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Tips for remodelling your house

Looking to remodel a house on a small or large scale without the right planning can be a nightmare.

Re-modelling can vary for different individuals depending on their needs. Some are looking for a simple spruce up of colour, shifting of furniture, a few additional shelves and pieces or making a few updates on sofas and throw cushion while others are looking to knock down a few walls, extend rooms and even re-do floors.

The decisions, no matter how small the project, come in droves from planning, choosing the materials to be used and even which professionals to work with.

Whether it’s a simple or complex remodelling job, one will need to seek advice from different professional. Simple décor and interior-related redesigns will require the services of an interior designer but the larger projects that involve demolition and reconstruction will need the services of an architect.

Right professionals

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“Before taking on the project, you must approach the right professionals to get you good advice and set you up for a successful project,” says Martin Tairo Maseghe of Architecture Kenya Media Ltd. With most people considering pre-consultation a costly venture, the architect states that it is an investment that will ensure that proper support is available from the authorities,” he says.

The architect will draw up the new plans for the home owner and help get approval for the start of the project which will, in turn, mean that it is done properly, cost effectively and on time.

“You will need to consult an architect because you may need approval by the authorities. They are essentially able to capture the vision of the client and integrate it with the existing house design taking into consideration all the structural requirements and short comings.

The plans take into account the steps that will need to be taken from conception to the finished product. This also allows the homeowner to play around with designs, make alterations and even get 3D models, where possible, of the final layout before undertaking the project, reducing the risk of needing another remodel.

Structural integrity

In some cases, the remodel requires changes in the structure of the house such as additional storeys. “For this, the foundation must be checked to see if it can hold an additional floor. A structural integrity test is done to confirm this,” he says.

This is also done for walls that are to be taken down. If they are found to be support walls, then they cannot come down as they would jeopardise the stability of the structure.

“They also engage other professionals that are essential in the building process including contractors, interior designers, structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers and if need be, depending on the size of the project, a quantity surveyor,” he adds.

Essentially, paperwork is the responsibility of the homeowner, but they neither have the technical nor professional expertise to ensure they are citing within the regulatory requirements.

The professionals are able to guide you with their knowledge of the building codes and get all the necessary permits for construction work. This, however, does not mean that there are no quacks in the market. Before engaging any consultant, a thorough background check for references and previous works should be done.

On kicking off the project, as a home owner, there are two options for hiring the construction crew. The first would be the architect coming in with his own or you hiring your own. The architect plays a supervisory role to ensure that the contractors work with the necessary material, measurements and budget.

However, the architect’s presence at this point is optional with home owners opting to do their own supervision. This is because the architects require an additional fee to stay on beyond the planning and drawing phase.

Even as you do the aesthetic bit of the remodel, this can also be a chance to make additional changes to the rest of the house. This can include having a sewage recycling pump set up while the mechanical engineers are around, re-wiring the house for sensor controlled lights while the electrical engineer is around, getting new taps and faucets, a new tub among other things.

Bulk buying

Buying material in bulk always comes at a lower cost and alterations can be made as part of the main project therefore saving on costs, if any. In addition, you save time and post-construction cleaning up as everything is done in one go.

Once the structural work is completed, the interior designers take on the decoration bit. That much needed re-paint in the bedrooms can be done at this stage as well as replacing and fixing broken tiles, picking new colours of paints or wallpaper, curtains, wall paintings and even getting new furniture.

Most architects, according to Mr Maseghe, have training in interior design. However, one can opt for a design firm or take on the interiors as a personal project.

As with the case with designing the house, the homeowner must sit down with the interior designer to discuss the overall concept. Once the visualisation stage is done, the materials, colours and themes are selected and the finishing touches done.

Professionals are able to negotiate with dealers and manufacturers for better prices due to long-term relationships and therefore come in handy when look for bargains.

If you are looking to remodel or redesign, be sure to consult all the right people and engage them to achieve your dream home.

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