How to Avoid a Bust-Up With Your Refurbishment Contractor
Save time and money on your next HMO refurbishment project simply by fostering the right kind of relationship with your refurbishment contractor. Communication is key as is a detailed schedule of works where each development phase is signed off on completion. If you can identify problems early, they will cost you less.
Today we're going to talk about how to avoid any potential bust-ups or falling outs with your refurbishment contractor. Specifically, we're talking about HMO refurbishments but everything we cover is true for all refurbishments.
It comes down to one simple thing - communication - and that's what we're going to look at today.
Your Relationship with your Refurbishment Contractor
When it comes to refurbishment projects HMOs are no different from any other.
And, for any type of refurbishment project, it is important to have the right kind of relationship with your refurbishment contractor.
This is true if you have one main company coming in and managing the refurbishment from start to finish. It's also true if you are managing your joiners, electricians, plumbers - your tradespeople - separately.
Contracts, Agreements and a Schedule of Works
With a refurbishment project, communication is key.
In the past, we've certainly run into problems. And almost always, this has been because of poor communication between ourselves and our contractors, often our fault...
I admit, there have been times where we haven't effectively communicated the end goals of the project to the people that are working on it.
In the past, we haven't had everything on paper that should have been written down.
Because, making sure you have the right contracts and agreements in place is essential, as is a detailed schedule of works.
For more information about drawing up a schedule of works and the other checklists you should have in place during an HMO refurbishment project you can read our article on the subject:
But, the take-home message is this:
EVERY aspect/phase of the refurbishment needs to be written down and signed-off, preferably by yourself.
Signing Off on Key Stages
I can't recommend this enough: You need to visit the project when you can and in an organised way.
You should be visiting the property regularly. As the person who is paying, you need to inspect the work in progress and lend assistance.
And, you want to sign off on the project at pre-arranged, key stages.
Even if you are using a refurbishment contractor that is overseeing the whole project you don't want to be giving them the keys and then turning up after four weeks, ten weeks, twelve weeks later with your fingers crossed.
If you can't visit the property yourself then you will need to assign someone else that role. This might be the leasing agent or business partner - someone local to the property.
But, for every stage of the project, you need to check that things have been done in accordance with the plan - the schedule of works.
What Can Possibly Go Wrong?
When it comes to refurbishments there is plenty that can go wrong.
The rip-outs might have been done but the tradesman has taken out the wrong cupboard or door (this has happened to us on many occasions). When it comes to part-refurbs especially, it is not uncommon for contractors to rip out the wrong things.
More often than not it is just a case of people getting carried away.
So, it is important to examine the project stage-by-stage and nip in the bud any problems, issues or mistakes early.
Because, as you get further down the line, problems can become much harder (and more expensive) to rectify.
Plumbing and Electrics
This is especially true of electrics and plumbing. In these areas, if you don't pick up on mistakes quickly you are going to lose money.
The most common problem is that something has been put in the wrong place.
The boiler might be in the wrong location. The rads might be in the wrong place. The plug sockets in a bedroom might not be placed correctly to work with the furniture you've chosen.
The last thing you want is to visit the property when it has been completed, plastered, painted and furnished only to discover that things aren't arranged as they should be.
If this happens you will be wishing you had checked in on the property earlier.
So, by visiting the property at key stages of the works and with the right paperwork in place you are going to save yourself time and money - and avoid the inevitable bust-up with your refurbishment contractor that will happen when you recognise problems too late.
Putting It All Together
The take-home lesson is this:
You need to visit the refurbishment project at key stages in its development.
If you can't do that yourself then you will want someone else to do it.
This is paramount.
Regular visits and an organised approach are key elements to any project's success.
Checklists, agreements, a schedule of works, regular visits and signing off on those key, development stages...
...and I guarantee you'll suffer less of the headaches normally associated with HMO refurbishments!
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