Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The renovation time line - part one

So one thing that I had absolutely no idea about (and still don't to some extent!) is how long things take to get done when you are renovating.  As a result I had quite a tight schedule planned, and although there were a few blow outs I was actually quite lucky that to a great extent I could get everything fitted in.  But for information that might be of use - here is the time line for what we have done so far (split posts so you don't get too bored with the wordiness!)

1. First up  - buying the house and settlement - even once you agree on a price and have all the inspections done, or make the winning bid at the auction - you have to wait until settlement date.  Generally that seems to be 6 weeks in Sydney.  We had 12 weeks at the request of the vendor, and this suited us well.  It might be frustrating not to be able to get those keys and get started but it is good to have a bit of planning time.

2.  You may be able to get access to the house prior to settlement but you need to discuss this with the agent.  We were lucky that the vendor was quite helpful and so we were able to get access to the house.  I tried to be very accommodating too with this and rather than ask for three or four different access times I organised for all my necessary trades to be present at the same time on the same day (and this amazingly came off.  Now, knowing tradies a bit better I am still amazed that this happened!).  We had a quote for the floor sanding, asbestos testing, and kitchen measurements all done about four to six weeks prior to settlement.  While vendors might be accommodating, they don't have to let you in and if you start asking for five different quotes at different times for each of your jobs I am not sure you would get very far!

3.  Kitchens take a LOT longer than I expected to be ready for installation.  I was quite amazed when we went looking for kitchens to find that 8-12 weeks lag time was common.  So that means at least 8 -12 weeks between signing up for a kitchen company and the date they can install everything.  We ended up choosing a company that made their cabinets and all components here in Sydney (rather than others we spoke to which shipped in cabinets from France or Germany - which obviously adds a time delay) and were able to offer us four weeks for the process.

4.  Apart from how long it takes to order the kitchen - the installation process takes days as well.  Depending on your situation there are the following steps -

a) - removal of old kitchen.  Stripping out of our single strip of cupboards and sink took about two or three hours.  The guy who removed the cabinets was also the electrician so this was helpful in that he could be aware of the electricity points etc.
Kitchen wall after removal of cupboards - and asbestos

b) For us this is where we organised the removal of asbestos.  Since the kitchen cupboards were gone it was much easier for them to access the wall.  Asbestos removal took the best part of a full day, including the post removal testing (discussed here.)

c) - "rough in" of the electricity and plumbing - our kitchen company were really good and they arranged all the trades involved - and also co-ordinated the rough in visits.  If you organise your own trades it may be less expensive but be aware that they don't just come round once and do everything all together. Electrician and plumber both had to rough in the new plumbing and electricals.  We were lucky that without a wall, and without a floor in place (plumber was in the camo shorts here) that it was probably much easier and quicker for the trades to do their work.  For us, with a pretty small kitchen really and only along one wall the electrician and plumber both only took an hour or two each.
d) - we needed to put in a new wall - plasterer took one morning to install the wall.
New wall installed with the roughed in electric points

e) Painting the wall - we wanted to smooth and finish before the cabinets were installed.  We just painted it ourselves, which only really needed a base coat and two colour coats - so finished in two days to allow the drying time in between.

f) We also had the floors sanded before cabinets installed.  Since we were adding an island bench, it was much easier for the floor guys to be able to sand when they didn't have to go around the island.  For us, as discussed in my post on the floor sanding, we had two and a half days of floor sanding and sealing, plus the couple of days drying time.

e) - cabinet installation - you need to get them delivered first!  Ours were delivered on a Tuesday afternoon, and installed on Wednesday morning.

You need to have somewhere to store the cabinets when they are delivered - and ideally not the kitchen as there needs to be space to move around.

Cabinets installed
f) Plumbing in for dishwasher and connecting the oven occurs after the cabinets.  As before, our kitchen people organised all of the trades. 

g) Once cabinets are in the stone mason (if you're getting stone benchtops) has to come to measure up.  This can't be done before hand as needs to be very precise and dependent on the installation.  Our stone guy was good and was able to come the day after the cabinets were installed, and then the bench tops went in only a few days later.  He cut some of the holes (for sink etc) while he was on site at our house, which was possible as we have an area in the front of our house.   The stone mason will need the specifications for your cooktop too, so he knows what size hole to cut.  We bought our own appliances, but this info was easily found with the product itself.  The stone mason was also organised through the kitchen company.  We actually changed the stone we choose to a different brand as the original one I chose was not immediately available - and we were on a tight schedule!

Our finalised kitchen - plumbed in, stove, cooktop and rangehood attached.

g) Once benchtops are in, you can plumb in the sink (we had a double undermount sink which the stone mason attached initially, not sure who does the drop in sinks).  

h) Tiling for the splashback can be done next.
i) Final power points and plumbing can be finalised - and your kitchen is complete!

The time for the kitchen would presumably depend on how easily you can arrange all your trades to work together.  As our kitchen company organised all the trades this was quite easy for us.  The entire process still took approximately one and a half weeks from delivery of cabinets until final power point was completed.

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