Your 5 step guide to home renovation

A simple step-by-step guide to home renovation for beginners from a professional

1 – Start with why

This mantra can be applied to almost any area of life. We find it especially useful when investigating and preparing for a project. It’s a deceptively simple starting point, but its pointedness gives good designers the freedom to think around the problems your trying to solve. Stating you simply want a loft conversion is nowhere near as useful for a designer as stating you’ve got a baby on the way and you’re looking to create a second bedroom. Just this simple additional piece of information enables Architects to think about the knock on effects this will have on your house; and how we can integrate alternative layouts to suite your new home environment. So remember, don’t just think about what, but ask yourself why!

2 – Planning approval

Once you have a design you’re happy with, you will have to apply for planning permission. Planning permission is the legal process of determining whether proposed developments should be permitted. In 90% of home remodelling cases seeking planning permission approval from your local authority is very straightforward. It’s a 3-4 month process concerning how a new proposal will affect the neighbouring area (materials, volumes, heights, overlooking, shadows and so forth). There are various types of planning applications depending on the proposals scale; and certain areas and buildings have different rules for obtaining approval. You will need to speak with your Architect to find out what’s required for your project. When approval is received the local authority will provide you with conditions of approval which will have to be met when delivering the project.

3 – Building regulations

According to Planning portal, the Building regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building. The regulations are developed by the UK government and approved by Parliament. They are there to ensure our built-environment is functional and safe to inhabit and stop disasters like Grenfell tower happening again. Accordingly, at some point in your home renovation project you will have to seek building regulations approval from either the local authority or an approved inspector either before you start work or whilst it’s going on. Your Architect will help guide you through this process. The process can take 4-6 weeks for creating and coordinating the drawings with relevant consultants like structural engineers and drainage surveyors.

4 – Construction

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of anyone’s project is construction. The industry is rife with horror stories or projects going over budget and time. So understandably most people have their guard up. The trick here is taking your time to pull together enough of the right information to get 3-5 solid tenders back from potential contractors. You do not need to go overboard with the information, but at the very least we would always recommend creating a set of planning drawings, detailed building regulations drawings, a scope of works and an electrics / lighting plan. With this information, you should scare off any potential sharks and get accurate quotes from reputable contractors. Your construction project will take anywhere from 3-9 months depending on its complexity and the nature of any unforeseen issues on-site.

5 – Fit-out

The final month of your construction project is when the building will really come to life and you can start preparing for it to be lived in. All the walls are plastered, the electrics, plumbing and heating is ready for all the cosmetic finishes to be added. At this point your kitchen, bathroom and carpentry suppliers will go to work, installing all the finishes to make the house beautiful. As this is going on, you should start arranging your furniture. Speak with your contractor about the completion date, which will likely have moved from the originally agreed date; and go to work. This process will take about a month or two.
Congratulations, you’ve just completed your home renovation and it’s beautiful! For more information about other aspects of your home renovation project read our online magazine here: