So you want to be your own Project Manager?

Sure, you’ve browsed the internet for inspiration and ideas but are you certain you’re ready to wear the BIG project management hat?

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When you’ve decided to be your own Project Manager, that means you’ve decided to become the person responsible for the day-to-day operations of your renovation project. This type of responsibility is usually done by what we call contractors. But if you’re keen to do it on your own, we highly suggest that you do your homework and understand all the demands that await before plunging into the role.

Plans and guides are available for free on the internet - these guides can inspire you to think that you can do everything on your own but make sure you know what you are taking on fully, and that you have the time to do the job!

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If after reading all the guides and chatting to your contractor’s you still want to take on the role of becoming your own Project Manager, you need to make sure you have ET at hand - that is, experience and time. You also need to be prepared with all the systematic and construction planning and processes needed to be done in order to call the renovation a working one.

From this point, it’s fair to say that renovating is not to be taken lightly and it can become a little overwhelming not to mention nerve-wracking. While browsing photos and ideas for your dream home can be a lot of fun, turning those ideas into reality takes systematic planning.

So take a look at our step by step guide and see if you have what it takes...

Step #1 Plan like a Pro

Planning is the heart of any renovation project. Before starting any work, make sure everything is planned out thoroughly from the design through to the lists and deadlines. It’s better to have it all organized and scheduled rather than trying to do everything on the hop. Your work will be much more enjoyable when you can tick things off your list.

Take time to jot down all your ideas in an organized list and pull them off together with specifications. You can even draw up plans of how you think it might look! This will save you a lot of time and money along the way.


Step#2 Set a Budget

Be realistic about your costs. There are instances when home renovation projects fail and when you think about it, it’s usually because of one reason - design ideas become so grand that the renovation ends up strapped for cash! Don’t let this happen to you. Start to work out how much you can raise in total for the project and use this figure as a basis for your design choices. NEVER fit an ambitious scheme to a tight budget. Keep in mind that you also need to set a contingency budget of at least 10-15% of your build costs in case of unforeseen events. It pays to be budget-ready!

Renovation projects

Step #3 Magnify the Tiny Details

Being a Project Manager means that you will be managing subcontractors and it’s YOU who will be responsible for all the planning. So be sure to think ahead and know who will be involved, what materials you will need and when you will need them. Be prepared for possible hiccups and identify critical milestones for every stage of the project.

You can utilise a project management spreadsheet to help organize all tasks, assignments, and dates. You could even go looking for apps or any project management tools available online to help you in organizing your list. Be sure to put down all the individual steps needed and all the estimated due dates for each. Give allowances for things that could go wrong in terms of scheduling.

Take note that at first take, the staging you create may not be that accurate but having a timeframe always makes it easier to understand the sequence for each step in the building process. Plus this will give you a good basis on whether or not a particular job is being done and who is responsible for it. You can also use this spreadsheet when having meetings and resolving outstanding issues. Bottomline is that your spreadsheet will serve as your master plan for the entirety of the project so be sure you have everything listed.

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Step #4 Do your Homework

Before getting the ball rolling, ensure that you have full contract details set up and signed already. You also need a building consent approved with documentations available. Make sure you have staff allocated and that you have already notified sub contractors. You also need to get your site health and safety plan established plus have risk analysis completed.

Step #5 Make a Contingency Plan

It’s important to understand that while you may be aiming for a positive outcome, issues could easily arise unexpectedly during your project. Not preparing well enough for these type of occurrences is a classic pitfall, so take note. Expect the worst to happen and when they do, find out what the options are and make a decision.

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Step #6 Expect the Unexpected

Becoming a Project Manager is no doubt a rewarding process - especially when everything turns out to be exactly how you imagined! But it does take a certain person to do it well, they need to be organized, strategic, decisive and calm under pressure. Not to mention, you must have all the time to coordinate and oversee all the work.

While this may seem exciting now, there are still some important responsibilities and demands that will be present through the whole renovation project.

If you still have qualms, then we strongly recommend that you hire a Project Manager. You may be worried about the extra cost to your project, which is totally understandable, but consider the reality that a badly managed project can have. An experienced Project Manager can take care of everything including complex decisions, allowing you to rest easy knowing you’re in safe hands.

If you are interested in talking more about project management then give us a call and let us help your next renovation.

Emily Willis