So you have made the big move and traded in the rental digs for a place to call your own - you can’t change the location but you sure can make changes inside your unit to make it truly yours. Renovations can be costly and stressful if approached incorrectly. This article reveals five crucial steps you need to take to make your renovation a true success story.
STEP 1: AREAS OF LIKE AND DISLIKE
They say that to fail to plan is a plan to fail. Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your home in its current state. Note the things that do not work for you and note the things that you absolutely must get from the renovation. It helps to distinguish between the must haves and likes. You can always include as many likes as you want in your renovation, but some of them might have to be later excluded when making your budget. Yes, we said the word budget. You should know how much you want and can afford to spend on this renovation. Always leave room for contingencies that might come up during the renovation process.
With both the list and a good understanding of your budget, you can finally start the search for a contractor and a designer. Talk to friends and family members who may have done renovations in the past and get their references and suggestions. Engage an HDB Registered Renovation Contractor (RRC) from the list provided on http://goo.gl/LQ3B3 . Discuss your list of changes and your budget limitations with your contractor and your designer. You should also make sure that their deadlines fit yours and that their availability fits your daily schedule.
STEP 2: NOW YOU GOT THE GRITTY RESEARCH DONE. WHAT'S NEXT?
At this point you should have picked a contractor and a designer. With your team in place, it is time to draw up floor plans. The floor plan will act as the ‘map’ to your renovation project and is a scaled drawing of where everything will be. It is essentially an overhead view of the room that shows the room as if you were looking down at it from the ceiling. It indicates where everything is to be positioned and will help ensure that the designer, the contractor and the tradespeople all interpret your wishes correctly. A good floor plan is extremely important because you want to make sure that you take full advantage of every inch of space you have.
As the plans are drawn up and details are confirmed, it is vital to get everything in writing (also follow up those crucial verbal communication with e-mails. Include as many details as possible as this will aid you in the future should problem arise.
STEP 3: ELEVATIONS – WHEN DO YOU NEED ONE?
An elevation drawing is great for making sure there is balance and continuity of heights in the room, making sure the final result will be spectacular.
It is a flat representation that shows where everything (such as cabinetry, lighting fixtures, and bulkhead details) will be on the wall and will provide the contractor and his tradespeople with exact specifications and vertical dimensions. This can be very important when you don’t have a lot of height in your space.
If you are on a tight budget, save some money by taking advantage of the free drawing services often offered by cabinetry companies. Just make sure to have your designer review the drawings - the cabinet makers only focus on their portion of the job, while the designer sees the big picture and how it affects the other areas of your home.
Step 4: THE FUN PART – MATERIALS
Selecting materials is everyone’s favorite part. This is where you truly personalize your space. Different types of materials give different texture, ambience and patterns. Trust your designer's judgment, but practice some caution in the budgetary department. Keep track on materials cost and double that cost to include labor and surprise site conditions. Splurge on main areas, and save on areas that are less noticeable or less important to you.
STEP 5: KNOCK DOWN THE WALLS!
At this point you will submit all your plans and specifications to the contractor. Have them review your plans and go over any questions they may have. Going over your plans with them will help them better understand your vision; which in turn will make the renovation process go smoother and will result in less stress for everyone involved.
Prepare yourself to see your home turn into a construction site for a while. You should be touching base with your contractor every once in a while to make sure the work is progressing well.
It is important that your contractor engages certified workers and obtains all the necessary approvals. Some types of renovations will require the HDB’s approval, while others may be forbidden outright if they endanger the buildings structural integrity.