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Keeping your project moving

Are you part way through a building project or thinking about starting one?

Are you wondering what to do now we’re in lockdown? We’ve pulled together some handy tips to help you keep things moving.

The current situation is one no one was prepared for. Most people have had to change the way they work and live overnight. Many construction projects have stopped or have slowed to allow safe working practices on site. No matter what stage your project is at, we’ve compiled some thoughts on what you can do to keep on track.

1) Communicate

It sounds obvious, but the more you talk with those involved in your project, the more you can stay in control. If your project has stopped or slowed on site, the contract will have limited means to deal with what is an unprecedented event. Talk with your contractor and your Architect to agree on a proactive and safe way forwards. Then keep touching base as the situation is constantly evolving.

If you’re in the design and planning phases; talking to your design team is equally important. Can they keep working at the same pace? Are there any issues with surveys or external consultants? It’s best to be prepared and to make positive plans.

Read our blog on getting the most from your Architect.

2) Get on with design work

Most designers are still working almost as normal. Architects are working from home and are able to undertake most services that they normally would. At our Practice, we’ve been having some really positive design workshops by video, to keep the client involved in every step of their design journey. It’s an excellent time to get projects started and to progress them so that you’re in the best possible position for when the situation begins to ease.

Likewise, other designers like kitchen and bathroom suppliers are still there to help. They often have more capacity as they’re not managing installations on site, so take advantage of this and progress these key elements of your home.

The process of designing and planning a project is a long one, even for a small extension. Why not spend some of that time now whilst much of the rest of your life is on hold.

Read our blog on getting your project finished on time to see how important this is.

3) Tender your project

Main contractors are likely to be quieter than usual. Work on site has stopped or slowed, so they’re concentrating their efforts on getting projects priced and planned for when life improves. Take advantage of this time to choose your builder and agree on the project cost. You’ve got the opportunity to sweat the details with them so work starts smoothly and with as few surprises as possible.

Read our blog on choosing a builder to find out more.

4) Make decisions without the pressure

If work has slowed or stopped on site you have the perfect opportunity to make decisions that might otherwise have been rushed. Finishes that are usually left until the last minute can be decided now. Contact suppliers about samples and live with them in the house day to day; in different lights and when you’re in different moods. This is a unique moment in that regard – the world will never go this slow again!

Read our blog on introducing colour to your home to get some ideas.

Would you like some help with planning your project?
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5) Get your project submitted for planning

We feel now is quite a good time to submit a planning application. While planning applications may take longer to validate, no major delays have been reported. Planning applications are still being decided within the statutory time frame (typically eight weeks for a new home or extension) in many instances. We’ve already had one approval come in a lot earlier than this during this lockdown period. Officers are struggling to get consultee responses on larger projects and the committee system is having to change to deal with the trickier projects. In this quieter period, whilst these are being sorted out, simpler projects than can be decided under delegated powers are getting more attention from officers and can be cleared in good time.

Paul recently had a chat with Homebuilding & Renovating magazine about securing planning permission during this time. Click on the link below to read.

Securing Planning Permission During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Of course, if your project is smaller, you may not even need to apply for planning permission if it falls into permitted development.

Read our blog on permitted development to see if this applies to you.

6) Be cheeky

Now is a great time to call consultants, suppliers, and contractors. More than ever, they’re happy to have an in-depth chat with you about your needs and how they might support your project. When before you might have struggled to grab 5 minutes with someone, now you might get half an hour. Everyone wants the industry to return to health as quickly as possible, and if helping you be in a position to press ahead helps that, then they’ll want to help you get there.

Read our blog on the things we’d wished known so you don’t get caught out.