you need to establish if the problem is going to return whilst you own the building. Have a look on the inside and see if you can see any evidence of cracks or water ingress. You might have to move curtains and look behind cabinets as the vendor will try to hide it.

28. If you are converting a property to an HMO then make sure the
kitchen is big enough.

You need to check the requirements of your Local Authority but in most cases once you have over 5 occupants a ‘standard’ domestic kitchen will not be big enough. Importantly you may need to provide two lots of cooking and washing facilities along with sufficient cupboards for all of the tenants and this often doesn’t fit into the area of a traditional kitchen.

29. Two ways to help eliminate condensation.

  1. Install 2 speed fans in the bathrooms. These run continuously at a slow speed and are boosted when turned on by a light.
  2. Install a passive ventilation system in the top floor landing ceiling to continually blow air into the property.

30. What should I look at in Victorian Houses?

Victorian Houses consist of around one in six of all UK houses. Most are terrace as they were cost effective to build, with each house supported by its neighbour. The end terrace therefore being the weakest. The side walls are often not tied in and can be prone to movement, so when viewing an end of terrace Victorian House have a look at the side wall for any movement.

31. When do I contact Building Control?

All structural alterations must be carried out with Building Regulations approval. These include extensions, alterations to rooms, replacing windows and demolition.

32. Keep down the cost of running electric towel heaters in HMO’s.

Sometimes the only way of getting heat into the bathroom is by using electric towel heaters, these are great but tenants will often leave them on all day which in an HMO where you are paying the bill is not good.

Ask your electrician to wire them through a timer switch. These are often sold as immersion switches and allow for the heater to be switched on for a maximum time, which is usually 2 hours.

33. Intumescent paint can help you retain period doors in HMO’s.

With agreement of your local Building Control department it is possible to avoid replacing period doors with new fire rated doors. You will need to ensure that they fit the frames properly and then paint them in an approved intumescent paint. Make sure that you obtain a full specification from the supplier and that your painter follows it correctly.

34. Consider 2 speed fans in your HMO bathrooms.

2 speed fans run continually at a slow speed and are then boosted when the light is turned on. Although there will be a small increase in your electricity usage the continual running will help to reduce or eliminate condensation and consequential black mould.

35. Don’t forget that if you convert a single residential house to an
HMO you only need to pay 5% VAT.

You will only be able to take advantage of this if your builder is VAT registered and then again only for goods and services provided by him. If you purchase any of the materials then you will have to pay VAT at 20%.

36. Take planning advice when necessary.

Planning law is concerned with development, external features and change of use. If in a conservation area (there are over 91,000 in Britain) then any external changes visible from the street will be included, even fences and trees.

Always consult your local authority planning officer.

37. Reduce the cost of replacement windows by not using a FENSA approved contractor.

It is cheaper for your builder to purchase replacement windows and install them himself than use a window contractor. Approved window installers need to be FENSA registered but this is not necessary if your building work is signed off by Building Control instead. It’s important to ensure that all of the FENSA guidelines are followed but these are contained within the building regulations anyway.

38. Specify door closers otherwise you will get something cheap.

HMO regulations require fire rated doors, intumescent strips, smoke seal and an ‘approved door closing device’. Your builder is likely to install a cheap overhead door closer unless you specify that you want a better quality one or even a concealed closer that fixes between the frame and the hinge side of the door.

39. Building a new partition is rarely as simple as you think.

If you are splitting a room with a new partition then don’t forget to consider the lighting and heating that may also need some modification. At the very least there is probably a light switch to be installed by the door.

40. Don’t forget to manage your budget.

Managing your budget is so important, particularly if you are borrowing from an investor. If you can’t manage the budget then make sure that you find someone to help you with it. It’s worth reviewing your budget on a weekly basis or every time that there could be a material change to the cost of works or valuation of the property. Your budget will help you to make decisions as the work proceeds, potentially saving you money in the longer term.

41. Always ‘snag’ your builders work.

‘Snagging’ or a ‘snagging list’ is the term given to all those bits and pieces that need sorting out at the end of the job. You should inspect the work at completion with the builder and agree anything that requires attention; a crack, paintwork touched up and door easing are a few examples. A list should be kept by both client and builder and allows final payment once you are satisfied and if a Building Control Officer is involved, is also satisfied.

