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DOs & DON'Ts of a successful building project

Building and renovating can be stressful and expensive - especially when things go wrong. Below are a few tips based on experience with our own projects and those of our clients to help you on your way to a successful and (relatively) stress-free project.

DOs

DO involve your architect or designer early on - before you start demolishing, buying materials, building or landscaping. It's much easier to be flexible with ideas and designs if you have not already committed yourself emotionally or financially to doing things a certain way.

DO live in a home you plan to renovate or spend time in a place you plan to build before making too many decisions. This will give you an idea of sunlight, wind, views, privacy, use of space, traffic flow and other issues you may need to consider.

DO your homework. Collect images of homes and interiors that appeal to you - magazine clippings, books, movies, websites, your own photos and sketches - and use these as a starting point for discussing concepts and details with your architect or designer.

DO consider your budget and make sure it is realistic before you start building. It's far better to work in stages or modify your plans slightly than to end up with a second-rate job because you had to cut corners, or worse, live in a half-finished home for months or years.

DO be clear about what you want and work closely with your architect or designer to achieve this. And if others try to convince you to change the plans or materials because it's a little cheaper or easier, talk to your architect or designer before accepting their word. By sticking to the design and discussing any changes, you will end up with a cohesive, quality result.

DON'Ts

DON'T wait until you are in trouble before calling in the experts. A good architect or designer can save you a lot of money and stress by helping you to plan your work in advance so you get it right the first time.

DON'T build or renovate with only resale value in mind. Homes are for living in, and a good design that improves your lifestyle will also appeal to any future buyers. On the other hand, a cheap job done in a hurry may well put off discerning buyers.

DON'T take too much notice of the latest fashions when decorating your home. Remember that this year's trendy colours and materials can be next year's no-nos. If you decorate your home and finish rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms in quality materials that suit the period of the house, it will look good for many years to come.