The desire to renovate a property is an appealing one for many reasons. You might be a budding developer looking to buy a rundown bargain and resell for a profit, or you might be a prospective homeowner who sees potential in a project that could be moulded into your unique dream residence.

Whichever direction you are approaching it from, taking on a renovation is not a decision to be made lightly as there are plenty of pitfalls lying in wait for the novice.

Areas of expertise

It is tempting to think you can take on a significant portion of the work yourself, and depending on your own skills, this might well be the case. However, there is likely to be some areas that even the most experienced DIY enthusiast will find too difficult, and there are others where only qualified personnel are legally allowed to do the work.

Plastering, refitting, general plumbing and decorating work can usually be done by someone who is a skilled DIY person, however, if you are unsure about a particular job (particularly plastering) it is best to employ a professional.

Some plumbing jobs, such as installing a gas-fired central heating boiler, have to be done by a professional and signed off with all the relevant safety certification. Likewise, electrical work needs to conform to safety standards and both of these specialisations are examples of areas where corners simply cannot be cut.

Project management

Essentially, in order to look after a renovation you need to assume the role of a project manager and be willing to deal with contractors from various professions. Planning is key, not only in terms of getting things done to a set time frame but also to make sure you do not go over budget.

Health and safety also needs to be considered when tradesmen are working on your site. It is essential to avoid accidents that could cause you to be in legal difficulties if you are deemed to be at fault in some way.

Getting a range of quotes from different providers is essential in all areas of the work that you need doing, and trying to get independent workers such as builders and electricians to schedule their time to fit in with each other can be a challenge.

Using an umbrella company can simplify things to a great extent. By dealing with a third party that acts as go-between with contractors you can make sure that the lines of communication don’t get confused, and you can also get all the tax or IR35 advice you need to make sure all the payment aspects of using contractors are in order.

Reality check

If you go into a renovation project with your eyes open things should work out fine, but if you try to bite off more than you can chew you’ll soon be facing a reality check.

Using contractors is the best way to make use of the skills and expertise of others who can help you realise your plans and vision.

If you build up a good working relationship with a team, you can then use it as a great basis for your next project, because the renovation game is definitely addictive once you have your first success under your belt.