Initial Stages of Planning a Project
When deciding to undertake any DIY or home improvement project it is vital to clarify exactly what you want to achieve. Not only do you need to keep this vision in your own mind through a project, but you also need to share it with anyone else working on the improvements. The best way to do this is to write down what you want the finished area or item to look like; it is also advisable to keep a notebook with ideas, magazine cuttings or sketches to do with the project. As much detail as possible is helpful.
One of the other decisions is whether you can or want to complete the project yourself. It may be that you require professional help with aspects of a project such as electrical or plumbing installation. On the other hand, you may be capable of completing the work yourself but just do not have the time to do so. Professional services may be required in the planning stages of a project. For example, the help of an architect may be needed to obtain planning permission or to help you to comply with current building regulations.
Be realistic about the time required to complete a project. Can you really re-vamp the whole garden in one weekend? It is always a shame when people make a good start but rush at the end of the works because they are under pressure to complete renovations by a certain time or date. Do not forget that family members may not be as enthusiastic about a project and may get fed up living with the upheaval quickly – it is wise to choose your timing carefully before beginning any home improvements.
Organizing and Ordering DIY Materials
Depending upon the nature of your project, there may be quite a lot of DIY materials to order and quantities to calculate. It is also important to determine at what time you will need which materials. You do not want a whole bathroom suite delivered and sitting around for months while an extension is being built. At the same time you do not want to pay tradesmen to stand around and wait for materials arriving. It may be helpful for everyone involved to plan all the stages of the project on a Gantt chart. This will show at a glance how much time each stage of construction should take, and in turn help in ordering the right DIY materials at the right times.
Do not forget to be careful and double check when calculating quantities of materials required; not all products will be returnable to DIY stores or builders merchants. If you are not sure on calculating you can often find helpful calculator tools online or your architect may be able to help with the quantity estimating of materials. Sometimes your local DIY store may be able to help as well.
Choosing the Right Tradesman
If you are unsure who to use for professional help in your home ask family and friends if they have any recommendations. You may also be able to get recommendations from your local independent building supplies or DIY store. It is sensible to ask two or three tradesmen to visit the site and quote for the work required. Beware though, the cheapest price or the man who can start straight away is not always the best one to choose. A good builder is normally worth waiting for, and may price for extra things that another builder may not have thought of. If you are planning to employ the services of someone you have not deal with before it is completely acceptable to ask to see examples of their previous work. A reputable person / company will be more than happy to show off previous projects that they have completed.
The key to getting what you want is communication, as pointed out earlier. You need to clearly communicate to any tradesman what it is that you are hoping to achieve. Of course, their advice along the way will be invaluable, but you need to be happy with the results at all stages of a project.