Red Box Tips for Improving Your Home
You have probably decided at this stage to improve your own home rather than move and it is surprising what you can achieve with a little thought and ingenuity for a fraction of the overall cost of moving house. The following suggestions are a summary of our 15 years in the business, which you will almost certainly find helpful. Some might seem obvious but it’s surprising how often they are overlooked.
1) Explore what’s possible with a company like ours, preferably recommended,to find out what’s possible within your budget.
You may be surprised as to what can be achieved without needing an architect or planning permission.
2) Obtain a specification which is worded in a way that relates to your home and without hidden costs.
3) Agree a proposed timescale and how you may be affected.
4) Check company credentials and agree a payment plan.
5) Ask for references and possibly seeing a finished project.
6) Request a copy of the company’s insurance and expect around£2million Employers’ Liability and a minimum of £2million Public Liability insurance.
You might wish to consider Home Works Insurance Policy too.
7) Speak to neighbours before any planning application or party wall awards have started. Your neighbours may carry out similar works in the future, so demonstration of goodwill helps!
8) Receive written confirmation of any planning permissions and party wall awards.
9) Ensure that your chosen company introduces themselves to neighbours up front and provides them with a reliable point of contact and business card or leaflet.
10) Ensure that your company does tidy up properly at the end of each day including pavements.
11) Alert neighbours in advance of any particularly noisy work or deliveries.
12) Check your company’s guaranteesand also ensure that all appliance instruction manuals and other important documents are retained in your ‘House File’.
Here are some handy hints on the project management role which is often overlooked but vital.
Tempting though it may be to ‘project manage’ works in your own home we recommend that you engage the help of a professional and in the case of our company project management is included as standard and always has been. Good project management will not only help you with timing and the overview as per our Recommend Tips leaflet but also at least some of the following as well:
- Delivery arrangements for the larger ‘kerbside delivery only’ consignments
- Help with sourcing not only the main products but also all the support products, the absence of which at the right time can bring a project to an expensive standstill
- Liaison with third parties
- Communication with your neighbours
- Ensuring that insurance appropriate for your project is in place
- Being available when you may not be to address any issues as they arise
- Compatibility of different products, plans and integration
- Ensuring completion on time and within budget, including managing additional items both cost and time wise
Suggestion for quotes:
Colours: we’ve noticed during our last half dozen Fulham projects that clients are increasingly choosing neutral but not bland wall colours so as to provide an effective backdrop behind brighter furniture or wall art colours. One particular choice has been Ammonite for walls with oil based white eggshell or more refined Satinwood for woodwork.
Sliding pocket doors: these are more sophisticated than they used to be and can be really valuable way of designing in a space saving feature as they avoid the need for a swinging door. They are now more cost effective to fit and the mechanisms can hold a door that’s in keeping with the rest of the property, but instead of swinging open it can slide back discretely inside the wall. Great particularly for bathrooms.
Skylights: these can be great way of bringing in additional light into both a kitchen extension or top floor mansard or loft extension. The latest electronically controlled skylights sense rain for automatic closing and bring valuable other features. Skylights also provide useful access to the roof for cleaning and general maintenance whilst at the same time enhancing your home. There are a wider variety available now giving both a good choice of style and size.
Doorbells: whenever we install a new doorbell or door entry system we ensure that there is some audible indication to the caller at the front door that the bell is working. A bell near the front door really helps as the caller can heart the bell which discourages endless pushing of the button!.