Are you planning to undergo a significant renovation at home? If you have ever had a neighbour who has renovated, put in a pool or had significant landscaping done on their property, you will know that the household undergoing the renovation is not the only one affected by the disruptions. Even the closest neighbours can fall out if renovations aren’t handled well.
Here are 7 tips to help keep the peace with your neighbours when renovating.
1. Don’t try to get it done in record time
The popularity of reality TV shows like The Block has some renovators setting unrealistic expectations regarding their timeline. Renovating at warp speed as they do on The Block is unrealistic in the real world. In fact, rushing things will only lead to dramas – onsite, with the trades and with your neighbours.
2. Involve your neighbours early
Things like privacy and loss of sunlight and views are legitimate concerns for neighbours. Putting your direct neighbours in the picture early will help keep them onside. This is far better than the neighbours not knowing a thing about your plans until they receive a letter from council in the mail. If you have openly discussed your plans with them early, they will be less likely to cause trouble. Most importantly, they will appreciate the fact that you took them into consideration.
3. Regular communication
Be transparent and let your neighbours know what’s going on. For example, if you have a machine coming that will need to encroach on your neighbour’s land for access to your property, ask for their permission and let them know when it will be occurring. Put yourself in your neighbours’ shoes and think about what you would like to be told if they were renovating.
4. Schedule construction within acceptable hours
The environment protection authorities have clear time limits in place for noisy building work, so ensure your builder adheres to those regulations. With many people working from home, it is a good idea to ask your builder if it is possible to schedule particularly noisy work for set hours during the day, such as between 11am and 3pm, to allow neighbours to schedule online meetings outside those times if possible.
5. Curb negative behaviour from tradies
Speak to the project manager or your builder if you notice tradies are playing overly loud music, swearing onsite or parking on your neighbour’s property to nip this type of behaviour in the bud if it happens.
6. Consult the owner’s corporation before renovating an apartment or unit
If you are planning to renovate your strata title property, considering the neighbours is even more crucial. All buildings have their own set of rules, so it’s important to consult your owner’s corporation to get an understanding of how the process works before you get started.
7. Be open and honest about any mistakes
If your renovation causes damage to your neighbour’s property, don’t attempt to hide it. It’s up to you to let them know and it’s also up to you and your builder to reinstate their property to its original condition. Your builder should carry public liability insurance to cover themselves in the event that anything happens, so it’s always wise to ask about their insurance before engaging them.
Last, but not least, despite the downsides of the process when a neighbour renovates, it can have its positives too. For starters, the more quality homes there are in a street, the higher the value of surrounding homes (generally speaking). Secondly, it is not uncommon for a homeowner to be inspired by their neighbour’s renovation plans and decide to do something similar to their own property.