Because it is the best way to minimise hiccups and complications during a renovation, you’ve spent several months doing the legwork, researching, and planning.

You’ve also by now decided whether you need an architect or a building designer and you’ve probably chosen a licenced builder.

You’ve set your detailed budget and its limit, although quite likely after a stringent process of elimination. You know that it is important to be aware of your financial risk and that every future decision related to this renovation project will probably come down to the budget. You have sufficiently researched costs to understand that the so-called little things, like paint, door furniture, flooring, etc soon add up. But you also appreciate that very often budget limitations and challenges can create extraordinary inventiveness and exciting alternative outcomes.

And hopefully by now you are so familiar with the intended finished product that your renovation is no longer just a set of drawings but an exciting, living, breathing thing!

Despite my love for renovating, I always recommend to clients not to live on site during the renovation, if that’s possible. Apart from avoiding the day to day frustration of submitting yourself to life within a construction zone, leaving the site unobstructed by your living requirements will enable a far more time efficient and cost efficient approach to the construction schedule. Of course in many cases, this is not an affordable option for you, however, do bear in mind that staying during the renovation will probably increase the price to some extent. But, if you have no choice, it will be critical to communicate and agree with your builder a feasible building schedule that will still enable you to function on a day to day basis within the home without adding more than is absolutely necessary to the cost.

Be as familiar yourself with the building schedule as you would expect your builder to be, and be diligent in keeping up with progress. Your builder will be responsible for managing the project, but it is in your interest to closely oversee progress and to carefully keep an eye on the important details of fixtures and finishes. Time is money. Understanding exactly how the schedule is tracking will facilitate staying within the budget and may even save some of your precious dollars.

Regularly communicate with your builder and trades to ensure they are building the home of your dreams. Also be aware that not all problems can be avoided, as some may not pop up until the trades are working in situ. Importantly, assuming the project is tracking satisfactorily and you are therefore pleased with the interim results, it is very smart practice to pay your builder and/or trades on time and in full. This helps to build the much needed trust between you and your supplier and will definitely make it easier to negotiate your way through any unexpected glitches or delays along the way.

Make sure you surround yourself with trusted independent people to whom you can refer for advice or confirmation as needed. Have faith in the process and have faith in all your diligent preliminary work and efforts.


It’s all finished, the builders have gone, the furniture is in and your new home is yours to love and enjoy.
But what about that BBQ roof that should have been planned at 100mm wider? Can you live with the tiles you had to compromise on because the ones you really loved were discontinued? How could you have missed that you should have installed a couple of extra power points? Why didn’t you separate the second toilet from the main bathroom? Is the outdoor dining area really big enough? Do you really like the paint colour you spent hours agonising over? And the list goes on, how could you have missed these things?

Well, guess what? You are quite normal. Hindsight is a great thing, but it does come after the event! I can honestly say that, with all my renovating experience, I cannot name a single house that I have renovated that I believe was absolutely perfect when completed. There are always some things that just niggle!

Unfortunately part of doing the job well requires such a high level of research, planning and involvement from day one that inevitably there are some small disappointments. The good news is that everyone else, perhaps apart from you, sees perfection and that’s because you did do the legwork and you were so intimately involved with the process.

So let it go. Nobody is perfect. No single renovation project is perfect.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing fruits of your labour.