On site decisions

side extension

Handing over a design pack with approved plans, specifications and finishes is one thing. But that’s the easy (and the fun) part!

However large or small a residential renovation project is, and however organised you and your team are, the need to make efficient on site decisions is inevitable. Even when a space has been surveyed and fully designed, it’s post strip out when discoveries like dry rot, damp, asbestos, oddly positioned pipe work etc are discovered. So expect and plan for the unexpected!

Many of us underestimate how much personal time they need to allow for a building project once the build gets going on site. On average, the required time spent on site liaising with building trades and researching solutions and alternative product, may equate to as much as 2-4 hours a day. Now that’s a lot of hours; especially on top of the day job.

Many of my clients work full-time and haven’t got the extra time in their day for this level of attention on a building project at home. This is when a design/ project manager is worth their weight in gold. It is this which keeps a build going, the builders on track and the team motivated. Someone who understands the project, the clients goals, and the reality of what can be achieved within the budget which is essential to a successful build.

From my experience gained within the corporate design industry, an office, retail or leisure refurbishment wouldn’t ever take place without an appointed project manager. So why is our mindset so different when it comes to our home refurbishments?

A design/ project manager will save you time, stress and money. According to a survey by project management company CLPM, 90% of building projects in the UK are unmanaged and overspend by an average of 20%! That means that on a £150,000 extension or refurbishment, you could add £30,000 of extra costs.

When you look at the figures, it’s easy to see why using a design/ project manager makes sense. They will guide you through the building process, providing advice and support, overseeing the build, being present on site and on call to answer queries and making informed decisions which will help to ensure that your project is delivered to the best quality, on time and to budget. All of this can be crucial to the project staying on track and the builders being on site where and when you need them to be.

In fact one of my clients recently was on a very tight budget but still appointed me to support her in maintaining and staying within her relatively small budget. She recognised the value in my helping her make the right design decisions which ultimately helped to avoid costly mistakes. Now that really is intelligent targeted spending. Pay more to spend less!


Have the design scheme, fixtures and finishes as finalised as possible. Brief your team and hand over the day to day design management to a design/ project manager. It may add a little to the overall project cost but will ultimately save you valuable time and help keep the project on track, on time and to budget.

great find

A good team who can work and pull together with the common goal of a great handover and a stress free client. For this you need a team with experience and a calm nature. On every project things go wrong or not to plan. But it’s about how those issues are communicated and resolved which make the difference between a good and bad project. Choose your team wisely.

By Louise Putman

I'm Louise, founder of architectural interior and spatial design consultancy, REcreate.

I’m a fully qualified architectural interior designer, with a BA(Hons) degree in Interior Architecture and Furniture.

I combine my architectural knowledge with interior design expertise and project management to design or renovate internal spaces.