The Block 2015: How to master time management for your home renovation

Belinda Punshon 6 October 2015

How to master time management

More often than not, the focal point of a major home renovation project is the budget, yet many forget that time is also of the essence.

While we’ve seen The Block renovators being pushed to their limits both mentally and physically on the show, the judging panel have raised eyebrows with regard to the contestants’ time and project management skills.

As Andrew and Whitney reached breaking point last week when they delivered an unfinished room, the contestants’ time management has seen highs and lows throughout the competition.  While somewhat condescending, The Block foremen provided the renovation rookies with a colour-coded renovation schedule to help them stay on track-- and to prevent any further meltdowns.

Here’s how you can plan for your home renovation and create a timeline to save both your money and your sanity.

Renovation project management

Plan in advance

When planning for the renovation, the estimated time taken for core pre-construction activities are as follows;

ActivityEstimated timeframe
Measuring area2 weeks
Concept agreement2-3 weeks
Budget(e.g. sourcing and finalising quotes from suppliers)2 weeks
Construction documents(e.g. submitting plans to council)3 weeks Note: If zoning is involved, this may take longer.
Finalising the design/aesthetics5 weeks

* Please note the above time estimates should be used as a guide only and will vary from project to project.

Budget and timeline go hand-in-hand

As your budget is integral to your home improvement, your project timeline should include detailed costings that encompass labour, materials and council fees.

Savvy home renovators know that major projects can end up taking much longer than anticipated, so as long as you allow for both time and budget contingencies, you won’t be forced to put the renovation on hold half way through completion.

ALSO READ: Read our tips for sticking to a shoestring renovation budget here.

Create a realistic timeline

With unexpected changes likely to occur at many stages of the construction process, it’s important that you set your objectives and time estimates from the outset.

While the timeframe will largely depend on the scope of the project as well as the budget, you should set a clear timeline for your renovation works and allow additional time for contingencies to ensure that you stay on track.

Try to set a rough deadline for when you’d like the project to be completed as the ability to see the finish line will keep you motivated throughout.

Stay on track

A major part of renovation project management is ensuring that the work is completed on schedule and within the parameters of your timeline.

You can ensure that work is carried out on time by contacting your local council or authority to see what kind of red tape is required for your project —not having the paperwork lodged on time can be a real setback in terms of holding up construction.

Another way to ensure that the work is completed on time is to check the availability of materials during your initial planning stage and develop a timeline based on quoted delivery dates. You should also create a contingency plan with your tradesmen for work that can be conducted in other areas if you are left waiting for major materials or appliances to be delivered. The contingency plan should also outline the process involved if there are any delays, as well as which tradesmen will be on site and how often.

Be decisive


While changing your mind about aspects of the renovation, such as your choice of fittings or artwork may be inevitable, try to avoid making fundamental changes to your renovation plan as this will not only push back the completion date, but it will also add to the final cost.

Consider a project manager

Whether you’re a homeowner or investor, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’ll leverage the services of an independent project manager.

By using a project manager, you can benefit from their network of reliable and reasonably priced tradespeople that could save you both time and money. You can also ensure that they will honestly assess the quality of the work.  A project manager, rather than a builder, is more likely to act in your best interests and point out if there are any structural issues that require attention.

Results from the third bedroom and ensuite room reveal

As they enter The Block HQ, contestants learn of what the judges thought about their third (and final) bedrooms and ensuites, featuring the contestants’ custom-made bed head from last week’s competition.

