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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

7 Common Renovation Mistakes

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Amidst the enthusiasm and eagerness to renovate the flat into their dream homes, I would like to sound a note of warning to all home owners the 7 common renovation mistakes:

1. Insufficient and Poor Planing
Like any projects, having a sound plan plays a crucial role of ensuring success of your renovation. Ask yourself what will constitute a successful renovation? Most of the time, the end goals are multi-faceted. They could be:

a) Within budget
b) Within stipulated time
c) Practical
d) Visually appealing

Plan your renovation project such that it will not clash with your work commitments. This is to make sure that you will be available to attend to any renovation needs should any issues arises. You should also plan for contingencies as well (i.e. when the budget falls short, when the time-line is unexpectedly delayed etc).

2. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
Most people underestimate the cost for a decent renovation. Unexpected things happen, expenses piled up and blow your budget. In addition, areas which make up the renovation budget are as follows:

a) Renovation of the flat
b) Electrical works and lightings
c) Furniture and electrical appliances
d) Furnishing such as curtains etc

Hence, a + b + c + d = Actual Cost of Renovation

My advice is to inform your Contractor/ID only 80% of what you can afford for part (a). For instance, if your budget is 50k, tell your Contractor/ID that you only have 40k to spare Work with them what are the needs and wants of your renovation with that amount. Remember, 10k is your buffer for any unexpected expenses. Trust me, this trick always works! :)

3. Leaving everything to the Contractor/ID
Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving everything to their Contractor/ID; why? This is because they have assumed that the Contractor/ID should know what they want and will ensure that everything is in order.

However, the hard truth is that contractors/IDs run and handle multiple projects - yours included. Thus, they might miss out something. Hence, you should always keep track of how they are doing; by doing sites visits weekly and keeping a constant communication with them to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

In addition, you should keep tab of their progress to ensure that the renovation is on schedule. I believe that BOTH parties play a role in making the project work. Keeping a close tabs also means that you can also keep on eye on your budget and document down all the changes made during the course of renovation so that there will be no dispute later on.

4. Ignoring the fact that Your Lifestyle DO play an Important Role in Renovation
Most homeowners like to adopt popular themes for their design; but they did that without thinking through how exactly their lifestyle will fit in the chosen theme.

Take for instance, when the minimalist style is chosen, a couple will have to forgo alot of things when they move in. In the beginning, this shouldn't pose much of a problem. However over time,they might realized that they have allocated insufficient storage spaces to maintain their minimalistic look. This usually happens when the couple does not have the habit of buying only what they really need.

Other area that is frequently neglected is the lighting effects. As lighting effects can easily transform the feeling and ambiance of a home, most couples play lot of special attention in creating cozy atmosphere in their living room and dining corner. However, if they have the habit of reading in living room, the cozy lighting is hardly conducive and impractical to upkeep. Hence, you should consider 3 kinds of lighting in your renovation: general lighting, task lighting and drama or accent lighting. A combination of these 3 different kinds of lighting have to be included in your renovation plan.

5. Selecting the Hottest and most Trendy themes
Most wanted the latest hottest, coolest designs for their homes, however they forgot that this usually means that it is a passing fab - and ultimately such design will become passé. I always believe in timeless classic design; and that a truly great design should allow you to configure your home into as many styles as you like.

This is because as time passes, our interior living needs changes. Aged parents might moved in, new kids might be on the way or it could be that we might simply have gotten tired of the current design. For example, you might find modern complementary style too stifling and would prefer the rustic resort laid-back design more relaxing after a hard day's work.

Therefore, a good design should allow us to adopt a new theme, a fresh style easily . This should be effortlessly achieved by updating the wall colors, changing your furniture and also replacing soft furnishing like curtains.

Hence, it is advisable not to include too many fixtures in your renovation. For example, a lot of "curvy" (sorry for the lack of more appropriate words) doorways, false ceiling and other quirky fixtures are a must to achieve that Retro avant-garde look.....however be ready to be stuck with that design for many years...

6. Ignoring Details and Neglect Areas that needs REAL Attention.
Often, homeowners are so caught up with the overall design that they forget about the details such as the power points and where the lights should be located. One way to overcome this is to "dry run" and pretend that you have just stepped into the house after work, where is the first place you would reach for the lights? Which room you would venture into first? etc

If you spend a lot of your time in a particular area, be sure to allow sufficient time planning how that area should be designed so that you can work in the most efficient manner. Remember to be realistic and think whether there is enough storage space for all your needs. Nothing is worse than having a nice looking place that is flawed by the fact that it has insufficient storage area. Remember to plan your future storage needs too.

7. Not going Green with Electrical Appliances
You should ensure that the most commonly used appliances ( i.e. Dishwasher, TV, Fridge, Air cons etc has the green energy efficient label. This is ecause by using energy saving appliances, you can cut down your annual electrical bills by quite a decent sum. Its more earth friendly too.

Look for NCCC for the list of the labeled appliances available in Singapore. Tips are also available on how you can save the earth and ultimately, save money too.

Let's work together to make the world a better place to live in..and build a sustainable future for our next generation. :)

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