Renovating a house - who do you call first?

So you’re planning on renovating a property. If you’ve never done this before it may seem like a daunting task, but with common sense and forward planning you should have no trouble making a success of it. Enlisting some professional help along the way is very smart, whether that’s an architect, a contractor, an interior designer or anyone else. Your team will be the people who make a success of your building renovation project, but at what point do you need to contact them all? To help you plan your property refurbishment, this is our quick guide of who to call when.

Pre-Construction Planning

The first person to get on board is an architect. It’s their job to lay the groundwork for your project, including feasibility assessments, overall planning and design. They’ll provide you with a “big picture” idea of what your home will look like, and will work through planning permission submissions to get your project on the road. Once you have an idea of what the project will look like, how long it will take, and when it’s likely to begin, it’s a good idea to start searching for a contractor.

Getting The Ball Rolling

Your main contractor will oversee the actual construction of the property, liaising with the various subcontractors such as plumbers, electricians and other specialities that are involved in the renovation. You should find a trustworthy contractor once your architect has drawn up in-depth plans. You might have someone in mind, but until you have a firm date for the project start it’s impossible to contract them for your project. You wouldn’t want to settle on a date, only for the architect’s plans to be rejected at the permission stage - this could cause you lots of problems and stress.

Finalising The Design

Interior design should be part of your plan right from the very beginning. Although your architect will have a good idea of what your home will look like, they have plenty of other things to think about. They won’t be able to focus on every little doorknob and light fitting. Talk to an interior designer during the early stages of the project so they can provide some input; they may suggest enlarging a window here, or altering the shape of a doorway there. They may also have particular designs in mind that require substantial lead time, such as custom light fittings, tiles, or other items. These can take months to arrive, so don’t leave them until the last minute. Of course, your interior designer won’t have a lot of impact on the actual building site until the property is finished. However, they’ll be the guiding hand on how the project should eventually look, and should be involved at an early date.

Your Renovation Project Team

If you’re not sure at what point you need to actually involve each member of the renovation team, think of what they need to know when they’re involved. For instance, the contractor needs to know exactly what you’re planning to make, where it will be, when it will start and how long it will take. You can’t answer any of these questions until you’ve spoken to an architect, so the architect should come first. The interior designer will need to know what the inside of the property is going to look like, so you should be able to show them; again, the architect should come first. Of course, you may need to involve some people even before the architect; legal checks and surveys should be carried out so you can provide them with all the information you need. Take the time to methodically check who needs to know what, and you should be in a position to involve the right people at precisely the right time.

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