Why do you want to project manage your home?
What does it involve?
They organise your build to making sure your project is completed on time, on budget, and finished to a high quality. They oversee contractors/subcontractors They’ll oversee contractors and deal with building controls, health and safety, and the utility companies. And when you think that’s everything they also coordinate with other professionals that are involved, like a structural engineer.
Can I Project Manage my own build?
They cost between 15-25% of your construction budget, and the smaller the project the high the percentage. So this is the main reason by people don’t have project managers and just opt to become their own project manager. However, the reasons these project managers exist is that they are professionals as it’s a lot of work! So, here are some things we have put together for you to consider before you take it on.
How much time does it take?
Project managing your own project is very time-intensive, and for loft conversions, or extensions, you’re going to want to be visiting the site at least once a day, and that can be really hard and draining to work out.
To help, if you don’t already, you may want to live in your home while the work goes on, to see first hand the changes. But this too has its downsides as you’ll compensate for the room lost to construction, which is a challenge if it’s a bathroom or kitchen! And just because you may be working on one room, doesn’t mean that that’s gonna be the only output. The dust, rubble and noise travel everything within a build, so just because you are at home doesn’t mean you can do as much work you want, all day and night. You need to have a cut off for the work and what will be finished at a certain time.
If this doesn’t sound ideal, you might rent somewhere nearby. This makes your home life easier but will add on costs, plus the longer your build takes, the more rent you’ll be paying. Worth noting that most projects that have the homeowner as manager tend to take longer than those managed by a professional.
Can you Stay Calm & in Control?
You need to know that things do go wrong, but things can be fixed so there isn’t any need to get angry about it, just stay calm. So something things go wrong and if it doesn’t you’re unlucky it just happens in the world. You need to make sure you’re the type of person who can deal with it and know how to calmly react and move forward to resolve it!
You also need to be strict and tough! This is for when you hire someone for work but it doesn’t work out, you need to be able to put your foot down and fire them. You don’t have to do this horribly, it can be responsible but most of the time people can get offended so be careful in your wording. This is something you need to be able to do, as you don’t want your project completed by someone’s work you don’t like just because you are afraid of a little awkwardness.
Protect your Money!
Before the project begins you and your builder need to agree in writing how you are going to pay.
We recommended you do not pay for the whole project upfront! You at least need to put down a 10% deposit for the build, which should be enough for them to get the materials for the build. You can finally pay the builder after the work has been completed to your standard. You can alternatively pay in instalments, this is a way of structuring the pay is to find a builder who will fund the project, and then pay them based on evaluations. The way you would pay them is by releasing payment once certain milestones have been met, and having that work assessed by your architect. But remember to have everything in writing and to be signed to cover you and them!
You can also get your builder to sign a JCT homeowners contract, this allows you to pay your contractor in stages, rather than big lump sums when a certain job is completed.
Get your Documents ready!
You really need to be good at organising or had to learn quickly to keep up with all the paperwork you will have. Make sure to keep all paperwork in folders and the same place and make digital copies if you can scan them or just take pictures.
You’ll want to keep all invoices, emails, estimates, and insurance certificates close to hand and check for public liability and employers’ liability insurance.
- Public liability insurance covers you in case a member of the public is injured by your construction.
- Employers liability insurance covers injury claims made by anyone working for you.
We recommend that you document everything that happens in a project diary, recording the day to day activities. This will help you see if everything is running on time, delayed or ahead of schedule.
Pick the Best Professionals - WITH OUR HELP!
A big challenge is hiring contractors that can get your project off the ground. You need to be careful of cowboy builders as they are out there! So, here are some tips on how to avoid them…
- Quotes- Compare the prices you get from your quotes to see if they are way too expensive or too cheap. By getting 3 or more quotes you will be able to find the average prices for your project. I the quote is too cheap it can be too good to be true and there is always a bad reason for it!
- Site visits – I the builders don’t want to see the site or not look at any plans is a very bad sign, they could estimate you for the build and when they come on-site say its more money to complete it.
- References/Portfolio – You should never trust a builder that won’t give you any references, and if they do but you don’t check them you can be at risk of a cowboy builder. Make sure these references are real and talk to people for yourself over facetime or in before, and make sure you see pictures/proof of their work.