Here is a handy checklist of what to look out for pre-renovation, as well as tips on what you need to do to keep your interiors digitally connected.
. SET YOUR GOALS AND WORK OUT A BRIEF
Identify what you want to achieve, your requirements and any issues that you wish to address. These may include planning how you are going to use the rooms you have, or if you should hack walls you don’t need, and practical considerations such as storage and laundry. It may be useful to keep a scrapbook of ideas that you come across in magazines and showflats.
TIP: Focus on the physical layouts of the spaces you need first, followed by creating another list of the smart appliances you have or plan on purchasing. These can include wireless network set-up, soundbars, intelligent home systems, lighting, air-conditioners, locks and kitchen appliances that be connected to your central home system.
2. SET A REALISTIC BUDGET
Work out a budget and think about how much buffer you can afford, should the costs exceed the original figure. Be mindful of inspection fees, application fees and shipping costs, especially for online orders. Discerning homeowners can also open a separate bank account for renovation expenses so that they are easier to track.
TIP: Create three different cost sections, one for the cost of interior design and labour, another for the cost of materials (tiles, laminates, surfaces, lights, air-con system and units), and a third sheet for furniture. This helps you understand how much you are spending in each area, and ensure that all parts of the renovation process are catered for accordingly.
3. ESTABLISH A TIMELINE
Is there an absolute date by which you need to complete the renovations and move in? If so, work backwards from that date, allowing for unforeseen delays. These can be due to various reasons, such as shortage of manpower, non-availability of materials, and unexpected site conditions.
TIP: This is where an interior design studio can offer a lot of support by taking on the role of a project manager, as well as offering design solutions. Remember to factor in time required for the setting up of your fibre broadband (Netlink Trust), as well as for the application of mobile broadband network and cable television service.
4. DRAW UP A CONTINGENCY PLAN
Delays are inevitable, so plan for them. In the event of a delay, will you have somewhere to stay? Can the delivery of furniture and appliances be postponed and will you incur storage fees?
TIP: Differentiate between your needs (must- haves) and wants (nice-to-haves) and prioritise accordingly, based on your budget and timeline. If you are in a rush to move in, you can start purchasing furniture and appliances first and store them until they can be used. However, be careful not to go overboard on home shopping and buy unnecessary things that will end up cluttering your space.
5. GO DIY OR ENGAGE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
Doing it yourself can help you better manage costs and it is a great option if you know exactly what you want, what you need and what needs to be done. But, unless you have industry experience or are prepared to devote time researching and put in the legwork, you may be better off leaving it to a professional.
TIP: An interior designer will be able to assist you with the application of renovation permits and recommend contractors for your consideration. When looking for an interior designer, don’t just look at their portfolios and their style. It is very important that you have rapport and can communicate effectively with one another. For a look at established IDs in Singapore, visit www.homeanddecor.com.sg to download a free copy of Designer Showcase 2018.
6. PRE-RENOVATION ASSESSMENT OF EXISTING CONDITIONS
If your home is a resale unit, get a professional assessment of the existing conditions, such as whether it is structurally sound, whether there are leaks, or damp or waterproofing issues, and if the doors and windows are operating properly. Apart from safety and functionality issues, it will also help you to prioritise what needs to be replaced and what can be retained. If it is a newly completed unit purchased from the HDB or a private developer, be sure to check for any defects and get them rectified before you proceed with any renovation works.
TIP: Remember to check if the premises are fibre-ready. Alternatively, you can visit http://netlinktrust.com/ to find out.
7. ENSURE THAT ALL THE NECESSARY PERMITS AND APPROVALS HAVE BEEN OBTAINED
Be in the know as to the extent of works that you are allowed to carry out, and ensure that your contractor/interior designer takes note of structural elements that cannot be hacked.
TIP: HDB homeowners will be notified of their permit application status through the HDB portal online. It also helps if the homeowner calls 1800-225-5432 to check for updates.
8. ELECTRICAL POINTS AND CABLING
Don’t overlook details such as electrical outlets (quantity, location, mounting height), lighting points and counter heights.
TIP: Advance planning can help you to plan for concealing electrical wires and cords within plaster walls and hollow skirting.