Day 2 - Living Room Refurbishment

It is really important to have a clear vision for your project, because at this stage when things have been ripped out and you can only see the bare bones left, it can bee quite stressful and scary. This is usually the stage where things can go wrong, mainly because once you have uncovered stuff, you might see that they haven’t been built properly in the first place or in some instances (which I have indeed seen on building sites), a cheaper material has been used as a substitute and it can cause all sorts of unexpected stresses, costs and problems.

I would always keep a small contingency of funds for this stage of the work. If you aren’t building yourself and you come across something that the builder sees as a problem, ask them to be as creative as possible and give you options on how to move forward. You are the client, don’t ever forget that and you are the one they must listen too (within the law of course). If you are doing your own work and find you come up against something that seems a bit too much, get a few quotes (never just one!) from builders or local tradesmen and see if they can help you.

If you can afford it, I’d always recommend adding extra light cables and power cables in areas where you think you might need them. It is such a pain to add them later and for the sake of an extra few metres of cable (which isn’t cheap, I agree) but it really gives you some leeway later, because as things start to come together, you will (I promise) start to see your room more clearly and you will finally get more creative and wish you had of thought of things earlier. We always ask builders to pull extra cables in for us, especially in ceilings or areas that were exposed and usually inaccessible. So if you are working on a project where you are exposing walls etc. I would definitely recommend adding extra light rings / cables in areas you are considering furniture, wall lights or network cables CAT5 (will allow phones) or CAT6, so you know there are cables in certain locations, should you wish to connect to them. Talk to you electrician and say that you just want the option to connect a light or a lamp in a couple of locations at a later date. (You always will!!)

The only other word of caution at this stage is – if you are working on a listed building or a historic building where you have removed the plaster off of the external walls, you may be required to insulate it. I would always call up your local building control officer, heritage officer and speak to your local council to see if they have any input. Making changes to a listed building without permission is a criminal offence.

Always ensure you have permission from the relevant people before starting work. Consider whether you need:

  • Planning Permission
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Building Control Approval
  • Leaseholder Approval
  • Party Wall Notices

Also, you might need to notify your home insurance company and mortgage provider that you are undertaking works to your property.

I would also always keep it cool with your neighbours! Respect them if you are working in the evenings and late into the night.