Let’s say you are handy, or even more than that – you have worked on a couple of things around the house and managed to do a smashing job. But does that mean you are ready to take on the next big kitchen renovation? There are several points to consider while taking the decision. Construction and Installation are going to be two tasks to tackle, which will affect your budget as well. Determining early on whether to go DIY on the whole project or part of it will also depend on your skill sets, the time you have or the tools you posses. This decision will affect both the timeline & the budget of the project.
Most owners fall somewhere between the category of a new DIYer or a Pro. Most can tackle demolition, and painting and clean up, as a complete beginner. With more experience, tools and hands to work with (friends, families etc.) they can even do some installation work such as cabinets installations, but will let the professional carpenter to finish off their project.
Let’s look at some of the factors that will eventually shape the big decision of managing your own site or hiring a building site manager instead.
Scope of project
Some projects are easier to tackle than the others, and some cause major disruptions to your life. For instance, a bathroom renovation will cause a lot more inconvenience compared to that of study or the common room. Also there are some that possess potential health implications or can be life-threatening, such as mould removal, asbestos inspection, or rewiring the house. While there are plenty of videos online on how to identify asbestos, it is still recommended to rely on a professional to get the final word. Similarly, you may have fixed an appliance or two or even handled minor power lapses, but does that mean you risk your life as well as that of your family by undertaking an extensive home rewiring project? We would advise against it.
Now here are some points to consider:
– How big is the remodel? Is it a weekend, fortnightly or a monthly project, and how much will
the delay in these deadlines disrupt your life?
– Are we talking remodelling or retouching? Remodelling involves structural changes to a space.
For instance in a kitchen or a bathroom remodel, it would mean adding or breaking down walls,
redesigning the space, replacing main components such as cabinets, showers, wash basin etc.
Retouching would mean more aesthetic changes such as redoing the walls or moving around
the arrangement of the furniture or replacing faucets.
– Are permits involved? Planning permission for an extension or even some demolitions will
require considerable man hours in terms of reaching out to the permit issuers, the paperwork,
and the follow ups. Especially if you inhabit an older structure, the plumbing and the electrical
system can be super difficult for an inexperienced DIYer.
Mental Prep and Skill Assessment
Renovations can be overwhelming, and do-overs can cost a lot. Hence, it is important to access your ability and comfort in undertaking a project.
What level are you at?
If you are a beginner with no experience, tackle smaller tasks that can’t be too expensive to fix in case things go south. If you have some experience and have done multiple projects successfully, you can move on to slightly more complicated projects such as installation of cabinets, basic plumbing work, addition of walls etc. Leave the potentially lethal stuff to the experts.
Are you patient?
If you are someone who throws away the manual after the first two pages in frustration, then hiring a contractor is better for you. If you are someone who is not easily fazed and likes challenges, this could be a good learning experience.
Can you handle curveballs?
You never know what awaits you once the walls are broken down. There could be mould, infested floors, bad plumbing, etc. Do you think you can handle the situation? It is always wise to keep professional help by the side in case of emergencies.
Do you have the necessary tools?
A worker is nothing without his tools. Some renovation projects require some heavy duty and expensive tools. Even if they are inexpensive, they can be complicated to manoeuvre. You might find it beneficial to invest in a contractor or a professional rather than buying the tools. Although, there are some tool hiring services available that may be worth checkout.
Do you have the required space and the needed transport?
Building or remodelling projects often require heavy material and tools. Do you have the time to make frequent trips to pick up supplies? Once picked up do you have a cool and dry place to store them? If you don’t have both, going professional can help save time and headaches. If transport is an issue you can always hire delivery services as well.
Once you assessed your skill set and your likelihood to stay committed to the project let’s look at the timelines.
How will you manage to work on this project? Will take time off work or tackle it across several weekends, or do you work from home and will devote half your time to work and half of it to the project? What about delays due to material supply shortage and transport lags; does it make things dicey and put the work-life balance in jeopardy? Even if you hire a professional, make sure you set specific timelines for tasks. It is better to stock up on all the materials before they start working on your project.
Is there a specific deadline?
Do you want to finish the kitchen before Christmas or the guest room before your extended family arrives? If so, will you be able to meet this deadline and if not, can you handle the lapse and make other arrangements? If you go with a pro have this conversation well in advance to not have unwanted delays.
Are you ready to let the social life take a toll?
You may have to work long hours or entire weekends to keep up the pace of the project. Are you willing to let go of some social events in lieu for staying home and toiling over a kitchen counter or hunched under the house to fix the foundation? It’s quite a task; make sure you are mentally prepared to take it head on.
Lastly, the costs
If you hire a contractor you have to account for the labour as well. It is estimated it will be 40% over of what you would if you do it yourself. The best way is to find a midpoint. Do the prep work by yourself, and then call in the experts for the heavy lifting. Here are some tips on how to hire the right contractor so that you get the best possible outcome. Best of luck with your project!