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Top 5 tips for project managing your refurbs

Refurbishment stage - love it or hate it? I for one, love it. It throws up a certain set of challenges and it’s up to you to play the role of #solutionsprovider.

Don’t get me wrong, sometime it can be really challenging and will really test your patience and everything you have not to scream. But it’s all part and parcel of the job. We currently have 2 projects ongoing at the moment, 1 structural and 1 our bread and butter cosmetic turn around. Our structural project #projectegerton has thrown up so many spanners in the works from shared drains changing the entire size of our extension to neighbours trees causing significant damage being too close to the build which took 7 weeks to sort out trying to even contact the landlord for next door! Our cosmetic project #ASP14 had another set of issues. Completion delays has meant that we missed out initial window to start the project and our trade team have gone on to another project which meant we have 2 weeks where the property is sitting empty whilst waiting for the big build works to start. So how do we overcome issue like this? Here are my Top 5 Tips: Tip No. 1: If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail The more organised you are, the smoother the project will go. Everyone needs to know what you want so that they can plan their work accordingly. Having a detailed schedule of works will help everyone understand the critical path & time line as well as plan for most important tasks first. It will also help with planning with buying your materials to ensure there is enough lead time to get in time for fitting.

Tip No. 2: Hold a contingency “My projects always come in on budget and on time” - Said only the most organised person who had a big contingency fund.

Have a contingency in both time and funds! Why? Because some things you don’t know big the task is until you start rip out. Is there hidden mould / damp you didn’t account for? Has the shower tray turned out to be cracked and non standard? Was there things hidden in places you couldn’t even think was imaginable? Will there be a storm that comes in right at the end of your project just as you are about to paint the fences? Can your trades work 24/7 to make up for any lost time due to sickness, delays or adverse weather?

Unless you have every possible scenario accounted for - have a big contingency!

Tip 3: Mindset: Expect that things WILL go wrong There will be products that are delivered broken or better still - lost. There will be items not in stock. There will be delays somewhere along the line. There will be neighbours who will complain about noise (potentially). Expect problems - and eat them for breakfast! You as as developer are a solutions provider. Take hurdles under your wing and have a “how can we solve this?” attitude. Tip 4: Value vs Investment Will this deliver me a return on investment? Will putting in £90/m2 porcelain marble tiles deliver me more rent than £11/m2 ceramic tile which is easier to replace? Probably not A big mistake we made early on in our development careers is over capitalising, thinking renters would want ALL the creature comforts we want as home owners. At the end of the day, it needs to be comfortable, but it needs to be hard wearing and easy to maintain long term. Aim for every £1 you invest into materials - make sure it can net you more than a £1 in value! Tip 5: Your team is everything Without your team, you are nothing. Well, unless your aim is to do everything yourself. Eventually though, you are going to need some qualified trades people along the way and that includes a gas safe engineer and electrician to sign off on your certificates at the very least. Play to your strength and value your time. Ensure your trades are well looked after, communicated with and paid on time when they have done a good job. A good, reliable tradesmen is worth their weight in gold.

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