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  • jetnelson

Renovation - Planning & Design - St Ives

Updated: May 7, 2022

For one client, their home of 20 years had a number of issues along with areas they wanted to improve but the more they discussed it themselves, the more overwhelming it all seemed.


When I first met them, the list of things they wanted done was long and there was a list of things I could see that were needed that they were not aware of. So it's no wonder they felt overwhelmed. Plus, an unfinished extension that had been boarded up for many years as family life just took over and got in the way.

To start, I guided the conversation towards what are the 3 top items that would have the biggest impact on their lives. There were about 10 items they came up with and through our meetings and conversations, we arrived at 3 key packages of work for what we called Phase 1.

The scope of Phase 1 was;

  1. Finish the boarded up Master Bedroom and build out the ensuite

  2. Replace the entrance patio tiles, balustrade and 2 garage doors

  3. Replace the existing 80s aluminum windows with a more modern profile

Design & Budget Development

I commenced developing the budget for this scope and started to develop the design guide for the following

  • The walls, trims, doors and lights for the Master Bedroom

  • Layout for the ensuite (location for bathtub, shower, vanity toilet)

  • The colours and sizes for wall, floor tiles, vanity and fittings for the ensuite.

  • Garage Doors style and colour, patio tiles size and colour.

  • Balustrade style, material and colour.

  • Window style, profile, glass type and colour.

From there, I detailed the budget out even further with costs for fittings, vanity, tiles and chased up window companies to provide their quotes.

My clients were now getting a better view of what the total budget would be. It was still a work in progress though getting into the detail is key for budget accuracy. They were now far less overwhelmed as the outline started to take shape.

Quotes & Refining the Budget

Next, I contacted 6 builders to come and provide quotes for the work.

Out of the 6 builders, 2 were no shows, 1 was not licenced to do everything we needed and the other 3 submitted written quotes.

In comparing the quotes, I was able to discuss with the builders where things had been missed or where understanding of certain pieces of work was misaligned.

There was 1 builder who wouldn't show the break down of costs for the 3 packages in phase 1. This doesn't support transparency and even though his overall price was competitive, he was no longer a contender. I respectfully made him aware of that and my clients were extremely glad they didn't have to deal with any of that.

From the 2 builders remaining, 1 had gone into a level of detail on his site visit and asked questions that gave me a great feeling about what it would be like to work with him and how he would perform for my clients.

Whilst his quote was initially missing some minor things, we worked through that and refined it to a point we were all happy with. His quote was slightly higher than the other remaining builder though his attention to detail and approach to solving issues more than may up for that.

I checked his licenses and insurances were up to date, spoke to 3 of his clients and discussed with him how the 2 of us would work together to ensure my clients would be happy.

They agreed and so the builder decision was made. They were thrilled to be at this point as previously, this was something they were not even close to.

Timeline Planning

Next, we needed to work on the timeline and start date. The builder advised he needed an 8 week stretch to get the work done which was 7 weeks away in October. If all the items we needed to purchase were not onsite by then, he wouldn't be able to start until the following February. So we really needed to get moving with placing orders.

Since my clients now had a detailed budget with costs for each item, and a builder that had given us a rough start week, it was a matter of ordering all of the tiles, taps, vanity, bathtub, fittings, lights etc so they were onsite ready for the builder and his team.

The windows were ordered first as during the quoting period, they had a lead time of 6 weeks. Any delay could push us out to February.

They progressively worked through ordering the items as links were provided in the budget alongside each individual item. Packages arrived on a daily basis giving my clients that " this is really happening" feeling.

A Potential Setback

3 weeks from the start date, the window manufacturer advised of a 2 week delay as demand overtook supply. After speaking with the builder, we rearranged the work so the windows would be last in the 8 week schedule. This would give us enough time to still stick to the original 8 week schedule.

We then mapped out the plan week by week so that it was clear to everyone. It also meant I knew what to expect when I came to perform quality checks.

As the weeks progressed, the various orders arrived at my clients home ready for the builder and his team and the subsequent checks with the window manufacturer showed no further daley. Even if there was, we now had a plan that could accommodate it. My clients were now ready like never before to see this renovation come to life.

So there's an overview of just some of the work that goes into the planning and design for a major renovation project along with some of the setbacks, risks and considerations that need to be accounted for in the planning.

Look out for a future article on the 8 week renovation.


If you are looking for guidance on starting your renovation or repair project, get in touch and let me help put you on the right path to make it successful.

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