5 Home Renovation Nightmares and How to Avoid Them

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Home Renovations Project Management System

5 Home Renovation Nightmares and How to Avoid Them

Recent research shows many people put it off renovating purely because of the risks of the project getting off track.

This article looks at the 5 top home renovation risks and how to stop them impacting your renovation. 


Nightmare 1: Project Delays

Home Renovations Risks‘Builder-side’ construction delays are typically caused by poor planning or the builder misjudging the required resourcing at specific stages throughout your home renovation.

In the past builders would sign a contract with a client then book the work into their diary with a note to arrange suppliers, noting down tasks they need to undertake throughout the project.

This approach is adequate for managing one project but few builders would survive only undertaking one job at a time. Hence, they need to take on other projects that run in parallel with yours. Sadly, that’s where the diary system fails.

Across several projects, the builder needs to manage competing tasks each requiring management of contractors, materials, client conversations/requirements, scheduled inspections, invoicing, variations, etc. They might try to manage this with phone calls (often while driving between job sites), emails when they get home at night or messages via one of their more reliable contractors, onsite.

If all this sounds a little hectic, that’s because it is. Tasks fall through the cracks, conversations are forgotten, and details are overlooked. It’s impossible to manage without a sound system.


Always check with your prospective builder/home renovator what software they would use to manage your project. Is it purpose built software for construction projects? Who in their company uses it? Can you see it in action for one of their other projects?

If they can’t illustrate this to you, the likelihood of delays for your renovation dramatically increases.


Nightmare 2: Grumpy builders and Contractors

You know the stereotype. Unfriendly, grumpy and unapproachable builders who just want to focus on the tasks at hand and avoid client contact.

Whilst you can understand they just want to get on with the job, they are working on your house, with your money and the renovation needs to suit your lifestyle.


The best approach is to look at how the builder communicates with you before you’ve engaged their services.

Are they communicative? Can you relate to them? Do their thought processes and logic make sense to you? How will they deal with disputes? Do they 'get' your vision?

Weigh these questions up as if you a have issues with a person before the project starts, you’ll struggle to keep things on track throughout the process.


Nightmare 3: Cost Blowouts

Home Renovations RisksCost increases are generally created by variations throughout the project. These variations can come from the client requesting a change in the scope of works or selections, or the builder discovering issues that were not obvious before demolition began.


The best way to manage this is to allocate some time and budget for adequate design and client support before the actual works commence. That way, your scope of works and product selections will be more mature and less likely to change. This should be done with a qualified and experienced designer.

In regards to builders’ discoveries at demolition phase, ask your builder to nominate any key risks and their potential costs. Ensure they’ve undertaken a complete and thorough inspection of the property to rule out any issues.See our home renovations costs calculator


Nightmare 4: Disputes Caused by Poor Communications

Without doubt, poor communications is the biggest hurdle builders and clients have to overcome.

We’ve already touched on the way phone calls, emails and messages with contractors create fertile ground for problems.


ALWAYS ask the builder to explain how they communicate throughout the project. If they don’t have the software to demonstrate to you for one of their current projects, walk away.


Nightmare 5: Messy/unsafe Work Practices in Your Home

Home Renovations RisksFor some reason many builders/contractors feel it’s OK to leave their worksite (your home) in a messy state overnight or when they’re not onsite.

Waste should be neatly stacked in a pick-up point and worksites should be tidied on a daily basis.


Make sure you ask your builder what the procedure is at the end of the day to make things tidy and your home doesn't become a bomb site.

By addressing these top 5 risks, you will dramatically improve your renovation result. For more information call 1300 768 464.



Richard Armstrong

About The Author - Richard Armstrong is a Director of Melbourne firm, The Makeover Group specialising in adding value to homes through renovation. He’s undertaken innovative post graduate property valuation research to identify what enhancements add the most value to homes in specific Melbourne suburbs. Educated in design and property valuation, he is also a Registered Building Practitioner.

To discuss your renovation visit www.themakeovergroup.com.au or call 1300 768 464.