Beginning a construction project can be hard work, time-consuming and stressful. Whether it’s a small home extension or new build construction, there is much to think about before you can get the project off the ground.
The Surrey architects experts at Surrey Design Studio have listed some of the most important things to consider before starting a construction project. With careful research, preparation, and the right team behind you, you can be sure that the project will be delivered on time and within budget, with minimum issues encountered.
1. Have you got permission?
Some projects will require permission to go ahead from your local council. Most interior projects are good to occur from the start, but when it comes to construction concerning the exterior, permission is mostly required. If you are unsure, contact your local planning office to see what permission (if any) you need.
As an example, a rear wall of a detached home can be extended by 8 metres if it is a single-storey property, and 3 metres if it is a double-storey.
For larger projects, planning permission will be required:
- When you want to build something new
- Make a major change to your building, such as a major extension
- Change the use of your building
You can apply for planning permission through your local council. If you start a project without getting the necessary permission granted, you will be served with an ‘enforcement notice’ ordering you to undo all the changes you have made.
2. Get your neighbours on board early
This is commonly overlooked, but building projects can be a major cause of disputes between neighbours. In the cases where planning permission is required, the local council will consult your neighbours, so it’s definitely a good idea to let them know about your plans well in advance, especially if the work may cause disruption.
3. Update your home insurance cover
Another thing to sort out before the construction project begins is to contact your home and contents insurance provider to let them know of your plans. The work you are doing is very likely to increase the rebuild cost of your house, and so your insurers will take this into account when pricing your insurance costs. While the building work occurs, your property will be at high risk of damage with construction and machinery at work.
Failure to inform your insurer will leave you vulnerable if a problem does arise as you are likely to find your policy is rendered void.
4. Create a realistic budget
A construction budget is a financial plan for the project. It provides you with a clear understanding of the projected expenses that are related to the project:
- Raw & building materials
- Equipment (purchase or rental costs)
- Labour of contractors and subcontractors
- Transportation of materials
- Utilities such as electricity and water
- Insurance, permit, and license cost
- Unforeseen expenses
A detailed budget will allow you to secure the funds and ensure you have enough money to finish the project. Having said that, it is also important to consider the over-budget as well. Often, construction projects will go over the budget from time to time. This is usually no single person’s fault, but rather the result of a problem that has occurred along the way. So when you are creating the budget, it is a good idea to overbudget for everything just in case the project comes to halt at one phase.
5. Schedule the timeline
With the budget established, it’s essential to next establish a realistic timeline and schedule for the project. If the project overruns, it could cost you a lot of money and mean you are losing out on potential revenue opportunities. The schedule should be as detailed as possible, listing the different stages of construction. For example, how many days will each phase take to complete? What resources are needed to complete each stage?
Don’t forget about the timeframes needed to gain approval for the necessary permits and licenses, as well as delivery time for equipment and other machinery. With all of this information, estimate a project completion date and try your best to stay on schedule to meet this.
6. Prepare skip hire for the waste
Regardless of your project size, there will be plenty of ongoing mess created from the work and machinery used. You should prepare for this in advance by organising a skip-hire service. A skip will allow the waste produced to be efficiently cleared from the premises and save you from making numerous trips to your local waste management centre. It will also save you money as the subcontractors will not need to charge you to clear the mess themselves.
Try to anticipate the amount of waste you will have so that you can order the correct size skip for your specific project:
- A 4-yard skip is ideal for small kitchen or bathroom refurbishment projects.
- A 6-yard skip is perfect for removing the waste of a medium-sized kitchen or large bathroom.
- An 8-yard skip is also known as the ‘builders skip’ as it is best for heavy waste such as concrete, rubble, and soil.