Home renovations - What are the first steps?

Quintrix

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Dec 1, 2009
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When decisiding to do home renovations, what are the first steps?
Do you have a clear idea of what you want or is it acceptable approach a contracor to give you ideas? I would expect the contractor to provide solutions but is it ok to ask for suggestions?

Example :wanting to convert separate dining and living area to larger open area with fireplace. Where/how to reconfigure space with possible new entrance.

Remember this is almost the pre-quote phase so there is no financial gain for the contractor at this stage
 

WAslayer

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May 13, 2011
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Remember this is almost the pre-quote phase so there is no financial gain for the contractor at this stage

Yeah, but they are more than likely to be biased on their suggestions to squeeze more money out of you, whether or not you accept their quote.. not all but, most of them anyway..

Anytime you are removing a wall, you would need a structural engineer to make sure that another plan can be made to ensure the structure remains sound, if it's a load bearing wall.. they may have some valuable input and you are paying them for the consultation and possibly for their planning of whatever changes are to be made to keep everything structurally sound..

If you want input and advise without having a clear idea of your own, best approach an architect..
 

Wide

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Apr 17, 2013
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Perfect for the contractor to give you ideas, although they may be biased towards maximising profit, and they may charge extra if you change your mind too many times.
Get involved from the start. Always a good idea to get a second contractor for a quote and bounce the final plan off him/her. Also IMO the second contractor or an independent project manager could be appointed to verify the contractors works prior to sign off.
Try and scope the work as comprehensive as possible. Scope creep, changes/amendments can cost you a lot. make sure the scope includes everything including good quality material, rubble removal, time frame clauses etc
 

The_MAC

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Get an architect, there are regulations to consider, and you will have plans updated in the process, they also usually have good suggestions.

Then get many quotes based on the plans together with your interior requirements.
 

jezzad

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We got hold of someone to do designs for our new kitchen and outside area. This included suggestions on layout and a 3D rendering. Cost was about R2500 (Cape Town)

She was then supposed to project manage the build for us but hurt her shoulder so we got a new builder in.

You also need to remember that if you are thinking about knocking any walls down you need to check they aren’t load bearing which is where an architect comes in.

So as a start I would get a designer in to take measurements and come up with ideas.
 

ToxicBunny

Oi! Leave me out of this...
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97,805
When decisiding to do home renovations, what are the first steps?
Do you have a clear idea of what you want or is it acceptable approach a contracor to give you ideas? I would expect the contractor to provide solutions but is it ok to ask for suggestions?

Example :wanting to convert separate dining and living area to larger open area with fireplace. Where/how to reconfigure space with possible new entrance.

Remember this is almost the pre-quote phase so there is no financial gain for the contractor at this stage

Personally the way I approach these things is to have my own idea of what I want/need since I am the person who lives in the space and knows how it flows/works and what I want to change to make it better. I'm open to suggestions from a contractor in terms of the best/most cost effective way to achieve it but I wouldn't want a contractor making suggestions from the ground up without knowing how the space works on a day to day basis. Also my experience of contractors is that they are not great at things like that. If you want a suggestion on how to physically achieve something then yeah, but not on conceptual things like how a space should be laid out.

I would rather take direction from an architect on things like layout/flow of a space than a contractor if I was a bit blind as to what would be the best thing to do.
 

maumau

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Aug 13, 2009
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Agree it's better to have an idea of what you want and work with a professional to tweak your design.

When we planned our new kitchen downlights were installed in all the top cupboards. The designer was DESPERATE to put opaque glass fronts on them so he could take pics for his portfolio????? Nevermind how dreadful they would've looked with different sized and coloured plates, cups and various kitchen clutter inside them. He was a little miffed when I refused.

We also have a 45 degree angled corner, about 1m long across the front. The same designer pushed to fit the oven and hob there. From my point of view I would have been facing a blank wall while cooking with a glorious sunny window behind my back - how dingy would that be? No thank you.

So yes, his ideas would have looked good in any showroom but they weren't practical.

Anyway what I'm saying is think and rethink before you build.

Ask other people, post pics here

 

The_Traveller

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Aug 9, 2008
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What exactly do you want to do ?

If it's breaking walls down and building then you'll need an architect and get plans passed.

I am busy renovating but I knew exactly what I wanted to do in terms of what rooms I want converted (kitchen to dining room etc.) but the designs etc. I got an interior designer working with the kitchen studio to draw up some designs.

If you retiling certain places then the tile supplier should be designing the room for you at no charge.

You don't necessarily need an interior designer at all. Most suppliers of material will help you.
 

rodga

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10,278
If you want to compare quotes between builders you need to provide them with the same information to quote on. Ie. A set of plans and specifications.
 

SaucePlz

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Aug 11, 2020
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Yeah, if you don't have some idea of what you want, it might be best to get someone and work with them to settle on a design.
I have used RoomSketcher in the past, mostly to help with layout and see if all the things will fit where I want them. For more realistic previews, I use Maya, but that is way beyond any effort anyone should put into it, I just happen to know and like using it.
Build what you want then go to an architect and have them make your design realistic and compliant. They should then also be able to give you renders of what it would look like before construction commences.
 

SAguy

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Nov 4, 2013
Messages
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Step 1: Become cynical and expect that every single person that comes to your house to do work is going to lie, cheat and not give a shìt about you.

Have learnt the hard way that the number 1 skill for builders and home improvement guys isn't technical skills, but being world class bullshìtters.

That includes those who are in the building industry and on this forum, a fact which is costing me thousands right now.
 
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