Tricks & Tips | The 6 Key Factors When Project Managing Your Home Renovations
Updated: Jan 10
How can Project Management in a boring corporate world, translate to your home renovation or self-build?
The answer is, in more ways than you think. If we get rid of the horrible corporate buzz words; blue sky thinking, picking low hanging fruit <shudders> actually the tools and techniques can be transferable to a bathroom remodel or a self-build and everything in between.
From my corporate background in change, one of the key things I've learnt is that there are 6 key fundamental considerations in every project. When starting your renovation works, these are your cornerstones. It may feel a bit daft, but write them down and keep referring back to them throughout and this will help keep a clear mind when the going gets tough.
So what are you trying to achieve? If you’re creating a new kitchen, you may initially start with ‘I want lots of storage’ or ‘I want to display my prized collection of cat mugs’ (whatever rocks your boat). But begin to pin down things like is it engineered oak flooring, luxury vinyl or tiles that you're pining for?
Start to research and think through materials, colours, location of items even if you feel like it's way too early, so that when your tradesperson says ‘I need to know what lights you’re having and where they're going by tomorrow’ which inevitably WILL happen, then you are on it.
Most people know the cost – it’s driven purely by what budget you have available and have put to one side for your renovation works. This will in turn drive everything we’ve talked about in ‘1. Quality’.
So you want encaustic tiles but your budget won’t stretch that far? Something has to give. Work out what you are willing to compromise on and what is a ‘must’.
Measure up and obtain quotes early on so you can get control of your budget. Your trades or if you’ve hired a project manager like me, then we can help to source items and keep within the budget you have. Start up a spreadsheet to log invoices and track project costs.
Before Christmas. (It’s always before Christmas!) In all seriousness, given the quality you want, the budget you have, and of course your trades availability; this should give you a realistic timeframe. Make sure your trades break that timeframe down; that way you can easily see whether you are on track. Agree this with your trades, but again, be realistic. Build in contingency for unforeseen delays; weather, material availability, carpenters thumb gets chopped off, you get the idea. These things do, and will happen.
In desperation you may ‘just want a kitchen that works!?’ and that is fine. The anguish in your voice alone may say it all and quite frankly scare the trades into producing your dream kitchen.
Have a think through what else you hope to gain – a better flow in the house? Visibility of your children playing? A feeling of bringing the outside in? A luxurious relaxing bath time? You can have the most fabulous looking kitchen in the world but if it doesn't provide enough storage you're going to fall out of love with it pretty quickly. So be clear!
Sounds the most boring of the 6, but it’s pretty important let me tell you from someone who has been personally burnt! Be absolutely sure what is in scope and what is out of scope with your trades. Are sockets and switches part of the quote? How about in the brass you’ve been hankering over? Are they hiring enough skips? Are you both clear on the worktop? The flooring? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions even if you feel like a pest.
I feel like the Jaws theme tune should play here. Any project – whether in a corporate environment or a home renovation / self-build, involves risk; your tiles are discontinued, damp is found, builder falls ill. This is where a project manager can come into their own. Continuously monitoring risks, identifying ways to mitigate them and finding the right solution for a homeowner. If you can’t hire a project manager, then it’s up to you to take a deep breath, reassess the situation and work through ways to overcome the obstacles thrown at you.