OK, pre-warning, a slightly moany post coming up. If anyone has ever undertaken a large-scale renovation project where you need to bring in tradesmen to do the (very many) bits you can't do you know there will be hassle ahead. If you are about to do a big project, well, be pre-warned. You know how they always end up over schedule and over the budget on those Grand Designs and other building and renovating programmes... Well, it is because project management is a (you know what b-word)!
It can be tricky to get people in. Especially in the summer. Everyone wants to do their buildings and renovating in the summer as it is just less hassle with rain. Hence, tradesmen are incredibly busy. There are more jobs to do than doers.
However, as we all know, sometimes jobs get cancelled or shifted for whatever reason. So, very logically many tradesmen seek to say yes to as many projects as the can and then juggle them as they best can. Tricky situation is of course when you are trying to get tradesmen coming to your build in a logical manner, one after another, so you finish one job and then begin a new one.
What has happened to us in a few different occasion is that one set of tradesmen have been meant to finish something by a certain date, when the next set is coming in. For various reasons they haven't so we have had to shell out for a second show for the next tradesmen as they have been able to do only part of the job.
For example we had a delay with electrics, meaning plastering had to be postponed and done only in one room, which of course affects us later on as well as plaster needs to dry before painting... Another example we faced was a tradesman delaying a quote to us for weeks, and then (unfortunately) getting so ill he wasn't able to start the job at all.
It can also be slightly tricky to decide what to do and when. There are some specific things that need to be done in order. For example first electrics and plumbing, then plasterboarding, then plastering, then you need to wait for the plaster to dry properly. After that you can do second fitting of electrics (the plugs and switches etc.). Then paint, then flooring, then extra flourishes like skirting boards and dado rails and so on. When you start to talk about structural things it can get a bit more complicated as well. Every little delay at one stage adds to delays in the second stages, and when you have unexpected surprises, well, that adds even more delays.
It has been mostly my husband dealing with the trials and tribulations of project management, and the inevitable frustrations. There are a couple of tips I can give though.
Firstly, if you are staggering different tradesmen and need one set of them to finish something before the others, so make sure you remind the first set a few days earlier, and if needed give them another reminder two days before the deadline. Secondly, do try to build in buffers of a day or two between tradesmen - inevitably someone always gets ill or gets delayed or is stuck in traffic (you name it) so work gets delayed. Thirdly, structure what needs to be done and in what order on paper - much easier to keep that plan in mind and refer to it as you go along. You can always do changes to it later if needed.
Next week something less moany and a bit about our inspirations!
Do you have any experience with project managing a big renovation/building project?
Part 1 - Our new home
Part 2 - Surprises