Over the years at Topology, we’ve worked with countless tradespeople; from painters to plumbers to electricians and tilers, you name it, we’ve tried them all. And, when you work with tradespeople on a regular basis like us, you really start to realise just how valuable the good ones are at making a project run smoothly. When you combine decent trades with a fool-proof working relationship process (keep on reading to understand) then you’re on track for a stress-free renovation where no money is wasted and no issues caused. Sound too good to be true? Well, below we’re listing our 7 renovation tips to having a smooth process with your tradesperson.
The 7 Renovation Tips..
1 – On boarding trades
Always gather at least 2 quotes on a project so you can compare costs for the work at hand – 3 is a sweet spot. So you know you’re not wasting each others time, send them photos of the space / job & a brief description of the job. If they are knowledgeable they should be able to offer some insight on what needs to be done and provide a rough estimate based off your provisional information. If the cost is inline with what you’re willing to spend, get them to come out and do a free site visit to quote up in person and get a feel for them.
2- Check they have insurance
Give yourself peace of mind that your builders have insurance for if anything goes wrong. Public Liability and Professional Indemnity are the key ones to check they have.
3 – Keep written communication
From experience, many builders will like to chat over the phone, which is great for fast communication, but sometimes you need a paper trail to remind yourself of key decisions that were made on the spot. This can be particularly useful if there is any dispute on costs, or if there are things the builder has done without your consent etc. After a phone call pop them an email, or text to clarify what was decided.
4 – A scope of works doc
Always create a scope of works document so that you and your trade knows exactly what work they are to do and for what cost, or alternatively, make sure they send you a detailed quote that has broken down exactly what the work entails. For larger renovations, both sign a service agreement or T’s & C’s also.
5- Take photos before & make sure builders use good protection
Always take lots of photos or videos of the space before your builder starts – this can be key to dissolving any disputes in the future, if they may have damaged anything. For example, if you’ve laid a new flooring, make sure both of you know there are currently no dents or marks in it and take photos to prove this and lay protection down before works commence – the best protection is called Corex!
6- Secret Contingency
Always put aside a secret contingency fee of around 15% of your estimated works budget for unforeseen works and materials – there is rarely ever a project where you don’t need this and it is important to budget for this ahead so if you do need a bit more cash, you’re prepared.
7 – Don’t use a different trade for every job
The most stress free and cost-effective way of managing a larger renovation project is by using one contractor for the bulk of the jobs. When you start to use lots of different tradespeople to do individual jobs (sometimes in an effort to hire the cheapest person for each job) you end up with trades working on top of each other, blaming each other for certain issues and sometimes run up costs for a whole wealth of reasons you didn’t see coming. This is actually our biggest piece of advice, as having done all sorts of projects in different formats, this definitely works the best.