Build It magazine recently asked Melanie Clear, Founder and Director of Clear Architects, for her top tips when you’re renovating your house on a budget. The article lays out a selection of ideas on how to keep a tight reign on funds. The pointers range from taking a DIY approach to the work, to shopping around for fixtures and fittings.
Finding the right builder
According to the article, it’s vital to get multiple quotes from contractors before choosing one firm for the job. Plus, it’s important to choose a builder who understands your vision for the project.
Melanie Clear says: “Before you go out to tender, make sure you have detailed plans and a clear scope of works. Then, ensure you offer exactly the same information to each contractor to get like-for-like quotes.”
DIY Project managing
The Build It article also suggests that taking on the role of project manager can be another smart way to keep a tight lid on cash expenditure. However, in the article Melanie advises that it is worth doing your homework about the extent of what it entails before deciding to take on the responsibilities involved in this role.
In the article she says: “Prior experience is ideal. You will need to educate yourself, too. Before you start, learn as much as you can about what the works will entail. The important part is to cost everything. Many renovations go wrong or run out of money because ballpark costs have been unrealistic, and the scale of works is greater than envisaged.”
While it can be tempting to take a DIY approach to work on site if you’re trying to save money, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew – especially when it comes to more specialist jobs.
Melanie says: “I’d strongly advise you not to take on plumbing, electrical or structural work yourself, unless you have qualifications in that area – no matter how straightforward it looks.”
Clear Architects have worked on numerous renovation, refurbishment and remodelling schemes, including Ducketts Mead. This project involved the expansion of the ground floor of this 1960s home, in addition to the reconfiguration of the upstairs layout.
Forest View is another example of stunning renovation and extension scheme by Clear Architects. The team came up with a design strategy to enlarge the ground floor of the house and create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor areas. As part of the works, the property was extended at first floor level to provide occupants with more living space.
To find out more about the various steps involved in the design phase of any project, visit our Process page.