Each week a new room is revealed on The Block but, while renovating room by room may work on TV, it’s not the most efficient way for typical renovators to tackle a project.
The average renovator can’t rely on a Hipages lever to deliver them an army of tradies to finish a bathroom, and completing a three-storey renovation in 14 weeks would be near impossible.
However, there are ways to keep a renovation project running smoothly, and it starts with planning.
Where to start when renovating
Warren Gray from Heddon Builders sees the importance of planning the renovation as a whole first, before tackling each room.
“The biggest thing I tell people when they’re renovating is to do their planning first,” he said. “Don’t rush into it. Plan the whole set out first.”
By planning the building as a whole, rather than room by room, tradespeople aren’t going backwards and forwards, saving you time and money. “Doing room by room is wrong because you don’t get consistency of trades to keep the job moving. It stops momentum on the job,” Gray said.
Matthew Pisanelli, owner builder at Renoworx, also saves time by having all materials ready. “You want to get your materials on the site as you need them,” he said. “Typically, I like to have my materials on hand for all my trades.”
What order should jobs be done?
The demolition and structural work need to be completed first. While the walls are exposed, the plumbing, electrical wiring and airconditioning can be put in. Then the plasterers are called in to finish the walls and ceilings. In the bathroom, the tiler can start.
Time can be saved by using the trade that results in other trades following on. These trades are critical to getting the renovation completed.
The plasterers need to be one of the first trades on the job, because once that’s done others can follow for jobs such as painting, skirting boards, architraves and electrical finishings.
“You’ve got to do a plan; you’ve got to work out what the critical part is,” Gray said. “Make sure those critical activities are organised. You need to organise your tradesmen at least two weeks in advance.”
Gray also recommends not working in a room that’s finished. This can be avoided by starting in the room furthest away from the front door and working forwards. This way, cleaning up and damage can be reduced.
Pisanelli agrees with this. “You wouldn’t have a million trades in each room cutting and doing stuff. You’d have it in one localised area. So, you’re making rubbish in one room and all floor protection is down everywhere.”
Take a look inside The Block houses for sale
- Mitch and Mark: 38A Grey Street, St Kilda
- Tess and Luke: 38B Grey Street, St Kilda
- Deb and Andy: 38C Grey Street, St Kilda
- El’ise and Matt: 38D Grey Street, St Kilda
- Jesse and Mel: 38E Grey Street, St Kilda
Once the gyprock and tiling in the bathroom is completed, two coats of paint can be applied, with the final coat at the end of the renovation – “So you’re not touching up afterwards. That saves you time and money,” Gray said.
The renovation should end with the flooring and joinery to avoid tradespeople damaging these areas. The cabinets, kitchen and other built-in furniture need to be organised with the joiner at least four weeks in advance, as they are made off-site before installation.
However, the best laid plans can still go awry. “Add a good 10 per cent of time and money on top of it because you’re going to find something that’s not supposed to be there,” Gray said.
Renovation process checklist
1. Plan the renovation from start to finish
2. Demolition work
3. Structural build
4. Plumbing, electrical, telephone cables, airconditioning in the walls
7. Carpentry fixtures, such as doors, architraves
11. Plumbing and electrical fixtures, such as lights, switches and taps