Renovating a home: 6 mistakes not to make

Carrying out a satisfactory renovation of a house should not not improvise. The new building will certainly have to reflect your personality, but this imperative can be thwarted, day by day, by the many constraints, regulatory, technical, ergonomic, environmental and… financial! It is difficult to imagine, before finding yourself faced with difficulties, the diversity of skills to be mastered to lead such a project. You will have to circumvent the many pitfalls and the many imponderables that any candidate for this adventure will inevitably face, but the game is worth the effort!

As you will have understood, no one can save you from these dreaded but exhilarating trials. The modest ambition of this dossier is therefore limited to helping you save a little time (and perhaps money) by compiling the main foreseeable errors, with the most unfortunate consequences.

1 – Avoid any precipitation

Nothing is more natural than wanting to take advantage of your property as soon as possible. However, when embarking on a renovation project, it is essential to know control this impatienceat the risk of wasting a lot of time or worse of noticing, after the fact, that you have to adapt, definitivelythe consequences of a bad choice.

To avoid such misadventures, take the time to reflection. A well-prepared project runs smoothly and is completed faster and in better conditions. If you were lucky enough to inherit the property or if you already own it, it will be necessary to make an informed assessment of the assets and the inevitable constraints linked to the building, in order to make the best use of the resources it offers. Before succumbing to the crush in front of a house to be restored, list all the intangible criteria that you will have to accept, or resign.

It can be, for example:

  • any neighborhood nuisancewhich you can only highlight by returning several times to the location, at different times.
  • The access facilitiessuch as proximity to a station, a bus network or access to the motorway, taking into account the requirements of the whole family and anticipating variations in physical resources over time.
  • the distance from essential amenities (shops, schools, doctors, etc.).
  • l’orientation of the house, because your renovation work will have to give pride of place to energy savings. To optimize or even consider certain equipment, such as photovoltaic panelsor one solar water heaterthe roof must have a sufficient slope and be properly oriented. To make the most of insulation, which is now strictly regulated, and of new heating techniques, living rooms must take full advantage of sunshine.

Take the full measure of the difficulties in thwarting the countless potential pitfalls contained in this preliminary examination! If you only had to call on the skills of a professional (architect or informed contractor) once, it is at this stage of your project that his informed opinion will be the most useful and the most profitable.

2 – Do not decide anything without a minimum of method

Planning a renovation project requires defining needs and objectives based on a budget. This sometimes presupposes choices, which will have to respond to an increasing order of priorities. Rationally, the execution of the works must follow the following path:

  1. Securing the premises is the essential step, not to be neglected under any circumstances. This automatically involves bringing the electrical installation up to standard, eliminating notoriously toxic materials (lead-based pipes and paints, asbestos, etc.), stabilizing structural elements (walls, framework, large cracks, etc.) and more generally, bringing everything that poses a danger to the occupants up to the latest standards.
  2. Optimize energy performance according to current standards, not only represents a civic and regulatory obligation, but also allowsalleviate significantly and sustainably charges operation of the building. Always in a preferential order, it is a question of insulating the roof and the floors on basements or crawl spaces, the external walls and of modernizing the type and the regulation of the heatings.
  3. Install comfort elementssuch as floor coverings, the layout of bathrooms, kitchens, etc.
  4. Finalize the aesthetic places, to personalize your living space.
  5. Carry out exterior work (garden layout, veranda, swimming pool, etc.).

3 – Do not underestimate the burden of administrative procedures

Lack of knowledge of the mysteries of the regulations can considerably lengthen the time required to obtain an administrative authorization, with the chain repercussions on the availability of the performers that this implies. To deepen the disaster scenario, you can, still out of ignorance and in good faith, carry out work without having requested the right to do so. You will then run the risk of being sentenced to heavy fines or in extreme cases, demolish the work fraudulently built. It’s the triple penalty: loss of time, loss of money and disastrous effects on morale, to the point of pushing you to give up everything!

Depending on the extent of the renovation, you will have to subscribe to at least the following obligations:

  • Prior declaration of work (DP), to be filed with the town hall for buildings to be created and extensions between 5 and 20 m² in area, extended to 40 m², if the municipality has a local urban plan (PLU). The DP is also required if there are changes in appearance on the exterior of the building, the creation of openings, the replacement of roofs, the renovation of facades, the construction of fences, a division of land, etc
  • Building permitfor surfaces created exceeding 20 m² (or 40 m² with PLU).
  • Certification of the Electrical installationby the organization CONSUEL.
  • Authorization and control devicesnon-collective sanitationby the SPANC (public non-collective sanitation service).

This inventory not exhaustiveis just an overview of the right questions to ask yourself before even considering a renovation project.

4 – Do not compromise on the quality of materials

Quality materials are expensive, but as much as it is legitimate and recommended to to negotiate the prices, as much the choice of a material or a material, based only on the price, can, in the long run prove to be very expensive, because badly adapted and of precarious behavior. The solventsheavy metals or other products volatile, can even pose a health hazard by releasing long-lasting, lasting pollution into the air breathed by occupants. When we talk about this problem, we think, a priori, of paints and other surface coatings, but the examination of the structural elementssuch as partition plates, floorboards or insulation materials should not escape your vigilance.

These considerations have no character of depreciation or distrust of the use of new materials, often practical and aesthetic, but justify a healthy curiosity about their safety. All responsible brands publish a description for the consumer, including the composition of their products, the risks and recommendations for use.

5 – Do not neglect the precise measurement of supplies

The quantity survey is a professional activity allowing the exhaustive quantitative analysis of all the components necessary for the successful completion of a precise and determined work. If you have decided to do the renovation work yourself, take great care in drawing up this quantity survey, per phase of work, because its relevance depends on the regular and time-saving sequence of future installation operations. The quantity survey also guarantees a precise evaluation of the initial financial estimates and supply planning, for custom-made elements (joinery, framework, etc.), for which delivery times are often long.

The quantity survey is also a privileged moment of reflection, to define the choices in terms of composition and equipment for each room.

6 – Do not start work before completing and validating the financial statement

Establishing the precise financial balance of the renovation presupposes having made the final decisions on the precise nature of the work to be undertaken, which is why we will end on this subject. However, we are faced with a paradox, because in reality it is envelope available who decides on the viability of the project. It is however in the aforementioned order that the operations must be approached, even if it means giving up or spreading out over time, certain works non-essentialto match available funding.

If you want to keep full control of all or part of the site, it is essential to keep in mind that renovating a house requires a lot of energy and takes a lot of time. So don’t underestimate the rating honest the duration of the work, during which you will have to continue to assume any redundant loads (rents, transport, insurance, taxes, etc.), coming inflate the balance sheet of the project.

If, on the contrary, all the work is entrusted to companies, you will benefit from the tips and of theassistance professionals experienced in special situations renovation and biennial, ten-year and performance insurance. On the other hand, you will be confronted with the puzzle of the coordination between the trades, that the financial bonus resulting from the faster availability of your new accommodation, gives you the means to entrust a competent professional.

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