“I don’t know where to start” would have to be the most common thing we hear from customers who want to renovate. It does not matter if it’s the Bathroom or Laundry, the steps involved are all the same.
Take a deep breathe, do not rush it, and engage only licenced professionals who can complete the project the way you want it. Here is the process we have found to be the most effective way to start the renovation journey.
There has never been so much information available for people to look at and maybe this is part of the problem when it comes to renovating but the first thing you need to decided is will you do a full strip and renovation or will you do a makeover where the tiles and plumbing remain the same and you replace the toilet, shower, glass screen, mirror, tapware and accessories. What we will cover off from here on will be a full strip and renovation.
There is a lot to consider, what is the right style, colours for the walls, tile size or layout? It can be fun but do not make the mistake of over analysing or going down the vortex of the web and getting distracted by things that are not relevant to the Australian market. Break it down in small bite size components and start with what you currently dislike about your current Bathroom or Laundry and what you would like to see changed then move onto the style you want to create, for example, Modern, Boho, Scandi, Black and White, Hampton, Country or Colonial which will then lead you to tile choice, cabinetry colours and the type of plumbing products for fit off.
There are still some great magazines published regularly that are excellent for inspiration so whether you want to capture this information with a written diary and torn out pages or digitally capture this on your phone or iPad from websites like Pinterest or Houzz, start the journey and document it.
Some feedback from previous clients to take into consideration include; regardless of whether you are doing 1 or multiple bathrooms/laundries, move out and stay off site if possible. Although it is only a couple of weeks it can be disruptive to your lives, and sleep patterns, especially if you have kids. If you want to stay at home and have multiple rooms to renovate, then stage the build process which will extend the renovation time but save a little sanity in the process.
The research step listed above MUST be taken by you, regardless of whether you want to project manage the renovation yourself or engage a designer and a building contractor. If you do not know what you want, then how are you ever going to start.
Once you have a good idea of what you would like your Bathroom or Laundry to look like, the next stage is putting everything in place and getting some costings which leads me to the second most asked question, “How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom”. In 2020 Housing Industry Association (HIA) conducted a survey and found the average cost of a bathroom renovation was $19,085 which is slightly higher than a new home Bathroom build at $18,304 and ultimately this depends on the property location, size of bathroom, will you keep the same footprint or will walls be moved, fittings used and type or wall and floor tiles to be installed.
- Plans & sketches, will you hire someone to do this or will you draw your own?
- Selecting the tiles, colours and fittings to fit within your budget, which is a little tricky given you don’t have a build price yet, so make sure you consider two options in case one is too expensive.
Planning is where some people get stuck and walk away from doing a renovation because it starts getting complicated and takes up too much of their time which is totally understandable but Designer Bathrooms Plus does offer a Design and Consult service to help navigate the process. Depending on your requirements, our designs may include advice on layout, colour schemes, materials, flooring, fixtures, fittings, window coverings, lighting, and accessories. These will be supplied as elevated digital drawings and 3D visuals.
Some have called this service a marriage saver, but the great thing about it is that you get professional advice and it helps solidify your ideas which are captured in drawings you can show friends, family and ultimately builders to provide you a quote to construct.
Our service is NOT exclusive to using our trades or services to construct. You are free to engage whoever you are comfortable with but refer to “Important Information” in the next section to ensure you are aware of the importance of engaging licenced trades.
3: PRE-CONSTRUCTION & QUOTES
Regardless of whether you have designed it yourself or engaged a professional to develop your ideas, this stage of the process involves the hiring of licenced trades and developing a project timeline. If you decide to project manage it yourself, a typical list of trades you will need to source may include a Labourer to help with demolition and dispose of waste, Carpenter to prep the frames and sheet the walls, Electrician to run the wiring, Plumber for rough in and fit off, Water Proofer, Tiler and Glass or shower screen installer.
In our experience, the biggest complaint people have with project managing themselves is that renovation times are double to triple the usual 3-4 week time frame due to trades not coordinating or other jobs taking precedent. The other alternative is to contract a licenced builder who will coordinate all trades to ensure the renovation is finished within an agreed time frame and they organise who does what and when plus they offer a warranty that encompasses all work instead of the home owner piecing together the warranty from the individual trades which will vary depending on their own terms. If you do engage a builder please don’t just accept the cheapest quote on face value. We get a lot of complaints from clients who accepted the cheapest quote only to find there are exclusions in the contract that they didn’t know about and the total price ended up costing a lot more that they anticipated so make sure you have a clear list of inclusions in the contract and check the builder has a current contractors licence and insurance.
If you have followed the previous steps and have drawings or images outlining your desired Bathroom or Laundry renovation then this makes the pre-construction process much easier as the trades or builder will have a clear image and expectation of what the client wants.
In New South Wales, if your bathroom renovations exceed $5,000 labour and materials in value, the individual, partnership or company you hire will need to hold a current Builder’s Licence issued by NSW Fair Trading.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission stipulates that tradespersons, partnerships or companies who carry out or supervise any building work exceeding $3,300 in cost (labour and materials) must have a “Builder Restricted Licence” for the type of building activity they engage in. For your bathroom renovation, their licence should state that they are authorised to carry out “kitchen, bathroom or laundry” work.
Regardless of whether you have engaged a designer and builder or you decide to project manage it yourself…..BANG – the starters gun goes off, here we go.
Some of the key areas that will be covered in this stage include: Demolition – Carpentry – New Services – Wall Linings – Waterproofing – Tiling – Plumbing- Electrical – Painting (if required) – Glass Screens – Joinery.
We have deliberately not gone into detail in this section because if the previous 3 steps have been completed in full then this section will organically happen, and on time. If you are project managing this yourself then you will need to micro manage each aspect of the process listed above to ensure that not only do the trades start and finish on time but that they are completed to a professional standard and most importantly clean up after themselves before the next trades start, especially if you are living there.
If you have engaged a builder, a good one will be on top of this every day they are on site. NOTE: You MUST ask questions of your builder and trades as stages are completed and good trades or builders will take photos as the renovation progresses.
5: PROJECT COMPLETION
You have crossed the finish line. Managed the project yourself or engaged a builder? Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, this has been quite an emotional journey. There is still some housekeeping to go thru with your trades or builder before you can enjoy your new Bathroom or Laundry.
Go thru the finished rooms with the builder or your assigned trades to ensure they are finished to a standard you are happy with and create a defects list for rectification if necessary. Ensure you collect any paperwork from the builder or trades for your warranty on the project including tapware.