Builders slowing you down? Tips to get your makeover finished bang on time

Your builders who are renovating your kitchen seem super slowDON’T FRET! You can push the renovation up to speed.

Here’s how this blog posted started – when a lovely follower emailed me at WeLoveHomeBlog:

‘Dear Maxine
I am having my kitchen redesigned, it is completely new… but still not finished. Do you have any advice on how to keep things moving when builders are so slow?

It’s disruptive enough having your home turned upside-down for a build, without it dragging on longer than you’d hoped. When working on TV makeover shows, I’ve had to push builders to turn around kitchens in a matter of days. And I’ve picked up lots of tons of useful tips on how to gently ‘persuade’ builders to pick up the pace. I use every trick in the book to keep builders happy and often working late into the night so that we’re ready for the camera crew to roll in.

Here’s my how-to guide to make builders busy again

  1. First, talk to your builder and explain why you are unhappy with the pace of the build. Express your concerns calmly and find out exactly why things have been slowing down. Agree with your builder the exact date when the kitchen will be finished. If you don’t take matters into your own hands to push them to finish on time, then builders can sometime lose focus. Be firm but fair on what you expect from them.
  2. Offer to help any way you can to get things moving. Maybe you can chase suppliers or pick up extra materials on the way home? Show you’re serious about finishing the build on time. I’ve found repeatedly dropping the finish date in conversation and mentioning future plans for the space is a great motivation. Something like, ‘I’ve got friends coming down on 24th June so I can cook them dinner in the finished kitchen.’ Reinforcing the date in their mind will help them realise that you want your home back then. Subtle? No, but effective? Yes.
  3. Communicate with them every day to keep them on their toes. On location, I call my builders every morning, asking who’s on site, what’s being done, what’s been delivered that day. In return I ask my builders to contact me as soon as there is an issue. I return their calls ASAP and deal with any problems there and then. The quicker you know about any glitches, the quicker you and your builder can problem solve together to get them done. Once you start a pattern where you are speaking twice a day, things will soon speed up.
  4. Don’t delay the build when things are not in stock. Have a list of other suppliers to hand. Be organised at design stage with a spreadsheet of different suppliers for each fixture and fitting. Have a Plan B for another style of taps that you would be happy with. You can’t blame the builder if you don’t have an alternative option to hand. This is why moodboards and spreadsheets are great for when things change!
  5. On a build, things don’t always go to plan (plumber might be sick, the water company may turn up a week later then expected, or materials may not be in stock), but your tradesmen should have a list of other jobs on site they can do. On set, I stick up a list of jobs that need doing for each room on the front door of the property. That way, no one has an excuse that they didn’t know what else needed to be done. Yes, it’s a bit like school, but it keeps everyone on the same page.
  6. And if things still are going too slowly… did you sign a contract before works started? Does it have a late penalty clause? If so, then maybe it is worth reminding your builder that you are in your rights as a customer to have the project finished in time.

Follow these steps and, like Teresa, you can speed up your slow builder and get your kitchen done and dusted so you can reclaim your home once more.

Meanwhile, I’m going to need to take my own advice, as I’m starting my new home’s kitchen makeover this spring! So for tons of ideas, updates, inspiring photos and more, come back soon and see my blog on how to start YOUR kitchen makeover too.

Kitchen shots from the Gallery collection at Symphony Group kitchens

7 thoughts on “Builders slowing you down? Tips to get your makeover finished bang on time

      1. My mother in law picked our builder and is paying him to do a lot of work on our house but, it has transpired that he is now taking shifts more regularly with a large goods vehicle firm. Some weeks working 2 days at our house some weeks not at all.
        My mother in law continues to be the go between. There is no contract no paperwork and no receipts for the building work. We were told to leave our home with our two year old over 4 months ago. We are technically homeless and staying with my parents.

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