Taking on and successfully completing a renovation project is one of the most exhilarating and satisfying things you can do. It is an enormous challenge that taxes you intellectually, creatively and physically. However, inherent in the concept of challenge is a number of things that can go wrong. We want to help you avoid the deepest pitfalls, and as such have set out below five main things that people get wrong. We hope this will help you get things right.


The bane of any developer’s life is the budget – it is, from the get-go, a noose that closes ever tighter. What is a sensible first course of action then is to set a realistic budget. The biggest mistake people make here is to underestimate quite how much finance they will need. This is probably due to the perfectly understandable drive to make a profit! Labour is often far dearer than you might expect, and always plan for the unexpected – after all, you don’t know what you might find once you start digging up floors and knocking over walls.

Materials – False Economy

This is very much related to the budget point made above. Getting a bargain on materials is only a bargain if said materials are A) the right ones and B) are of a good quality. Cheap materials are a complete false economy, as if you try to build anything with inferior materiel then you will only have to shell out not far along the line to fix up what has let you down. Get it right first time, even if it hits your pocket more than you’d like.


There is a British Army adage called the ‘Seven Ps’ which, due to language concerns, I can’t reproduce in full here.  My bowdlerised ‘Six Ps’ runs as ‘Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’, the loss of the adjectival swearword not taking away the thrust of my point! Admittedly, the planning stage is laborious and painstaking, and can be a source of frustration for the hands-on developer who just wants to get his hands on the tools. Without the correct planning however, budgets and work can completely run off on its own. The correct plotting out of your project will save you money and time down the line: that much is fact. After all, there is no point having bathroomshowers without shower heads, for example!


While we all want to produce a completed project that reflects the design du nosjours, to make our friends and family gasp admiringly at our cutting edge taste, it makes sense to future-proof your designs to some extent. That purple brickwork might seem edgy now, but in ten, twenty years, will it still be attractive? Try to resist faddy design quirks – after all, that gold vertical radiator looks good now, but what’s wrong with solid horizontal radiators?


In the rush to get things done, safety concerns can go out the window – they mustn’t. This is of paramount importance on your project, and you should ensure all workers have – or are issued with – the correct equipment and protection. Naturally, a first aid kit must be on-site.