House renovation tips and tricks of the trade

Improving your home’s value

Home renovations can be difficult! Hiring builders, getting planning permission, booking skip, managing builders, making the right colour tea, picking the kids up, getting stuck in the smog-ridden lanes of London, the list goes on; so how can you make it a smooth journey?

drawings of a loft conversion plan

Get to know the building inspection process

Read up on the local authority website, to understand what parts of a renovation need to be approved by a building inspector. For example, in Wandsworth, you must tell Wandsworth council 24 hours before commencing this sort of work:

  • Damp proof coursing
  • Drainage systems
  • Any excavations of foundations


This is an important step and will help.  If you forgo this, you may end up having to tear down your work, so it can be inspected by the council.


Think Ahead

The first thing is thinking ahead, creating a schedule and sticking to it.  For example, if you can only work on Sundays, you need to ask can it be done in a day? If not, can the area remain out of use for the time you need for example for two or three weeks.


Stay on the right side of the law and get all your paperwork straight

Work out clear agreements if you are hiring anyone to do work in your home. Make sure your adherer to London Planning permission and regulations. To get approved by your local authority you may need to submit drawings from professionals such as architects, building conversion experts or structural engineers.

The paper work can all seem heavy going and cumbersome but stick with it and be thorough, so you don’t run into problems down the line.


Make a realistic budget (with a contingency)

Draw out a table or simple list with all the products you want and the associated costs, this will give you an idea of overall costs and help you to make sure you don’t run out of money half way through! And do double check availability and any necessary delivery for material.  Always add a 10% or so contingency to your budget or ideally double check it with a friend who knows his DIY. Remember prices in London can be 5-8% more than other parts of the country.


And more contingency planning

Remember being lenient with time scales  and any extra help you may need, you can run into unexpected things. For example, you could go to remove some plaster board, but find a leaky pipe behind it. So now you have another job to do, a plumbing job. Do you have the skills for the plumbing job? If not you may need help, accept it adapt, and get the job done.

Hope these four tips help, happy renovating.

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