Planning Building

Planning a Building Project

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The need for forward planning in any type of building project cannot be stressed enough. The more thought put into organising the sequence of operations, even on a small house extension, the more smoothly and efficiently will the project run.

At its simplest, it would foolish to waste time appointing a painter before you had someone in place to dig the foundations. Unless you are going to appoint a contractor to carry out all the work for you, you will have to examine the project and identify packages of work that you intend letting out to different trades. Bear in mind that some trades, usually
Carpenters and Joiners, Plumbers and Electricians, will need to carry out their work in two visits for first and second fixing.

Here is a simple bar chart incorporating a list of activities relevant to a house extension and sequences of working.

Planning to Build a House Extension

 Week number  1 2 3
 8 9
 10  11  12  13  14  15  16
 Foundations  XX  XX               
 Brickwork    XX  XX             
 Roofing      XX  XX           
 Carpentry 1st fix        XX          
 Electrics 1st fix         XX         
 Plumbing 1st fix          XX        
 Plastering           XX  XX      
 Joinery 2nd fix            XX XX
 Electrics 2nd fix              XX    
 Plumbing 2nd fix               XX   
 Decorating                XX  XX

Once the extension is watertight, most of these activities overlap each other so that two or three trades can be working at the same time. Closely linked to the timing of the work is the need to order the materials and arrange for its delivery at right time.

Managing the Home Improvement Plan

Ideally, the home improvement plan should be linked to a schedule of stage payments so that the financial management of the job can be handled efficiently.

When appointing contractors or tradesmen, the dates on your programme should be explained to them so that they will arrive on time, do the work and leave on time. In large projects a critical path analysis is prepared to identify those activities whose performance is critical to the jobs progress. In smaller projects, such as house extensions, this is not necessary because almost every activity is critical and each trade is dependent upon the others to keep the operation running smoothly.

In the early stages of the building of a house extension before the structure is watertight, the weather can disrupt progress and this can affect the whole programme. It is wise therefore to build in some float time into the programme to allow for any unforeseen delays. Adding an extra week at the end of the foundations before the external brickwork starts would be a sensible move in case the job gets off to a bad start.

If any delays do occur, it is important that the trades following on are kept informed as much as possible of any likely changes to their starting dates.

Next - The financials of home improvement projects