How to make your next project a win-win

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Excellent communication with tradies is a vital factor in getting what you want. So much can be lost in translation.

Simply exercising hospitality to people working in your home will start you on the right track to good communication. If you’re having work done that will take a long time, meaning you’ll have tradespeople in and out of your house for days, maybe even months, it pays to have a good relationship.

Other than the odd cuppa, most will want to get on with their work rather than sit around chatting to you.

While being firm about what you want and not being afraid to be speak your mind, do respect that they’re the experts at what they do. Strike a balance here. Be collaborative and seek their input.

Any contractor will appreciate you knowing what you want and they’ll work better to a very clear and well-articulated brief. Have everything in writing from the start – and I do mean everything.

Research before the start. Do a massive amount of research before you start. Look through magazines, websites and photos, create mood boards and idea books. Do as much as you can to fine tune your brief to the tradesperson.

Be clear about changes. If there are changes you really want, or if something unforeseen comes up, it is your right to change your mind. Just be aware that changes can have a domino effect and one change can lead to another, so work out with your tradesperson if that is the case.

Don’t make any assumptions though. You can’t expect to make lots of changes without cost implications. Find out if there will be any charges for the variations. Agree on variations as you go to avoid any shocks at the end. It’s really is crucial to ensure that changes are documented throughout. If it’s amendments to drawings or plans – ask to see the new drawings.

If there’s anything that’s bothering you about the progress of works or how things are being done, say it straight away; it will be too late after the job is done. Just be clear and firm, and polite.

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