Building or renovating? The benefits of DIY vs contractors

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When it comes to building a new house or renovating an existing dwelling, there are certain tasks that can be undertaken by yourself and others that will require the help of a professional. Houses are expensive commodities to own and maintain, and as a general rule, approximately 1-2% of the house value is spent each year on repairs. To break these costs down further, the majority of the expense comes down to labour, and hiring individuals to undertake certain work around your dwelling. Consequently, there is a lot of money to be saved by tackling work on your own, without the need to contract an expert. In saying that, there are many jobs that require a professional; tasks that may need certain skill-sets, machinery, or has legal conditions and obligations. 

Today on homify we are taking a look at certain domestic duties, repairs, and building work that can be done-by-yourself, and that which necessitates a specialist in the field. If you are building a new home or conducting a major remodel, it is important to know what can be undertaken alone, and when to call in the professionals. If you would like to know more, read on for some helpful advice, and striking domestic inspiration. 

Pros and cons of DIY versus hiring a contractor

As with most domestic renovations there are certain pros and cons associated with undertaking the work a certain way. Today on homify we are going to look at some of the benefits and disadvantages of hiring contractors, doing the work yourself, as well as some other considerations to ponder before you begin your refurbishment or new build. 

Pros of hiring a contractor: 

Guarantees: Most contractors will offer warranties or guarantees on the work they complete, meaning you will be protected if something goes wrong, or isn't completed on time. 

Get the job done right: Professionals are experts in their field and therefore know how to complete the work they are undertaking. You can be fairly sure the job will be done right the first time, and won't need correcting or fixing at a later date. 

Get the job done quickly: The reason contractors get paid to take on certain jobs is because they are good at them. If you need something done quickly and correctly, a contractor is your best hope. A DIY often requires research, and there is always the likely possibility it will take far longer than a professional. 

Pros of a DIY project: 

Save yourself some money:

Probably one of the main reasons an individual would undertake a DIY project is to save money. Contractors are specialists in their fields, and charge accordingly. If you can stand the time/research process a DIY will save you a lot of money. 

Learn some new skills:

Undertaking DIY projects can help you learn valuable new skills in the maintenance and upkeep of your home. Once you've fixed that broken pipe, or built that piece of furniture you are unlikely to forget how to do it again. This experience is invaluable when you consider the lifetime of your property

Have fun: 

Some people love do-it-yourself projects, and there are numerous websites dedicated to creating, fixing, and altering virtually everything you could possibly think of. If you have a little patience, the glory and satisfaction from finishing a task and project at home is extremely fulfilling. 

Finding the right contractor

Before you begin your project, and if you have decided to hire a contractor, you will want to ensure you choose the right one for the job. Having a good contractor for your domestic project will make the task run smoother and quicker in the long run. 

Finding the right contractor is often one of the hardest steps in the building and construction process. You will want to find a contractor with whom you have a connection and are easily able to transfer and transmit ideas to. If you want to search homify's database of professionals, you can check out builders, as well as plenty of other experts here

Communication is key

Having a good, open line of communication with your contractor is the key to a successful renovation or refurbishment project. This point is extremely important, and goes with the aforementioned advice of seeking the right person for the right job. 

If you are undertaking the work yourself as a DIY project this point is slightly less applicable, but it should be noted that it is extremely important to communicate with other household members as well as other contractors you might be working with during the project's process. This will ensure everything is taken into account and nothing is neglected or forgotten. 

Average costs and setting budgets

When undertaking a DIY for your home, the costs of your project will be extremely obvious and accounted for as you will have to research each element before beginning. If you are getting the job done yourself there are many budget calculators online that will assist in providing a general idea of the costs associated with your project. 

If you are hiring a contractor you will need to let them know what your budget is, and ensure it is agreed upon. Make sure you are comfortable with the quoted price, and communicate any issues as soon as they arise. 

Additional things to consider

To get you started here are some important tips we believe you should know when hiring a contractor:

- Check that your contractor is licences to do the job they are selling, and have the appropriate insurances. 

- If your contractor is doing work that requires certification, make sure you receive a certificate or authorisation that the work was completed to the specific code. 

- Try to choose a contractor that specialises in your particular project's work. For instance, choose a roofer for the roof, and a tiler for the tiles. This will ensure you get someone who knows a lot about their chosen skill. 

- Work with a contract, and ensure you have written quotes in place detailing expected start and completion dates, as well as contingencies in place if work is disrupted, for inclement weather etc. 

- Check out previous work from your contractor. Generally good contractors will have a portfolio of jobs they have undertaken for you to look at to view the quality of their work. Or course, a portfolio doesn't guarantee good work, and many contractors won't have one, but they will still be a highly regarded professionals. 

- Finally, go with your instinctual gut feeling when choosing a contractor. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't, and you should find somebody more suitable. 

Combining both DIY and a contractor

In some instances it can be a great idea to combine both contractor work with your own DIY work. Additionally, you may choose to project manage your own building renovation, new build or refurbishment. If you do this ensure you research the work involved with self-project management, as it is often far beyond the reaches of an amateur DIYer. 

Want to keep reading? Check out another Ideabook with tonnes of interior inspiration and ideas here: How to separate spaces without building walls

Do you have experience working with contractors? If so we'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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