How to Cost Renovation Projects

publication date: Jun 13, 2009
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

How to Cost Renovation Projects

All renovation projects have to be carefully budgeted for, otherwise labour and material costs will quickly spiral out of control and your project may even never get finished. So it’s essential to ensure you know how to cost renovation and home improvements so that your changes are successful from start to finish.

First, you should write down and draw a plan of the area where you want to make the changes – and do this all before you ask a builder or other tradesmen to quote for the work. Make a note of key items such as the location of the fuse box and stopcock. Also note on the plan where windows, heating, doors, electrical sockets, lights and pipes are.

Secondly, set up a budget template sheet, either on a computer or just on paper – but do write it down.  Make sure you list all the materials you know you’ll need as well as likely labour costs (see our Renovation Costs FAQs).

Once you have your list, check out the costs of everything with every tradesperson you ask to quote, but also so that you can check how much materials would cost you if you bought them yourself. Don’t just go to local DIY stores, visit and talk to the local builders or plumbers merchants too and go on-line.

Then keep a master list of each job eg electrics, extension, plumbing etc and then break down the costs by materials and labour. This way you can pick and choose which tradesperson you want to do which job, depending on their price and how sure you are that they can carry out a quality job.


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