Lots of us spent 2020 staring at the same four walls, so it’s no surprise that you might be in the mood to change things up this year.
Making big changes to your home can be a lengthy and involved process, so it’s always best to plan ahead and start the process as early as possible. Great tradespeople can get booked up a long time in advance, and when it comes to some jobs, there’s plenty of stuff you’ll need to do before work can begin - whether it’s obtaining planning permission, getting structrual reports, or just hiring a skip to get rid of the old stuff.
MyBuilder has a range of resources to help you through a project, no matter how big or small, so here are some top tips to keep in mind if you want to make 2021 the year you transform your home.
If you’re building a new home or outbuilding, or making a significant change to your home, you may need to apply for planning permission to ensure your work can go ahead.
Planning permission is obtained from your local authority, who’ll review your application to make sure your plans are in keeping with surrounding properties (for example, no towering skyscrapers in a charming village) and won’t negatively impact your nieghbours.
Applications are typically decided in eight weeks, but complicated or controversial cases can last for 13 weeks, so you need to account for this time before your project starts.
Not every building project needs planning permission, but all will have to adhere to the relevant building regulations, the standards that control whether or not a building is safe, structurally sound and energy efficient.
To make sure your project meets these standards, it will need to be inspected by Building Control officers from your local authority, or private inspectors who can report to the council on your behalf.
Some work, such as electrical work, can also be signed off by tradespeople who are registered with a Competent Persons Scheme.
While many people assume that they will need to go through the process of submitting a planning application for any big home improvement job, many jobs can actually be carried out under permitted development rules.
These can apply to extensions, loft conversions, outbuildings and adding windows and doors, as long as the works are under a certain size.
It can save a lot of administrative headaches if your work falls under permitted development rules, though it’s always worth double checking to see if planning permission might be needed in your case.
Quotes and contracts
Most jobs will benefit from a detailed quote and contract, binding agreements that make clear what work is to be undertaken, at what price.
When it comes to big jobs in particular, quotes and contracts can help give peace of mind about exactly what is expected - everything from the materials to be used to the timetable of the project.
Did you know that builders which breach rules on noise can be fined up to £20,000?
If noisy work is going to be carried out on your home it’s worth making sure you’re aware of the regulations in your area, as they can differ slightly depending on your local authority.
As with building noise, the rules around skips can vary depending on your council, but if you’re putting it on the road you may well need lights and a cover overnight to make it visible to drivers and stop waste spilling into the street.
You’ll also need a permit - usually around £30 or so. Alternatively, you might have space on your driveway, but make sure you protect it from the excess weight by putting down planks or plywood to help spread the load.
All home improvement projects can be stressful - and we’d all love to know that the work will go smoothly.
That’s why we created MyBuilder Plus, a unique insurance policy designed from the ground up to guarantee the success of your project.
The policy has been designed to cover you if the finished job doesn’t live up to what was agreed, as well as in many other circumstances - for example, if part of the work is left unfinished, or doesn’t meet standards.
Approach your next project in full confidence with MyBuilder Plus.