42. Check your quotation for VAT.

If the quotation does not mention VAT you should assume that it is VAT inclusive. Should your builder add on VAT later you are only legally obliged to pay the original quotation sum.

43. Make sure variations are confirmed in writing.

Variation orders, or VO’s, are written instructions from the client to the builder authorising them to carry our additional works. This helps avoid disputers later. They can also be jointly signed by the builder and the client.

44. Be careful with internet trade supply sites.

Builders sometimes belong to trade federations and advertise the fact as a symbol of their professionalism. However, you should be aware that a number of the web-based sites that appear to endorse contractors are nothing more than a telephone directory and they earn money for the owner by charging the suppliers for giving leads.

Trade organisations often offer insurance for the services of their members and can help you resolve disputes however the web-based sites will give you no support.

45. Look out for guarantees with specialist materials.

Some specialist materials can only be installed by approved contractors and as a result include a guarantee. You may find that a material which is slightly more expensive includes a guarantee, which if you are holding a property for a long time is worth having.

46. Get recommendations from Local Authority.

If your works falls under a Local Authority grant scheme, check with the local authority Environmental Health or Health Department’s Grant Aid section to see if they have a shortlist of builders who have carried out grant work for them previously.

47. Always check second hand materials.

If you are using second hand materials, for example tiling for a roof to match existing, insist that they are hand selected and sorted out first to check for cracks or holes, giving you enough time to order more if required.

48. Be careful when getting recommendations of builders from
your local council.

Whilst your council will have approved lists of contractors they are generally only larger companies that will have higher overheads included in their prices.

Some specialist materials can only be installed by approved contractors and as a result include a guarantee. You may find that a material which is slightly more expensive includes a guarantee, which if you are holding a property for a long time is worth having.

49. You don’t have to refurbish everything.

Prospective purchasers will look beyond a few minor areas that need improvement as long as the majority is new so you don’t always have to replace everything. Utility rooms for instance can often be tidied up by using some of the old kitchen units. Cloakrooms don’t really date as long as they have a white suite.

A question to ask yourself is ‘do I need to do a full refurbishment, or will a freshen up suffice?’

50. It’s your job to specify.

In most cases your builder will not be a property investor, therefore don’t expect them to know the HMO regulations. It’s your job to find out the regulations and then tell the builder exactly what you need.

51. Value your time.

If you micro-manage your project then there is a good chance that you will make more profit BUT it’s not always the best way. Consider the extra profit and if this is worth your time and the extra stress. In the time that you are managing this project could you be out, sourcing the next one and getting that one started? Our general advice is to outsource the project to a general builder, give them a detailed schedule of works and let them get on with it. This frees you up to be a Property Investor, not a Site Foreman.

52. The easiest part of the refurbishment is the works.

This might sound a bit odd but your job is to specify what you want and let the builder get on with it. If you spend plenty of time planning and specifying what you want then you will find that you have less queries from your builder, allowing you to do other things.

Unfortunately, too many investors want to start the works before they have planned them properly. You will save your time, money and your sanity if you spend an extra week or two preparing.

53. How good is the spray from your shower?

If you have low pressure in your shower then try a smaller headset, you’ll be surprised how much difference a smaller diameter head will make.

Some specialist materials can only be installed by approved contractors and as a result include a guarantee. You may find that a material which is slightly more expensive includes a guarantee, which if you are holding a property for a long time is worth having.

54. Look out for panelled doors that have been boarded over.

In the 1970s the vogue was to have everything smooth, that meant that the Victorian panelled doors were often boarded over with a sheet of hardboard or plywood. Look out for these sheets because there’s a good chance that you will find a nice door hidden behind them.

55. Does it look right?

Sometimes your own knowledge will tell you that something is not right. The best thing to do is take advice from a specialist, send them a photo to save them time and ask them for their advice and if necessary the cheapest solution.

56. Make a note of what you put in every property.

When you refurbish a property to hold, make a note of everything you buy so that it is easy to repair or replace things to match. This is really important with paint colours as it can save you having to repaint the whole room.

