5. Make decisions early

Top tips to avoid going over-budget and over-time on your home refurbishment

5. Make decisions early and don’t revisit them (unless absolutely necessary). To understand the true cost and scope of a project it is really important to front-load your design decisions, rather than waiting until you are already on site. Changes to built elements are far more costly (financially and in time) than changes on paper.

A detailed and coordinated package of design information and work schedules at tender stage, with as few “TBCs” as possible, means that your builder can accurately price the work, and your building contracts will be watertight. Works contracts are complicated, and when it is clear what has been allowed for within the contract documents, any on- site variations will be more easily and accurately priced. Allow time for your team to prepare this detailed information and avoid the temptation to rush to start building.

As you can imagine, it is common to change your mind on some parts of the project when you see them in person rather than on paper, or as your circumstances change. This is no problem, and allowed for in most building contracts, but make sure that changes are instructed through the appropriate contract mechanism (not just directly to your builder) and that your architect explains any knock-on implications, such as time and cost. Any change will have a ripple effect that needs oversight and consideration. For example, a seemingly simple change such as a desire to change your hob from electric to gas could require the installation of a new gas pipe through the ceiling, which will then need to be ventilated. To accommodate this you may need to lower the ceiling, and if so, you may need new cornices around the room (and let’s hope they weren’t elaborate plaster ones).

As with all projects, open, honest, and clear communication with your team is key.

You are the boss of your project, but to make informed decisions you should always listen to your consultant’s advice, even if sometimes you choose to ignore it!

We wish you the best of luck making that leap from your vision to reality!