Check out these essential tips before you start your next renovation project.

Scope of works

This might seem like a no-brainer, but simply preparing a renovation list of everything you want to achieve should be the first place you start. Don’t leave anything off even if you think it’s an unimportant or a low-value component. Include a timeline of events from planning through to completion and what you’ll need to be on top of every step of the way. Are you in charge of picking tile colours, wallpaper patterns, building certification or just ordering the skip? Plan it out properly so nothing is missed.

If you’re struggling, there are professionals out there that can help if required such as renovation consultants or quantity surveyors. Chat to your builder or tradespeople for further advice.

Relocation costs

Living through a major renovation is horrible! Dust, dirt, noise and a lack of privacy. There are of course steps you can take to make it just that much more tolerable. But if your renovation plans include changes to your living space, kitchen and bathrooms consider finding alternative arrangements for the duration. Factor in the costs of moving furniture out (and back again) as well as renovation storage charges. Then, of course, rental fees. Renovations do have a tendency to blow out, so for your budgets sake, double the expected timeframe so you’re not caught short.

Get plenty of renovation quotes

At least three, but more if you can afford the time and pain. The more trade professionals that look at your renovation project, the better understanding you will have of the process, price point and quality on offer.

If you’re considering project managing your own renovation rather than leaving it in the hands of a builder, make sure you speak to every trade individually from plumbers to painters.

Check your quotes thoroughly for inclusions and exclusions as well as the quality of finishing materials from tiles to doorknobs. Your interior design expectation might not be at the same level as your builder. If you plan on sourcing materials yourself, relay that to your builder so it can be correctly quoted in the PC list (provisional costs). Often builders make allowances for materials such as $30 per square metre for tiles. However, the polished travertine tiles you had in mind might blow that budget and end up digging into your contingency fund!

Be ready to vary

Talk about what possible variations you might come across. What unforeseen costs could sneak into the contract price that was not budgeted for? If you’ve scoped your project thoroughly, you might get through unscathed, but always allow for a 10-20% contingency budget just in case.

Add it up

Make sure you’re sitting down for this step. Can you still afford to renovate? If costs are blowing out, the good news is you’re in control. Planning for everything allows you to see the bigger renovation picture and scale back in places if need be. Big savings can be made by smart purchasing be it plumbing fixtures, tiles or white goods.

In large renovations, fixed costs in structural changes and skilled trades like plumbers and electricians are difficult to adjust. Be smart, can you avoid shifting the toilet or bath? Can you leave the gas stove in its current location? Small adjustments that make insignificant changes to your overall design may allow you to stretch your reno budget that little bit further.