|By Richard Bourne, Director
Bourne Bathroom Supplies Centre
There are many sad cases of home renovations not going as planned - often going way over budget or schedule, or unforseen complications popping up unexpectedly and ruining even up to years of work.
Most of these situations would never have gone so awry with some careful planning and early decision making sooner in the renovation process. Below are a few issues that it is vital to think about before you begin your home renovation.
10 Things to Think About BEFORE Beginning Work
Prepare a budget
Before you start shopping for your bathrooms or kitchen you must know your spending limits. Whether you are getting a loan or paying cash, you need to work out how much your project is going to cost. Some businesses also offer finance solutions for approved customers.
Finding a tradesperson
Speak with family and friends who have done renovations or built a home. It is important to find a tradesperson that you can communicate with. Make sure you understand everything they are telling you. Book a tradesperson well ahead of time, as they can be booked for months in advance. Ensure that your tradesperson is licensed. Your product warranties are only valid if installed by a licensed tradesperson. In Australia, Trades@call provide professional, reliable tradespeople for most jobs, and all workmanship is guaranteed.
Be aware of council regulations
Find out all the information you can before you arrange tradesperson. If your home is heritage listed you will need to meet strict council regulations. Many renovations must be approved by the council before work can commence. Contact your local council for more details.
Know your start and completion dates
Communicate with your tradesperson and come to an agreement of realistic start and completion dates for your project. If you have a specific date that the job must be finished by, for example you have relatives coming to stay, let your tradesperson know. Keep in mind that unexpected problems can hold up your project, no matter how well you have planned it.
It is important that you draw up plans of your bathroom or kitchen. Discuss the plans with your tradesperson. Let him know what sort of products you would like, so he will know what work needs to be done. For example if you have chosen an inwall cistern, the tradesperson will need to know so he can set up the plumbing correctly before the tiling is done. It is best to have specifications of all of the products you have chosen so the tradesperson knows exactly what work is required.
Selecting Products for your Bathroom, Laundry or Kitchen
It may take a few shopping trips for you to decide on the products that give you the look you desire and are also practical for your needs. Browse through a print or online catalogue. Once you have decided on a style (modern, heritage or easy living) this will narrow down your product choices. Be aware of any size restrictions of the room. Print out or write down product specifications and measure up your bathroom. You may use the online bathroom planner at the Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centre website to layout the products you have chosen.Talk to your tradesperson about your choices. If the tradesperson tells you that a product you have chosen is unsuitable, find out why. It may just be that extra work is required that they don't want to do. Remember, it is your home and you need to be satisfied once the job is complete.
Purchasing products for your Bathroom, Laundry or Kitchen
When selecting products, find out how long it will take for delivery. Some goods such as bathroom taps and tapware, toilets and towel rails will be in stock, while others such as spa baths, bathtubs and bathroom basins with vanity units are custom made and can take up to 1 month to order in. Often these custom made products are non-refundable so confirm your product choices with your tradesperson before ordering. Find out from your tradesperson which products they will required first. Generally, the first products needed are: showers, bathtubs or spa baths and taps if they are being installed on the wall.
As an owner builder, what should I purchase myself?
If you are owner building, make sure you purchase all of the main products for your bathrooms, kitchen and laundry, so everything including the kitchen sink. This will ensure that you make all of the decisions and achieve the result you want. There will be things you will not think about when placing an order, such as different handle types on a bathroom vanity unit, the pump position of your spa bath, that you will need to decide on. It is important to make these decisions yourself as they will affect the overall result of your project. Smaller fittings for plumbing can be purchased by your tradesperson.
What services are available to my property?
It is important to know whether you need gas or electric appliances (heated towel rails, hot water unit, cooking appliances). If you live further out from the city, you may need LPG appliances. If you currently have electric appliances and you want to change to gas, speak with your tradesperson to determine if this is going to be cost effective and worthwhile in the long run. If you are building a new home, decide on the appliances you want before building begins, as the plumbing will need to be roughed in based on your product selection.
What sort of Hot Water Unit do I need?
There is a wide range of hot water units available and it can be quite daunting to try and choose one. If you are replacing an existing unit your choices can be limited, so speak with your tradesperson. The instantaneous hot water units are popular at the moment, but they use a larger gas line than the standard storage units. This can mean major plumbing changes which can be quite costly, though in the long run the instantaneous systems are cost efficient. See the Bourne Hot Water Selection Guide for more detail.
Many of these points seem somewhat obvious, but the problem arises when you start taking things for granted. When you don't make sure that all your bases are covered, you may find that you have invested a lot of time, effort and money in a home renovation that you may end up unhappy with.
Richard Bourne is owner and manager of Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centres. Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centres (http://www.bournebathrooms.com.au) offer the largest range of bathroom, kitchen and plumbing supplies in Melbourne. Bourne's exhaustive selection of home renovation supplies and great after sales service have helped thousands of people to buy "beautiful products at beautiful prices" since 1992.