Finally, you’re booked in for that building job you’ve been nagging your partner to schedule for years. Whether it’s a brand-new kitchen remodel or the extension you’ve been craving ever since you moved in, after months of deciding which local builders to hire, looking through architect plans, getting quotes, and crunching your finances, it finally feels like a reality.
However, while it’s natural to feel excited about building work, there’s still much to be done before you can leave the rest in your builder’s hands. When getting ready to receive builders and other tradespeople into your home, you must prepare and protect it (and the people around you!) to ensure the build goes as smoothly as possible.
From notifying your neighbours and finding alternative solutions to preparing to live not-so-comfortably and deciding whether to move out or stay put, we outline several things you need to do to prepare your home before contractors start showing up on your doorstep – keep reading to find out more.
Vet Your Builders Thoroughly
Let’s face it; you wouldn’t invite anyone off the street into your home, especially if they’re making physical changes to your property. Therefore, even if your builders have been recommended to you by a close friend/family member, it is essential that you do a background check on the company to ensure that promises will be met.
Providing that they are the professionals they claim to be, they should have no problem with you asking for proof of their credibility and even be forthcoming with this information – if they’re not, then this is your first red flag.
You can take certain precautions to ensure your builders are reputable, from asking to see builder’s certifications, checking that they are registered by the NHBC, asking to see previous work, visiting houses they’ve worked on, talking to past customers, and many more.
Another way to ensure you can find credible builders near you is by choosing them from a list of tradespeople using an online directory like MyBuilder. Using their site, you can create a job advert for builders, carpenters, joiners, and many other tradespeople to respond to, which you can vet before sharing any contact details by viewing their profile, previous work, reviews etc.
Whether you want to find local builders or gardeners, consider using their site next time you’re enlisting the services of a contractor and see how it could help make the search for reputable individuals much more straightforward.
Let Your Neighbours Know
Although no policies say, you must inform your neighbours about building work (unless the work being carried out falls within the notification period detailed in the Party Wall Act). It might be considered neighbourly if you let them know about your intended construction plans before contractors arrive at your doorstep.
Aim to tell them several weeks before your local builders are due to arrive, and don’t forget to outline how long it will last, how it might affect your neighbour, and what will be taking place. You don’t have to do it face-to-face; you could notify them by emailing them, dropping a letter through their door, or popping up on instant messenger.
Whichever way you break the news to them, ensure that you give them your or your partner’s contact details (or both!) so they can get a hold of you if they have any queries throughout the building process. Although it might seem slightly over the top, neighbours are always friendlier when prewarned and given options!
Not only does it keep the relationship between you civil, but it also gives them time to make plans so they could stay somewhere else for the duration or arrange to park their park elsewhere so as not to get disturbed by the work at your house. Plus, it allows your neighbour to clear up any concerns they might have instead of having minor grievances escalate into major problems later.
Find Alternative Storage
Home improvement projects might be exciting, but they will turn your home into a building site for months, weeks, or days. And like all other building sites, it can be messy and even destructive/dangerous depending on the type of work you’re having done. Therefore, you want to protect your belongings (and yourselves!) from damage while the job is done.
Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with ample storage spaces such as attics, garages, or spare rooms in which we can keep all our belongings safe from harm. Depending on how long your project will take, you might be able to offload some of your belongings onto friends or family members – but they soon miss the space if your stuff is there for too long!
Fortunately, various options are available to homeowners without relying on friends/family for backup! Some of the most popular alternative storage methods are as follows:
- Removal Company with Storage Options – This option is the best if you’d like to keep the process simple since you’ll use the same company to move and store your belongings, which minimises your costs, avoids the passing of blame if something goes wrong, and more.
- Personal Storage – If you don’t want to use a removal company, two private storage options are available; container storage warehouses and self-storage units. Depending on which you opt for, self-storage units are the best option if you need frequent or out-of-hours access to your belongings. Container storage warehouses might be best if you don’t need regular access but still need your belongings out of your way.
Prepare to Live a Little Less Comfortably
Living amidst a mini-building site isn’t exactly a five-star experience. There will be dust, loads of tools lying around, dustsheets covering everything, bits of wiring hanging out of the wall, oh and did we mention lots of dust? Not only will you be forced to live in what seems like a never-ending state of disrepair, but you’ll also have to deal with a team of local builders traipsing in and out of your home each day.
However, you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that it’ll all be worth it when the building project is completed by taking little liberties to ensure that your experience isn’t like a bushtucker trail off ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here’! Fortunately, you can prepare yourself to live on-site in many ways, like buying earplugs to minimise some noise or stocking up on blankets to ensure that you keep warm despite the openings for the works.
Create a Temporary Kitchen
Following our last point, if you live on-site, you must create a temporary kitchen to fix yourself a cup of tea and a proper meal instead of relying on the microwave or the local takeaway every night! Whether it’s a stand-alone version from Ikea or you separate a part of your original kitchen while the rest is remodelled, get your local builder to set it up for you before the works get underway and it’s too late. You might also want to hold off putting all your kitchen equipment into storage, as appliances like kettles, slow cookers, mini-fridges, and toasters can be helpful.