Carrying out substantial remodelling or home makeovers to your house can be either an enjoyable and stimulating experience or a nightmare. If you plan each step carefully before you begin work, you are more likely to make real improvements that will benefit your family and add to the value of your property. On the other hand, if you makeover or buy a property to remodel that is unsuitable for your needs you could waste time and money.
Remodelling or making over a house or flat is an exciting event- when you find one that seems to be what you’ve been searching for, it can be a heady moment and it’s easy to get carried away and fail to check the essentials. Whether it is your existing home or a property you plan to purchase initial assessments and impressions can be misleading and the shortcomings of what seemed to be your dream home may only begin to emerge after you have moved in.
Consequently, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a check list of salient points when looking at a prospective house, so you are less likely to discover later that it’s going to cost a great deal to bring the building up to the required standard.
In some ways, assessing the potential of your present home can be even more difficult. Everything fits like an old glove, and it’s hard to be objective about possible makeovers and improvements. Try to step back and take a fresh look at it by using the same sort of check list you would use when considering the purchase of a new house.
- Structural condition. Before you decide to buy a house or flat (or makeover your existing property), the building should be inspected by a professional surveyor to make sure it is structurally sound – but make some spot checks yourself before spending money on a survey. A pair of binoculars will help you inspect the building from ground level.
- Look for cracks in walls, both inside and out. Cracked plaster may simply be the result of shrinkage, but if the fault is visible on the outside it may indicate deformation of the foundations.
- Inspect chimney stacks for faults. A loose stack could cause considerable damage if it were to collapse.
- Check the condition of the roof. A few loose slates can be repaired easily, but if a whole section appears to be misplaced that could mean a new roof.
Ask if the house has been inspected or treated for rot or insect infestation. If so, is there a guarantee? Don’t rely upon your own inspection – but if the skirting boards look distorted or a floor feels unduly springy, expect trouble.
- Look for signs of damp. In hot weather the worst effects may have disappeared, but stained wallpaper or even poor pointing of the brickwork should make you suspicious. Your best painting efforts could easily be ruined as damp begins to show again in the Winter.
Ask what form of insulation, if any, has been installed. Try to establish the level of insulation in the walls, roof and External-wall insulation should carry a guarantee. Study your surveyor’s report to check that the insulation is adequate by current standards.
Home Information Packs supplied to potential buyers should contain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This will give a guide to the energy efficiency of the house or flat you are considering, rating it from A to G – excellent to poor, the level of insulation being one of the most important factors. Currently this assessment is aimed primarily at newly built homes, but there is a possibility that the scheme will be extended to cover older properties.
As well as thermal insulation, consider the acoustic properties of the new home you are buying. Is noise travelling through walls or floors from adjacent properties likely to be a problem?
Is the house decorated to a sufficiently high standard inside and out, both to protect the structure and enhance the appearance of the building?
The decorative condition of the house may be reflected in the price, but the chances are you will be expected to pay the same whether the work is up to a good professional standard or shoddily applied. It is up to you to point out the difference to the vendor.
Make up your own mind whether ‘improvements have been carried out tastefully. Ask yourself if you’re happy to live in a house where the original doors and windows have been replaced with alternatives at odds with the style of the architecture. The advantages sometimes claimed for certain types of stone cladding are very dubious and stripping painted brickwork can be both time-consuming and costly. The neighbouring houses will probably give you an idea of the original appearance of the one you are considering.
Construction work usually requires Building Regulations approval, and possibly also planning permission from the local authority. Ask to see relevant documents relating to any approvals for Building Regulations and planning permission.
Understanding what you want
Before going ahead with a house makeover or remodelling project you need to really understand what you want and potentially need. Yes, we are sure that this part of your house is starting to look a little shabby, or that wall just has felt like it was in the wrong place since you moved in.. But start to make plans, right them down, be sure that you know what you want in terms of function and look and write it down. The first stage is to get inspired.
The internet is one of the most useful sources of information – as you know, you are reading this post. But instead of running out and buying lots of expensive (although inspirational) home magazines, try referencing their online counterparts, searching for online articles that are relevant to your plans. A list of useful websites where you can get inspiration are listed below:
A visit to an interior-design exhibition is essential if you are considering a new home, makeover, extension or substantial alterations. Most of the major manufacturers materials, design products and services are present at these exhibitions and are anxious to sell their products to home owners. At the bigger exhibitions, you may have the opportunity to visit a number or show house, where you can make notes of design features, colours or finishes.
Measuring a Room
If you think you might want to change the shape of a room or suspect there may be a problem with fitting certain items of furniture into it, measure the floor area and ceiling height, so that you can make a scale drawing later to clarify your thoughts.
Jot down the main dimensions, not forgetting chimney breasts, alcoves, and so on. Make a note of which way the doors swing: and the positions of windows, radiators, electrical sockets and fixed furniture. Later, transfer the measurements and details to graph paper, drawing them to scale.
Having drawn your plan of the room, cut pieces of paper to represent your furniture, using the same scale, and rearrange them until you find a satisfactory solution.
Here’s a list of some of the professional services that you may need when considering a major remodelling or makeover project.
Architects: If you are planning an ambitious remodelling project, especially the ones that will involve major structural alterations or extensions, you should consult an architect. Architects are trained to design buildings or interiors that are not only structurally sound but aesthetically pleasing.
Quantity Surveyors: A quantity surveyor (QS) advises you on building costs and savings through the construction stage of the project.
Party-wall surveyor: You are likely to need the services of a party-wall surveyor if your proposed extension will come close to a boundary, especially when there is another building nearby.
Structural Engineer: A structural engineer is responsible for the design of the structural elements of buildings, extensions and major alterations.
Builders: Builders will help you to complete some structural works such as knocking down and rebuilding walls, remodelling rooms, general building and repair.
Electricians and Plumbers: Always look for qualified electricians and plumbers (Contact Colchester Castle Electrician).
Painters and Decorators: The finishing of a project can take time and patience. If you are a dab hand with a paintbrush feel free to take on the project. But for a professional and fast finish consider choosing a painter and decorator to finish up the job.
To finish up this piece we wanted to make you aware of the your house or homes building regulations. Even when planning permissions are not required, most building works, including alterations to existing structures, are subject to minimum standards of construction to safeguard public health and safety.
Building standards are enforced by your local Building Control Officer (BCO), who is usually under the control of the local planning authority, although this varies from area to area. There are also approved independent inspectors who do the same job as Building Control Officers but are not employees of the local authority. If you think that your project might come under the remit of a BCO make sure that you run your project by them to check ahead of starting any works.
If you are planning to makeover your home or planning on remodelling your house make sure to check that your home or the house or flat that you are looking to buy is suitable for the project at hand. Follow our handy checklist to make sure that your project won’t run into any difficulties. Get inspired by visiting online home magazines and visiting exhibitions. Make sure that you do not need planning permission and that your work is carried out by professionals.
We hope that you have enjoyed our guide. If you have a project in mind that will involve any kind of electrical work we would love to hear from you. At Colchester Castle Electrician we help customers in the Colchester area create stunning projects come to life. From adding the perfect complimentary lighting schemes to adding high-tech, audio-visual equipment to your man cave or living room we can help you make your home your castle.
If you would like to discuss your next project, why not get in touch with Colchester Castle Electrician on 01206 700769. Thanks for reading.