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Home Renovation: Decisions to make early

Some decisions have a flow-on effect on construction. For example, some materials take a long time to be manufactured or to arrive in the country. So, what decisions require your attention first?

Flooring

Floor finishes can have an impact on your project in several ways. Depending on how specialised they are and where they’re coming from, the lead time for your floor finishes can be longer than your construction period. Ordering early can ensure they arrive on time. All floor finishes come in different thicknesses as well, so if they’re sitting adjacent to one another (i.e., from a carpeted bedroom to a tiled en-suite), you’ll either need to make allowances for floor leveling or accept the step. Allowances could mean leveling compound to bring it up, or it could mean cutting down the sub-floor. Both of these strategies cost money, and the former requires pre-planning for construction. Ever tried to open a door and have it drag on the carpet? By knowing your floor finishes upfront, your door frames can be installed to avoid this.

Lighting layouts

Although the exact fittings and locations don’t need to be confirmed early (subject to lead times), their approximate locations should be. This knowledge enables the electrician to run cabling in the walls and ceiling cavity to the general location and with a bit of extra slack in case the location shifts more than a few centimetres.

Power outlets

Much like the lighting layout, you need to have an idea of where and how many power outlets you’ll require early on, to enable cabling through the wall framing before plasterboard linings are installed. Remember what Dave said in our interview with a sparky blog? You’ll never wish you had fewer power points, so don’t hold back when completing your layout.

Plumbing fittings

Different fittings have different requirements. The location of your shower or bath drain, whether your toilet is plumbed through the wall or floor, and the position of your basin water supply and waste are all determined by their specific fittings. The bonus of making these decisions early is that you might be able to secure a package deal if purchasing everything from one supplier.

Windows

You’ll need to include the size and location of new windows in consent documentation which is submitted early in the project process. The supplier will also need to be notified of the programme so they can book you into their manufacturing schedule. Otherwise, if you wait until you’re ready for site measures to let them know, they may not be delivered on time.

Trims

Although standard profiles of skirting and scotia are easy to source, custom profiles are not. If your home has a mismatch of trims, you’ll need to decide upfront if you’re going to replace any to match. Depending on the decision, your builder may need to measure up (off the plans) and place an order before walls are built.

Utilities

Particularly in a home you don’t currently live in (e.g. a new build, or if you’re commencing renovations as soon as you purchase/settle on a property) you will need to submit applications for water and power accounts so your tradies have services to connect to. In a subdivision scenario where a new water meter and pillar-box (for power) is required, the lead time can be weeks if not months, and ideally both will be connected when the build commences.

Window coverings

Be it blinds, sheers, shutters, or curtains, choosing your finish, fabric, and style early is a necessity. Much like floor finishes and windows, lead times for the material, as well as booking the manufacturing, could delay your project.

Custom anything

The benefit of ‘off-the-shelf’ is just that; it’s off the shelf. Bespoke items, however, can take time to be designed, have materials sourced, and made – often by hand.

Made-to-measure

As with custom products, anything that requires a site measure (structural steel, kitchen joinery, bi-fold doors) will need to have the site measure booked in advance to secure the spot – even if the timing is indicative only.

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