Renovating your house can be a stressful experience at the best of times, let alone managing a repair due to a natural disaster where you are displaced and face a lot of uncertainty.
This week we spoke to Andrew Larson, Licenced Building Practitioner of Craft Building NZ Limited to ask for tips on how best to manage a repair situation and get the best outcome for you and your home. Andy and his team are working on a number of homes in Westport to complete full remediation work after the floods in July and appreciate that this is a very stressful time for homeowners and tenants.
“We completely understand that people did not want to be in this situation and it is stressful for them. But, it can make the remediation work go so much more smoothly if we work together with the homeowner or tenant to set clear expectations up front, including timelines that everyone can agree on and work towards.”
We asked Andy, along with some of our local tradies, to provide us with their top tips for making the repair process as smooth, quick and painless as possible. Here’s what they told us:
1. Set Clear Expectations
Both the homeowner and the tradie need to work together to set and agree clear expectations up front and likely timelines that both parties are working to.
2. Be as organised and prepared as possible and make your choices early on
“We provide a full service (after the initial strip out has been completed). Our job is much easier when the homeowner has made their choices before we start the work. This includes things like carpet choices, paint colours, tap wear, cabinets and kitchen tops etc.” said Andy.
The current delays with materials supply is out of tradies control and the impact of COVID has led to a bottleneck in the supply chain of materials like timber.
Ask your tradie to provide you with best and worst case scenario timelines so you can both have some certainty around likely timeframes and when your decisions need to be made by. This may not always be easy, but being realistic about the timeframes for arrival and delivery of materials and supplies makes for a much smoother repair.
3. Communication is key
Being prompt in providing information to your tradie and responding to their questions makes a huge difference and helps them keep the project moving forward smoothly. If you are interested in managing the project yourself, talk to your tradie first about how this could work. In some instances this may mean your tradie can offer you labour only rates.
4) Try and work around your Tradies timetable (not the other way around)
Remember that many of the tradies are coming from out of town to support the flood recovery effort. That coupled with the current labour shortages, construction businesses are having to pay a premium (up to double normal hourly rates) to have a mobile workforce who are prepared to work away from their home for extended periods of time.
It is really important that tradestaff can access the job when they need to and not have to wait for you and your family to finish your morning routine.
Delays like this cost the construction business money but will also have a knock on effect on your repair timeline, so it is important that every minute is a productive one for your tradie and their team.
5) Reduce clutter in their workplace and keep your pets out of the way
A dream job for a tradie is one where any clutter is out of the way and they can access the site easily and safely. Whilst your tradie may love your furry friend, remediation work has its own set of hazards and the last thing you want is your fur baby getting squished, tripped over, or walking into a freshly painted area!
6. A little appreciation goes a long way
No one is asking you to whip up some scones or produce beersies at the end of the week, however a small show of appreciation goes a long way.
If you have the ability to do so, offering cups of tea/coffee at designated smoko times is a welcome sight for the busy tradie. You can check with the project lead as to what time works best for their team. Or it may be easier to just make sure you have the jug boiled, milk tea and coffee available and let them help themselves.
7. Pay on time
If you want to get the best out of your tradie, make sure you pay them on time. Your construction company has to pay their workers on time so it makes it challenging for them to carry on with a project if they are not getting paid by the homeowner.
If you have questions about invoices or timing of payments, remember communication is key, so just ask the questions and get the clarification you need.
8. Seek help from the right places
Whilst your tradie is bound to be sympathetic to the stress and disruption you are experiencing, they are not there to solve issues outside of your building repair.
Contact your Insurance Case Manager in the first instance if you encounter any issues with your insurance, scope of work or any aspect of your claim.
If you feel like you are getting nowhere, make an appointment via The Community Hub with the Residential Advisory Service (RAS) who provide free, impartial advice to homeowners facing challenges in getting their home repaired or rebuilt after it has been damaged by a natural disaster.
Need support with temporary accommodation or wellbeing? Our team of Navigators at The Community Hub are on hand to support you at every step of the recovery process.
9. Red/Yellow Sticker Removal Guidelines
Following the much awaited completion of your home repairs, there are a few final steps required before you can remove the red or yellow sticker.
All work must be signed off by a Licensed Building Practitioner and the record of works submitted to Council on completion before the red or yellow sticker on the remediated property can be removed. Here’s a handy checklist along with a downloadable resource.
More information is available on the Buller District Council website -> https://bullerdc.govt.nz/district-council/your-council/flood-recovery/checklist-for-flood-affected-dwellings/