Project managing your own self-build or renovation can be fraught with difficulties

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“No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy.” 

I saw this quote this morning, and although there’s no enemy involved, it sums up what it’s like to do your own renovations and refurbishing.

I’ve been busy now for a while on the basics of refurbishing an old cottage, and it’s making me pull my hairs out at times.

There are many things that I did not take into account. One of them is, without a local network of contacts, you have to do a lot of research into suppliers.

For example, I hired a painter, and it turned out that the person was on drugs. He was working in a frenzy, moving from room to room, all over the place, and was driving me crazy.

As soon as I let him go, peace, order, and calm were restored.

Yes, some people might say you should hire a project manager, but that’s going to cost, especially in this economy where builders are jacking up their prices because they have fewer jobs.

I really don’t have any advice on how to go about refurbishing a home.

I just can say that you have to have extreme patience and do your homework. You also need to know what’s important and what isn’t.

Mike Hardwick said in an article on BuildIt, “I would always recommend that you reserve your negotiating skills for the big-ticket items like bricks, tiles, windows and doors, where getting a decent discount can be worth hundreds or in some cases thousands of pounds. One good deal on a big item can easily negate all of the little savings on bags of screws and tins of paint.”

This is excellent advice because once you start your refurbishment you’ll have to buy all sorts of supplies.

In some cases you’ll be lucky that hardware stores or paint shops have specials on the paint and other materials ?that you require, but other times you’re going to have to pay the full sticker price on the product.

It’s also a good idea to have a clear understanding about what you want to achieve and stick to your refurbishment projects and your budget.

I’ve found that it’s important to get more than one quote for work, especially if you don’t know suppliers.

The old rule of thumb of getting three quotes doesn’t always work. Sometimes you have to get a lot more than three quotes to find someone that you can have confidence in and trust to do the job well.

But what I really want to talk about is the emotion and feeling side of what you go through when you are doing a refurbishment project yourself.

It can feel like you are going around in circles.

I still don’t feel confident that I’ve got everything in hand, so it means that I have to live with a lot of uncertainty.

Will this work out? Will that work out? What alternatives have I got? If this doesn’t work out, what can I do to fix things?

And so it goes. I suppose as I get deeper into this project, things might start to improve.

All I’m saying is, at this stage, I’m not yet a happy chappy. I know what I want to accomplish, but the great difficulty is bringing in people who can do the work for me.

If you have any suggestions or advice on how you went about doing a refurbishment project on a reasonably tight budget, then please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

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