57. Don’t cut corners when tanking basements.

This work is covered by the building regulations and should be carried out by a specialist that will provide a warranty. Whilst there are some cheap solutions available most of them will not meet current standards and generally don’t carry a warranty.

58. Have you got water overflowing from your gutters?

It’s worth looking to see if the downpipes are blocked with leaves, moss or even dead birds. If your pipes go into gullies then a high-pressure hose may solve the problem but if the pipes go straight into the ground then it is a little harder and you may need to get a handyman with a ladder.

59. Defective gutters can cause long term damage to your
property.

As a result of gutters leaking for a long time, the walls of your property can become badly damaged by the water running down them. Not only is this a problem externally but in extreme cases it can lead to damp walls internally.

During heavy rainfall it is not uncommon for gutters to overflow however if in normal rainfall they overflow or leak then they need some maintenance.

60. Don’t forget that Building Control have to sign off all drainage
works.

It’s really important that you don’t backfill and finish until drainage connections have been inspected otherwise the Inspector is within his rights to ask you to open it up for inspection again. Once you have built rapport with your Inspector they may accept photographic evidence but never assume this.

61. To get 3 prices you may need to speak to 5 or 6 builders.

Builders are busy at the moment so won’t price every job. There’s also the chance that you won’t like everyone that you speak to so expect to speak to more than 3 builders if you want 3 prices.

62. A cheap way of reducing your water usage.

The average shower uses 12-15 litres of water per minute which can amount to quite a lot when you have an HMO with lots of en-suites. Shower flow restrictors can reduce this volume as low as 6 l/m and cost about £5 each to buy. They are really easy to install as they just screw onto the shower hose, and if installed when you refurbish a property you’ll be saving from day one.

63. The local Building Inspector is there to help you.

The Building Inspector is there to make sure the work is carried out correctly. If you are unsure about anything then ask the Inspector to check for you.

64. Beware of timber and damp specialists.

There are plenty of good specialists but some others will make a lot more out of a problem than it needs. Always check specifications and prices to get the whole picture.

65. Always get your warranties insurance backed.

Otherwise they are only as good as the contractor that has carried out the works. If you are likely to have a claim it will be in the first couple of years or last couple of years. You may well be able to get the contractor back in the short term but in the longer term who knows where they might be.

66. Don’t forget the outside of your property.

It’s all too easy to carry out a nice refurbishment internally and forget the gardens, driveway, paths and gates. Make sure that you consider these parts when you are putting a budget together and importantly discuss them with your builder to ensure that you don’t have a nicely finished house that no one can view because the drive is still being re-laid.

67. Sloping back gardens can be expensive.

If you are looking at a property on a hill then remember that extensions can be
disproportionally expensive. If the garden slopes up from the house then there will be a lot of soil to dig out and dispose of at approx. £45 per cubic metre. If the garden slopes away from the house then the extension is much higher at the back requiring additional brickwork and steps to get back down to the garden.

68. Be careful of old kitchen floors.

The kitchens in many older properties have replaced the old pantries and outhouses that the houses were built with. The floors in these rooms were generally solid concrete rather than suspended timber like the living room and they did not have damp membranes. This means that if you install new vinyl or laminate floor coverings the moisture in the slab will cause them to lift. You need to lay something that is breathable like sheet linoleum (lino) or natural clay tiles.

69. How do you fit curtains to sloping roof lights?

If you are installing roof lights (often called Velux windows after one of the largest manufacturers) then think about how you will be able to make blinds or curtains work with them. The answer is to purchase purpose made blinds that will come in varying colours with the windows. They may be a little more expensive but they are a much neater finish and worth the extra spend.

70. Find out your builder’s day rate.

If you think that you are likely to want some additional work carried out on your project then before you instruct a builder to start work ask him for his day rate, it will make it much easier to agree the cost of extra work later on.

71. Don’t forget the fixtures, finishings and fittings.

Don’t forget that planning drawings show the concept of the works, you will need Building Regulation drawings to allow your builder to be able to give you an accurate quotation. It’s worth noting that unless you instruct an Architect accordingly, these drawings will still not include details of the fixtures, finishings and fittings. Don’t leave working this out until the last minute as you will be surprised by how quickly the builder needs the information.

