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Carrying out a home renovation project in 2020

If your renovation requires planning permission, you will need to make an application to the county council. The planning process typically takes three months in total. After two months, you'll receive a decision from the planners, followed by the final grant one month later. However, the planners may request additional information, extending this timeline.

Is a home renovation project on your list of New Year’s resolutions? In this post we’ll  share our top tips for planning a home renovation or extension in 2020. We’ll discuss how the regulations have changed and what that means for you. Here’s what you need to know to set yourself up for success.

NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Building): What does it mean for me?

From 1st November 2019, anyone building a new home, or carrying out substantial home renovation to an existing house, will have to comply with new regulations aimed at improving our homes energy efficiency.

For existing homes, substantial or major renovation is typically activated under the following circumstances, where the work affects greater than 25% surface area or ‘envelope’ of the existing house. The ‘envelope’ being the combined area of every surface of the house, i.e. external walls, windows, doors, ground floor, and roof:

  • External wall renovation, external or internal insulation.
  • External wall & window renovation.
  • External wall & roof renovation.
  • External wall & floor renovation.
  • New extension.

Under the new regulations, homeowners must bring the entire property up to to a B2 BER rating.  If you are planning on renovating, the first thing you should do is get a BER done to find out what your home’s current BER rating is. Bear in mind that homes with a BER of D1 or less face increased renovation costs as it is likely that the work you will need to do to improve the comfort of your home will require refurbishing over 25% of the envelope.

Savings, quality & speed

Make sure you have a plan

Never start a home renovation project or extension project without a watertight plan. Improving or updating one area of your home is going to highlight other areas that need work, so proper planning is essential. This is actually one of the most commonly mad mistakes by people when renovating a house.. 

Without a plan, you risk starting a snowball effect of work needing to be done. Separate works are unlikely to compliment each other, you’ll waste money and won’t be adding value to your home. All this will have a negative effect your day to day life, and you’ll end up worse off than before you started.


Budget wisely

It’s really important that you set a realistic budget and that you are prepared to make trade-offs along the way. Its very easy to get carried away and try to include everything on your wishlist but you could find yourself in trouble very quickly. It’s really important to keep the budget to the front of your mind when making decisions.

Once you have a firm idea of what your budget is you will need to set aside at least 10pc as a contingency for any unexpected extra costs. Building projects can often run up against problems that are impossible to predict from the outset.

Get more than one quote

It’s a good idea to get quotes from a number of different suppliers. The important thing here is to make sure that each company is working from the same brief. Even the most subtle of differences can have a huge impact on the total cost. If everyone is quoting for the same kitchen you can compare the quotes exactly, which will ensure you get the best deal.

Avoid the temptation to go for the lowest tender price. The cheapest quote might not actually be the most affordable.  It can be tempting when getting prices to go with the cheapest contractor but it’s really important that you look into what they are actually pricing for. Unfortunately, there are some builders who will vastly underestimate costs — through inexperience or perhaps deliberately to secure a job. The issue here is that once you’ve committed to working with them and the job has started they may start to ask for more money.


Get professional help

You might be inclined to cut out an architect to save money, but if you are planning on any kind of medium to large scale home renovation project, you should enlist the help of an architect.

Structural renovations without professional design is a big mistake. This doesn’t have to cost the earth and many architects will have options so that you can get advice for a fee that suits your budget.

For example, our Optimise Home service is a cost-effective way to get architectural advice. We offer a pay as you go solution to working with an architect, giving you a design to work with at a price to suit your budget and ultimately peace of mind that you’re making the best possible decisions for the changes to your home. Why not book a no obligation call with one of our team HERE to see how we can help.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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