1. Ask yourself - "What are the needs of each family member?"
You may be surprised by their answers.
From this you can make a list, noting any overlaps and creating priorities. You may be able to delete some items.
Start a folder or box file in which to collect articles, pictures and ideas.
2. Find a good architect - one who is experienced in designs like yours and who appears to understand your ideas.
Understand the final drawings. Walk them through as though it was a typical day in your life.
3. Finances and Insurances - allow at least 10 % of either the quoted or estimated price for overruns.
Typically, renovations attract extra items unforeseen in the scope of works. Whilst reputable builders carry Public Liability insurance, it is more streamlined to obtain your own Contract Works insurance. As this involves a reduction of your Home insurance, it is best done with your existing insurers. Certified Builders also offers the Home First Warranty.
4. Builder selection - are they qualified as well as Licensed? LBP's do not have to be Trade Qualified.
The application process requires them to be experienced to their level - Carpentry or Site 1, 2 or 3.
Do you feel that they actually take on board what you say? What recommendations are they willing to give? How much experience have they had in your particular type of renovation? What strategies do they have in place for managing the project, such as a Progress schedule?
5. Do an electrical plan room by room.
Electrical costs overrun by as much as 100% all too frequently. If possible, have the electrician with you as he will advise options for those 'behind the wall' costs.
Also plan storage room by room. This is often overlooked. Be specific about what is needed in each storage area.
6. Product selection - your builder is a huge resource regarding joinery, flooring, plumbing and more.
7. Know when to assemble fittings onto site. This helps in minimizing callback time of plumbers, electricians, tilers, painters. This should be detailed in the Progress Schedule.
8. Chart your progress - this helps you spread the load of decision making. Take photos so that you can remember what it was like 2 weeks ago. Photos can also assist with Council compliance.