6 Tips To Project Manage Your Build or Reno

Keeping your transformation on track

Working on a new build or reno? Project management can be a joy for some (*me*) and a nightmare for others. Here are my 6 tips on how to manage.


Research the processes required to realise your end goal. Do some study, work out your style, price some of your larger items, set your budget and know where the money is coming from. Familiarise yourself with the processes for each trade – knowing that the skirts & arcs go on before painting, or the glue won’t stick, can save you from budget blowouts and time delays. Doing your homework now ensures your home will work for you in the future.

Set up a budget spreadsheet

There are some great budgeting tools, specifically to help manage your build, available online. Find one that works for you and get to work! Be realistic and allow for contingencies. Is everything viable now or is staging your build/reno going to work better for your bank balance? Get it right now and you will save time, money and tears later.

Build relationships

Spend time with your trades, ask questions, clarify which trade is responsible for each area/stage of the build. Starting off your working relationship on the right foot will make the entire process that much smoother.

Get to know your suppliers. Go to their showrooms & warehouses, spend time with your account manager, make them part of your team – their knowledge is invaluable, especially if the oven/bath/sofa you have your heart set on is suddenly not an option.


Have one point of contact for each contractor and meet with them as a group each week. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and will allow your trades to troubleshoot any potential issues, including suppliers, timeline and budget, with you present. Know what you want and be prepared to fight for it. Also be prepared to compromise, listen to your trades, and find collective solutions when necessary.

Have someone take detailed minutes, including model/part details (if you have your heart set on ‘that’ kitchen tap, then be sure you get ‘that’ kitchen tap!) and email a copy to each contact for approval.

Take photographs

Photograph your walkthroughs and review them later. There will be so much happening on site that it can be easy to miss small problems that may become big issues later. Powerpoint placement is a great example of something that can change or be overlooked during the wiring stage.

Stay on top of your budget

Seems basic, but it is easy for small increases to add up very quickly and realising that you can no longer build your dream staircase can be heartbreaking. Every time a decision needs to be made that affects the bottom line, return to your spreadsheet and see if you can make it work within the budget (the temptation to keep increasing it is always there but stay firm to your original plan). Sometimes it might mean compromising on another part of the build – as long as you’re aware of what needs to be shuffled and you continue coming back to it.

Know your strengths

Know your strengths – perhaps the design element is right up your alley and the rest isn’t, or you may want nothing to do with the project whilst it’s happening because the whole thing can be incredibly time-consuming and overwhelming. Consider this before you jump in feet first.

If project managing your own build is going to have you buzzing every morning, fabulous! If it’s going to add enormous stress onto those shoulders then think about outsourcing to someone whose idea of heaven is being on-site. If you’re considering a project, I’d love to hear from you.

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