Let’s be honest – no one likes life admin. But keeping records of your project is not just useful but vital.
Whether your project involves the smallest room or the entire house, the first rule is: be organised and keep records. Once you have created a realistic timescale for your project, you’ll need to monitor the budget and keep a close check on designers, builders, subcontractors and a whole host of other factors. But where do you begin?
If you are employing a designer or project manager, they will have their own method of monitoring the job. But make sure you keep a record, too. Save all legal documents, contracts, notes, invoices and receipts, so that there is a hard copy of everything should there be any dispute.
You will accumulate paperwork and, if you allow the admin to pile up, it can feel overwhelming. So, deal with it in small, manageable chunks as you go along and set aside time to look through things each week. Everything from legal documentation and contracts to the details of designers should be filed meticulously. This ensures a smooth journey right up until the project is signed off.
Keeping up with your project’s records
Software that allows multiple people to contribute is often ideal to help you keep track because your designer or architect can review and change the document day by day.
File-sharing apps, such as Google or Microsoft, mean everyone involved can share documents and communicate in real time. Or you could use email or a group chat on WhatsApp. It makes it easy to pull up files and images when a query needs to be dealt with straight away.
During the project, you will have questions, as will your contractors, and you’ll make decisions verbally. However, it is advisable to put any changes or queries in a written format. It can stop any issues further down the line. This might feel time-consuming, but, ironically, it might save you some time in the long run.
“Written evidence is extremely valuable, therefore, it is advisable to communicate change requests or file complaints in written form,” suggests Marie Dwyer, customer experience manager at QASSS.
In addition, a photographic record can be vital. Saving images of the work is useful because you can see your home take shape, but it also acts as a timeline of its progress. “Photographic evidence is essential throughout the life cycle of a project,” adds Marie. “Take pictures of the site before work begins, throughout each stage of the project and after completion. So you have an entire timeline of the works on record – and share these with the contractor.”
Why should you keep records of your renovation?
Don’t just focus on the here and now, but think about the future. Details of renovations can benefit warranties or evaluations if you come to sell the house.
“When selling your home, information regarding renovations can be useful. Be it for estate agents, inspectors and potential buyers who will want to evaluate the quality of the work and the results,” advises Tabitha Cumming, a property expert and the founder of The Lease Extension Company. “Stating who made your kitchen and when it was installed could increase the value of your house.”
To make the process feel easier, Samuel Brealey, a designer at fitted furniture company Neville Johnson says: “Keeping a record of how the design has developed over time can remind you of why you started the journey in the first place. It can help you to keep sight of how you’d like the finished project to work, both practically and aesthetically. Often, the more we consider a space during the design process, the more we are able to make each and every part of that design work well within the project.”
So, if every conversation, change or addition is recorded, the path to creating your dream home should be smooth.