Caro & KingiDarren: 9
Shaynna: 9.5
Neale: 10
Total score: 28.5/30(winners)
Three weeks in a row, Kingi and Caro have been “the bridesmaids and never the brides”- but this week that all changed.
“This is amazing, as soon as you walk in everything really captures you. This is just beautiful.
“I don’t say this often but to me, this couple has so much talent I hope they do this as a career”, Shaynna said.
Neale gave the contestants brownie points for their design execution by appealing to the right market:“An industrial style can go in so many different directions, you know you can start using all these vintage pieces and op-shop pieces but they know how to use the style to work for them in this market and in this price point”, he said.Following Caro’s "knick knack" comment, Darren said: “We had a little word about knick knacks and how to add in decoration which is really important when selling a house.”The only minor criticism Darren had was that he mentioned he would have moved the power points so that the cords weren’t hanging down.
Suzi and VoniDarren: 9
Shaynna: 9.5
Neale: 9.5
Total score: 28/30(second)
Despite some setbacks, Suzi and Voni soldiered on to finish their hotel inspired lux room with a glass feature wall.
“The previous one [feature wall] completely overwhelmed me where I felt I was backed into a corner but this one, I love.
“Do you know what? Occasionally, it is really nice to be proved wrong. I love the way they have created a matching pair of rooms with these beautiful images showing different aspects of Melbourne.. the urban and the rustic.. I’m sold, I’m now a convert”, Neale said.
Shaynna added that the pair had nailed the practicality of the room by making it streamlined.The only minor criticism made was the cracks in the façade of the glass wall.
“There’s a few rough edges, I think there’s a few details the girls have to lighten up on in terms of their actual execution but overall its consistency, it’s beautiful”, Neale said.
Shay and DeanDarren: 9
Shaynna: 8.5
Neale: 9
Total score: 26.5(third)
Although they had won the previous competitions, Dean and Shay slipped a little in the eyes of the judges this week.
With regard to the bold concrete feature wall, Darren said: “It’s pushing the envelope, it’s doing something different.
Although Neale didn’t think the feature wall was for everyone, he agreed that it was a bold move.
However, the judges didn’t believe that the feature wall and the bedhead worked well together: “I really dislike these pendant lights. I think there’s such an impact with this (the wall), that it’s cancelling it out, I would rather just see beautiful lamps by the bed”, Neale said.For the ensuite, Neale believed that that the fittings and fixtures showcased a level of maturity and sophistication that was lacking last week.
“It’s like they’ve thought outside the square in terms of their fittings and finishes in here… it feels expensive which says this is the penthouse apartment”,  he said.
Andrew and WhitneyDarren: 8.5
Shaynna: 8
Neale: 7
Total score: 23.5(fourth)
Despite condescending comments made by Scott Cam for their dismal performance last week, Andrew and Whitney bounced back this time round with a complete room and ensuite.
However, Shaynna felt that while the styling was fashionable, the appeal of the room catered to a younger demographic :“It’s a very fashionable room in the sense that it looks very 80’s but the appeal of it is for a younger 20-something demographic, and that is not their buyer”, she said.
Neale expressed concern about the originality of the room: “I just feel I’ve seen this room 100 times”, he said.
Into the ensuite, and the judges were impressed with the custom-made vanity that provided good storage.
However, Shaynna was concerned that the pair don’t have attention to detail: “There’s all these misses and that’s what the difference is between luxury and standard. The colour scheme is standard and their attention to detail is standard”, she said.
Luke and EbonyDarren: 7
Shaynna: 6.5
Neale: 7
Total score: 20.5(last)
The second-chance siblings seem to be cursed this season, as they finished last for this room reveal yet again.
“The headboard is just way too dominant…to me, that is like a cartoon version of art deco. You walk into this apartment and that will be all you remember”, Neale said.
Darren added to this, when he commented: “I wouldn’t say drama, I’d say trauma.
The judges agreed that the room and ensuite was old-fashioned, and Shaynna went as far to say that it felt morbid: “Can I say it just feels a bit funeral to me? I’m sorry but it just feels very morbid and heavy”, she said.
In terms of the ensuite tiles, Neale commented on the dated design choice:“Not only is that tile choice dated, but that tile choice doesn’t speak to the aesthetic in here. There’s no relationship at all between the two. It doesn’t even contrast effectively between them”, he said.
However, Shaynna liked the finish on the tapware and Darren thought the lighting and underfloor heating worked well for the ensuite.

Image: Shutterstock

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