DIY Project Management of a Renovation or Build – A Series

What You Need to Know About Home Build Project Management

Over the next few months, I will be writing a series of articles for those of you who fancy having a crack at managing your own home renovation or build.

The aim of the articles will be to gear you up with the basics of managing a project in New Zealand, what you should be looking out for, and the questions you should be asking.

By no means would I ever profess that these articles are a comprehensive checklist, rather, a roadmap which should get you heading in the right direction when contemplating major renovations or new home builds.

Building and Renovating Project Mangagement

What House Building Scenario Will Be Covered

Throughout the series, I will be working my way through the hypothetical construction of an architecturally designed two storey dwelling on a sloping site.

From a Project Management point of view, this will be somewhat of a technical house build and will have a few extra steps than a “cookie cutter” single storey build on a level site.

Deciphering the Complexities of the Building Project Management Process

The project management process is not for the faint of heart, nor is it as simple as your average housing company makes it out to be. From the word “go” there are decisions to be made and questions to be answered which will affect the overall quality and success of your home building project.

Who are your consultants? Are they reputable? Are your Engineer and Geotech CPEng? Does your architect hold an LBP for design? What is a CPEng? What is an LBP? Does your Territorial Authority require a Peer Review for your Geotech Report?

These decisions and questions can sometimes stump even the most well-seasoned Project Manager, leading to budget blowouts, variations, and extensions of time.

What Makes a Good Project Manager for a Build or Renovation?

In the construction industry, there is the common misconception that a Project Manager is nothing but a “human mailbox” or a meddling middle man who “clips the ticket”.

This misconception may lead to an overzealous but underqualified builder who has been on the house building and renovating scene for all of five minutes to include Project Management services as a package deal with their carpentry services for a bargain bin rate. Why? Because how hard could it be?

This may also get cogs turning in the mind of the prospective home builder who wants to save a dollar. Maybe I might manage my own project! Why? Because how hard could it be?

Successful House Building and Renovating

Success of a project depends entirely on a combination of the preparation, negotiation skills, construction experience, contractual knowledge, and industry connections of the individual managing it.

If mismanaged or managed poorly, the financial fallout will likely resonate for years to come. Be it by way of early life failure due to a contractor not following a consultant’s specification, by the necessity to drag consultants and contractors through Court in the attempt to recover costs, or by a contractor that has mysteriously vanished into thin air midway through a build just to name a few.

A word to the wise – research, research, research.

Am I Crazy to Attempt DIY Project Management of my Build?

It’s not all doom and gloom however, as successful completion of a self-managed construction project can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever experience.

That feeling when you get that first Code Compliance Certificate under your belt is second to none. Not to mention the savings that can be made.

In the Coming Weeks – The In’s and Outs of the Build and Renovation Process

To help out you potential renovators and builders and budding project managers – over the coming weeks I will give a rundown on the following house building and renovating topics:

  • The different consultants in the construction process, what they do, and why they are necessary
  • How to select the right consultant for the job
  • How to navigate the legal landscape of consultancy agreements
  • Construction insurance – What is it and what cover should you have?
  • The different trades, what they do, and why they are necessary
  • How to select the right trades-person for the job
  • Requests for tender, what they are, and how to prepare a basic request for tender
  • Construction contracts and the Construction Contracts Act 2002
  • Dealing with extensions of time
  • Dealing with variations to agreements and contracts
  • Practical completion and the defects liability period – What are they?
  • Completion and Code Compliance

Hopefully – by the end of this series you will have the complete picture of what is involved in building a home or renovating a home in New Zealand – and you can make some informed decisions!

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