72. Avoid paying builders anything before they start the works.

If you pay builders ‘up-front’ then you are taking a huge risk. Although some builders ask for up-front payments because they can, many are doing it because their cash flow is in a mess and they need your money to complete the previous job.

It’s really easy for builders to get trade accounts so their excuse that they need it for materials is rubbish. Our advice is to avoid any builder who asks for up-front payments unless you can afford to lose everything that you pay him.

73. Shop around for your sound insulation.

Be very careful if you are installing sound insulation as what is shown on your Building Regulation drawings (whilst being perfectly adequate for the job) may not be the most cost effective. Your builder may be able to purchase cheaper materials from his merchant and can get support from a local rep to ensure the specification is the same.

The thing with sound insulation is that it is tested after completion so it’s important to get it correct which is something that a local rep will help with as well.

74. Check your minimum room sizes.

Generally, a single bedroom to HMO licence standards is 6.52m2, however in some areas a single bedroom for planning standards is 7.5m2.

It’s really important to check which figures your Local Authority works to before making an application for change of use.

75. Don’t forget your structural warranty.

Mortgage lenders are now requesting a structural warranty on all conversions, including commercial to residential and houses into flats. Whilst you can take these out retrospectively the cheapest way is to take them out before any works commence so that the warranty providers can inspect the works as it progresses.

76. You don’t have to use your Local Authority Building Control.

It is possible to appoint an Approved Inspector instead. Whilst they are sometimes more expensive, one of the biggest advantage is that they generally cover larger geographic areas so you can have the same inspector on all your projects irrespective of your LA area.

This website lists all Approved Inspectors in the country: http://cic.org.uk/services/register.php

77. Check for Asbestos.

If you are carrying out anything more than a light refurbishment then you must obtain an asbestos survey on your building. You will be surprised how much asbestos is still in residential properties (Artex, floor tiles and boiler flues being the common areas). Once you have a survey you can appoint a specialist to remove the asbestos or give it to your builder to arrange.

78. Don’t forget your party wall obligations.

If you are carrying out any work that affects the party wall or is within six metres of your neighbour’s property you will need to notify your neighbours under the Party Wall Act 1996.

79. Vet your builder before making an appointment.

It’s well worth asking builders to show you some existing and previous projects before appointing them. On the existing projects try to find out if they look organised and under control, on the completed ones look at the quality. Don’t forget that on the completed projects they probably didn’t have any involvement in the design so ignore these elements.

80. Don’t obtain builders quotes based upon planning drawings.

Planning drawings show the concept of the scheme only, they are not sufficiently detailed for a builder to quote against without making some massive assumptions which are likely to cost you money. What you need are the Building Regulation drawings which give the builder the specification for the works. Remember though that these generally don’t include details of your finishings, fixtures and fittings.

81. Responsibility for the Health & Safety of the whole project rests with the property owner, not the builder.

All building owners have a duty to consider the Health & Safety of their project under the CDM Regulations 2015. Unless you are suitably qualified you will almost certainly need to outsource this role to a CDM Consultant who will manage it on your behalf.

82. Macerator toilets are more suited to properties that you are selling than properties you are renting.

Ultimately macerator toilets (like Saniflo) need to be serviced regularly and treated with care with regards to what goes into them. If you are installing one in a rental property then you will need to manage this process with each tenant, which could be difficult. In a property that you are selling you pass on the responsibility to someone else.

83. Your architect usually won’t specify the finishings, fixtures and fittings.

Ultimately it is only you that can specify these as only you know the end user or
purchaser of the property. If you don’t start thinking about these early enough you will find your builder chasing you for the information at the last minute or even worse – guessing what you want.

84. Help your builder to plan ahead.

Ask him about his schedule for the next week, it will help remind him that he needs to book someone in or order some materials.

85. Enjoy the process!

Building and conversion doesn’t have to be stressful, it’s all about thinking, planning and enjoying creating something. Alternatively, you can outsource the whole process to a Project Manager and get on with something else.

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