Home renovations tend to be dirty, dusty and disruptive. Spending can get out of control, shady practices are all too common and often, communication and management problems mean you end up with results other than those you were really hoping for.
We offer some straightforward guidelines for minimising stress, errors and undesirable outcomes when having your home renovated.
Know what you want
The best way to get the results you desire is to have a clear picture of exactly what you want. Then you can communicate this clearly when seeking quotes and directing contractors.
Dig around for ideas by browsing through interior design magazines and websites. Visit showrooms, trade fairs, and décor and design exhibitions like Decorex, and chat to family and friends, who have recently revamped their homes for inspiration and guidance.
Being absolutely clear about what you want prevents builders or other contractors from making key decisions themselves, based on guesswork and/or what they know it’s cheapest and easiest for them to do.
With a proper plan in place, you'll also be less inclined to change your mind mid-way through a job. Often it's the last-minute changes – those not included in an original quote – that lead to ballooning home renovations costs.
Find a reputable contractor
With so many fly-by-night 'companies' out there, it's important to select the building contractor with care. Your best bet is to get personal recommendations from people you know. Failing that, you can search for accredited companies online.
Create a list of prospective contractors, and check they are certified or accredited by independent bodies like The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHRBC).
It's also a good idea to visit independent reviews websites, such as Hellopeter, Contractorfind.co.za and homify, to assess the client experience - good and bad - of the contractors on your short list.
Once you've narrowed down your options to around three or four companies and have requested quotes from each, you can go ahead and choose the most qualified home renovations company for the job.
Insist on a detailed written contract
It's important to get everything in writing before work commences. This is key for avoiding nasty confrontations and disputes, and for ensuring that both sides have the same understanding of what work will be done.
The contract should specify:
- the full extent of the renovations
- the cost of materials and labour for each part of the project
- a completion date, payment schedule and overtime penalty fee
- what's not included in the job
- what guarantee the contactor provides for their work.
Store personal items
With home renovations, you'll have workmen and sub-contractors traipsing through your home. Depending on the nature of the work, there may also be a lot of dust, debris or paint spatters.
The best way to preserve valued belongings is to move them off site for the duration of the work. Self-storage is a convenient solution for this purpose, enabling you to hire the space you need, for as long or short a period as you need it.
The leading suppliers of self-storage in South Africa offer reasonable rates, easy access to your stored items and storage facilities that are dry, clean and highly secure.
Investigate suitable insurance
If you’re planning to have extensive home renovations done, it’s best not to rely solely on your existing home insurance policy or the contactor's all risk insurance. These won’t necessarily cover the costs of an onsite catastrophe.
Instead, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance provider before work gets underway. You can inform the insurer of the proposed upgrades and discuss the availability of supplementary cover.
Withhold final payment
Don't be too hasty in making the final payment to the contractor. Take your time to inspect the job and allow any new building work to “settle”. Settle what you owe in full once all snags have been properly dealt with and you’re satisfied with the job.
At XtraSpace, we offer clean, secure self-storage units that are ideal for storing household items, to keep them safe and minimise stress during home renovations. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.