It can be very tempting to consider living in your home whilst it is being renovated or extended. But before you decide to stay, make sure you consider these things…
If you are planning to renovate or extend your home, you are probably keen to direct as much of your budget as possible to getting the home of your dreams and not spend it along the way on living expenses. So it can be tempting to consider living in the property during your home renovation, rather than having the expense of renting or the inconvenience of staying with friends or family.
Before you decide to live on a building site, these are the key things to consider.
Is it even feasible?
The size and scope of your home renovation might mean that it is impossible for you to live on-site during the works. Consider what will be available to you if you stay and what won’t. For example, you can survive without a kitchen for a while, but you can’t live in a home without a bathroom.
Also, you may not always have water and electricity. If you’re unsure, ask your builder whether it is feasible for you to stay.
Also, discuss your plan to live in the home during the works with your home insurer. Different insurers have different attitudes and requirements when it comes to living on-site during building works. If your current insurer refuses to provide insurance or imposes unreasonable restrictions or costs, you might need to reconsider your plan or your insurer.
Do you have young children or pets?
Your home will be a working building site. Young children and pets may struggle with the noise, disruption and dangers this brings. Keeping them away from the work site is likely to be challenging and you could be putting them at risk by keeping them in that environment.
If you have young children or pets and are considering remaining at home during the works, it may be best to have a place to go during the day.
Can you tolerate living on a building site?
If you decide to stay, there will be tradesmen and other contractors coming and going each day. And be aware, the building industry starts early. You would need to be ready to have workmen in your home from 7am every weekday.
There will be noise, and even more bothersome, a lot of dust. It is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to stop dust from infiltrating into all areas of the house. Even if the construction area is swept and tidy at the end of each day, there will be dust. It’s inevitable.
Also, it is likely that there will be periods when the house is not well sealed, making it draughty and difficult to heat or cool. This can make living conditions uncomfortable. It may also be difficult to make the property fully secure, especially if part of the property has been opened up to enable an extension to be added.
How much will it increase the build cost and construction period?
When deciding whether or not to continue living in your property during a home renovation, it is important to keep in mind that this is likely to extend the construction period which may also increase the build cost. That is because it is likely that the builder will need to schedule the works differently to enable part of the home to remain habitable, so that you always have a working bathroom and are not without water or electricity for too long. Also, it’s likely that the builder will need to take extra precautions to comply with health and safety obligations.
One final thing to be aware of is the impact living on-site during the works will have on your rights under your building contract. For example, it’s likely to impact your right to claim compensation if the builder doesn’t complete your home renovation on time. This should be considered when you or your lawyer reviews your building contract.
If, after considering all of these points, you would like to live in your home during the building works, discuss it with your builder. There are things your builder can do to make it as comfortable as possible for you and, if you have chosen the right builder, they will be willing to accommodate you and your family (and pets) as much as possible (without exposing you to unacceptable risks).
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How to check whether your builder is up to the job
How to avoid getting caught out by builders charging you more than you were expecting
and more handy tips