Timing is everything! – Kate Faulkner

When it comes to carrying out property projects on your home, before you do anything – and especially before you hand over any money for goods and services – you must make sure you know how long the job will take.

It’s not just about looking it up online, reading how long it’s taken everyone else and saying, “Oh great, about six weeks”! Unfortunately, whatever timings you research, you’ll find that your project will have a timeline all of its own.



To make sure you get the job done on time, here are five things you need to find out first:

Do you need external approval for the works?
The first thing to check is whether you can simply go ahead with the works or whether you’ll need planning permission, building regulation checks or a building notice. In theory, planning applications should take around eight weeks, but they can take up to 13 weeks – and sometimes more. Bear in mind that a lot of things can happen at the council’s end, such as neighbours objecting to your plans, or in your own life, that delay you submitting plans or responding to queries from the planning office. So it’s best to assume it could take up to three months, more for big projects.

Building notices normally require two working days for approval, but check with your local authority.


Remember that holidays and ‘life’ get in the way!
Whenever I’ve carried out a project, especially if it’s been a big job, I’ve always found that a huge number of days are lost to holidays, sickness or people having problems in their lives, meaning timings don’t go as smoothly as planned.

So while you’re planning or carrying out a property project, my advice is not to take any holidays yourself, as that will almost certainly delay things.


Then, don’t forget that Easter, the summer and around Christmas are classic times for everyone else to go on holiday too, so if you want work done then, plan well ahead. Ask your team who’s away when, so you can factor it into your timings.


How long do materials take to order?
This is especially important to check if you’re ordering things that are bespoke. Window companies may work to lead times of 6-8 weeks; new boilers may take two weeks to fit; kitchens may only take a week or so to order and be delivered if they’re ‘flat pack’, but bespoke ones can easily take up to eight weeks.

Don’t forget, if there are measuring errors or any damage to bespoke items, this will take more time to remedy and won’t be picked up until the materials are on site. So it’s worth checking when you order, what would happen if there was a problem, so you can build this extra contingency into your timings, just in case.


Are tradesmen at the ready or fully booked?
The bigger the job, the more likely the builder or tradesperson is likely to be booked up well in advance. For example, if you’re planning a big extension, it could take 4-6 months from start to finish and a builder might already have two or three jobs in hand. That means you might have to wait up to 18 months to secure the right company.

Even small jobs, such as extra electric sockets or boiler work, could take weeks to get booked in. Remember, tradespeople aren’t just waiting for your call – especially the good ones, who are rarely short of work. You really need to plan ahead and start checking availability with people as early as possible.


Can you speed a job up?
Well, you can try….but that’s often when things go wrong. One of the best ways to speed up a job is to try and find someone reputable that has just had a cancellation or see if other jobs they have lined up could be switched. Be prepared to pay a little more to incentivise them to move your job up their priority list.


Another option could be to hire someone in from another area where demand for work isn’t quite so high. For example, it’s not unusual for someone in Peterborough to carry out work in London, in order to get a job done in weeks that would otherwise take months to book with a London tradesperson.

For more help and advice on your property project, you can ask me any questions directly – just email me via Propertychecklists.co.uk (link: https://propertycheck.ssl.subhub.com/contact )

Kate Faulkner

Design on Property Ltd

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