How to budget during home renovation projects

Before carrying out any home renovation or building work, it is worth doing some online homework to calculate how much value the proposed work will add to a property. Understanding the value of various improvements and renovations can create a useful framework to help set proposed budgets into a proper perspective.

Once an outline budget has been set, the next job should be to draw up some rough outline plans of the job. It is well worth doing this before engaging a professional architect for two reasons:

First of all, many local authorities are content to look at rough drawings and give an opinion on whether or not planning permission will be needed and whether or not it is likely to be granted. For example, planning law has changed in recent years and nowadays many conservatories and extensions no longer need planning permission. Finding this out in advance can save hundreds of pounds from not having to pay for unnecessary planning permission.

Secondly, drawing up rough plans provides an opportunity to consider any potential problems and alterations well ahead of time. Once an architect has been employed, changes to architectural plans can become expensive, so it is well worth ironing out some of the details in advance.

When the final plans and drawings have been agreed, it is time to determine what work needs to be outsourced and what work can be carried out on a DIY basis. In the majority of cases, the law requires that gas, plumbing and wiring are undertaken by properly qualified plumbers and electricians. Similarly, many people may not feel qualified to carry out any structural work.

However, areas that may be suitable for DIY could include internal joinery such as erecting stud walls, putting in joists and flooring, or hanging doors. A DIY approach can save several thousands of pounds because it will only involve personal time, and the cost of materials and tool hire.

Even more money can be saved by planning ahead. By assessing the materials necessary in advance, it is possible to make considerable savings through bulk buying.

In terms of the outsourced jobs, there is money to be saved by getting several estimates from various building companies. Take at least three estimates, more if time permits, making sure that the estimate covers guarantees, insurance and snagging work.

Ask trusted local acquaintances to recommend someone, or look around the neighbourhood for recent building projects and ask the homeowner for details. Many people are willing to give an honest assessment of building work they’ve had done; only approach reputable companies because there is no point in getting a job done cheaply only to have to pay for expensive remedial work later.

Daniel N is a UK-based blogger who writes on a wide-range of topics including DIY and home improvement. He is currently working on behalf of Hire Station, a leading tool hire firm.