29 July 2022

What to do when your home renovations are delayed

By Renovation Plan

Renovations can transform a home. From adding style with a new kitchen or bathroom to adding space with a loft conversion or extension, home renovations can boost both your lifestyle and your property value.

But while they are exciting, renovations can be challenging too – and unexpected hold ups are all too common. According to the Federation of Master Builders, 89% of builders faced delays last year alone[1]. So why do renovations get delayed and what should you do if it happens to you? Let’s take a look.

Why could your renovations get delayed?

Supply shortages

The last two years have been particularly challenging here in the UK as we recover from the pandemic and adjust to the changes brought in by Brexit – and this has had a knock-on effect in nearly every sector. Renovations are no exception.

Many raw building materials like cement and mortar, timber, roof tiles and more are sourced from the EU, so this has led to extensive material shortages across the country. The supply chain into the UK is under higher pressure, leading to longer wait times for builders simply to get their hands on the materials they need to carry out your renovations. Plus there’s a drain on skills and labour, like HGV drivers, which all contributes to making it that bit harder to get what you need into the country – ending up in delays to your projects.

High demand

Supply chain issues and material shortages are just one part of the puzzle. Since Covid, there has been higher demand for renovation projects as lockdowns made us re-assess our homes. When allowed back to work, infection rates continued to cause disruption to renovation schedules as builders and labourers would have to take extended time off if they fell ill. While restrictions have eased now, Covid continues to circulate and catch people out – causing delays.

But it’s not just coronavirus putting pressure on contractors. The consistent demand and changes to skilled labourer levels in the UK post Brexit are all contributing to longer lead times for workers – and higher prices too. You might find your builder is booked up for months in advance and that rates are higher than you’d originally budgeted. This all contributes to potential hold ups to your project – whether that’s the initial start date or your overall timeline.

The stress

There’s no getting away from it: home renovations can be a seriously stressful time. While home renovation insurance offers peace of mind, the actual process of carrying out the works can be overwhelming, despite the promise of a better home to come.

Whether it’s the pressure of making major life changes such as finding temporary living arrangements, worries about money or challenges when it comes to making crucial decisions, it can be easy to feel burned out. In fact, a survey by Toolstation found that 60% of home renovations affect general wellbeing – so if you’re finding it too much, you’re not alone[2].

This level of stress can lead to renovators taking some time out to give themselves a break and recharge before the next phase – so even if you’d planned to finish your project in one-go, once you’re several months in you might find you’re the one choosing to press the pause button. But what will this mean for the rest of your project?

What happens when your renovations are delayed?

Any hold up will naturally increase the time it takes to complete your project, from just a few weeks to months or even years. The important factor to consider here is how much that extra time is likely to cost.

This will depend on your project. For example, if you’re having complex work done that means you can’t live in the house as it’s being worked on, you may need to budget more for your temporary accommodation. Depending on the reason for the delay, your contractors may be within their rights to charge you extra too, in order to cover the changes to their plans or to fund the higher demand for materials or workers.

You should also consider your home renovation insurance. This will be keeping your home covered while the works are in progress, so you’ll need to make sure you extend your policy to keep that protection in place for the extra time it takes to finish your renovations.

As we’ve mentioned already, home renovations can be stressful – and unexpected delays can make that worse. If something happens to put back the works, you may find yourself having to make big decisions quickly and adapt your project plan accordingly, from budgets to timescales.

So what do you need to do next?

If a delay happens, it pays to be prepared. Before you start your project, make sure you have a plan of action to minimise disruption if any delays occur and try to keep some contingency funds aside just in case. This will help make it easier to manage the extra time you need as and when any hold up occurs.

Secure your site

If works are being halted, you need to make sure your site is as secure as possible. Building materials are expensive, so they may offer a tempting target for thieves. Your renovations may also have made it easier for someone to get into your home, so make sure any unfinished access points are blocked off and secured to protect your belongings from theft. It can be a good idea to set up CCTV on your site, especially if you’re not living there at the time.

Get ready for weather

The British weather is always unpredictable, so you’ll need to make sure your site is weather-proof while you wait for the next phase. Heavy rain, strong winds or snow and frost can all cause damage, so your site should be covered up with heavy-duty tarpaulin and any loose items that could be picked up by the wind should be secured down. This will help keep your site as safe and secure as possible until you’re ready to continue the works.

Manage your contractors

If a delay occurs for any reason, it’s likely you’ll have to work out how this will affect your contractors and manage your new timelines and expectations with them. Depending on the scale of your project, you may want to consider hiring a dedicated project manager if it’s causing you a lot of problems managing the project yourself. They will be able to negotiate with your contractors and keep the project running smoothly, despite the delay.

Extend your renovation insurance

Most standard home insurance policies won’t cover your home while renovations are taking place. That’s where home renovation insurance has your back. If your project is delayed, you may need to extend your policy to keep up the right level of protection. Providers like us understand the pitfalls and hold ups that can impact your project, so we offer a free two-week policy extension as standard and the option to extend your policy for a few months if that’s what you need. This gives you the peace of mind that your project delay won’t compromise your cover.

Look after yourself

We understand how stressful renovation delays can be, so make sure you take care of your wellbeing. If it’s possible for you to live elsewhere during the project, consider doing so. Keep communication open with your contractors and consider hiring in external help if it’s getting too much. And lastly, make sure you take out home renovation insurance before your project begins to make sure your home is protected while the works are carried out.

At Renovation Plan, we’re here to help. Just get in touch online or give us a call for your quick and easy quote.
[1]: https://www.fmb.org.uk/resource/89-of-builders-having-to-delay-jobs-says-fmb.html
[2]: https://www.toolstation.com/content/renovation-regrets

Want to find out more about renovation insurance?

You can find further useful information on our renovation insurance page. If you’re not ready to get a quote yet and would prefer to speak to someone, you can find the details by clicking here. We can’t wait to find out all about your project!