Some of the more extensive renovation projects – such as adding a new room – require the skills of a designer or architect. We explain how to work through the planning process.
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Plan a renovation project carefully. Unless you are moving out while work is in progress, you are going to have to live with the mess and inconvenience which can be considerable and stressful.
The first steps in planning are:
Once you have decided on your first project:
Whether you need a designer to design and draw up plans really depends on the extent of work being done. Major renovations involving moving walls around, adding new rooms or having a new kitchen put in will benefit from the design expertise of an architect, architectural designer or architectural draughtperson. Their ideas can help to maximise floor space, aspect to the sun, and flow. They can also advise on materials and special design features, such as making the best use of natural light, heat and other energy efficiency aspects.
With a few exceptions, major work is going to need building consent. The building consent application will require plans and specifications to be attached. A designer can prepare these for you.
For major renovations and alterations, finding a good designer should be carried out as carefully as if you are having a whole house built.
If you are having a bathroom or kitchen renovated, you can use the specialist services of kitchen and bathroom designers. Some offer a design service only but others can offer a service which includes all or some of the following:
With some renovations and major alterations, you will need the services of a chartered professional engineer.
If there is concern about the stability or load-carrying capacity of the ground, a geo-technical engineer will be called in, usually by the architect or designer, to do some testing. Special design of the foundations may be required, with input from the engineer. Engineers are also necessary when you are extending up or out, or when you are removing structural elements.
Engineers may also provide expertise where there are other features out of the norm, for example, to calculate beam sizes or methods of developing lateral restraint to provide adequate support, and anchorage against wind uplift, earthquake and snow-loading.
Your architect or designer should let you know if an engineer is required and what the extra costs will be. Or you can contract one directly by looking in the Yellow Pages or getting referrals from other people.
Kaye had a complete kitchen refit done. It would have gone smoothly but one subcontractor didn’t stick to a prearranged time. This caused two weeks’ delay as all subsequent subcontractors, i.e. the bench installer, electrician, plumber and flooring finisher, were unable to use their scheduled time. "The kitchen is wonderful but the delays were murder".
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