Do you have a time and money contingency for your renovation project?

Do you have a time and money contingency for your renovation project?

Recently I had a call with a frustrated and upset hospitality design client. The furniture they ordered hadn’t arrived and the furniture supplier wasn’t reachable. They were right to complain. I was doing everything I could to get a resolution for them and then I asked – ‘don’t you have a time and money contingency for your renovation project?’

What is a time contingency for your renovation project?

Whether you’re a seasoned renovator, or an avid watcher of The Block or new to renovating, when planning your project, you should have a time contingency. What is a time contingency for your renovation project?

A time contingency is basically allowing time in your project for things to go wrong and for them to be fixed. For example, I recently scheduled electrical work for a residential client of mine. The electrician said he needed a day and half to complete the work. I scheduled him for three days just in case there was a problem.

Following the electrician is the painter. I scheduled him for a week, even though he said he need three days. These additional days are a buffer to anticipate a problem and to give the trade enough time to resolve the issue before the next trade.

For my hospitality design client, they wanted the furniture on Friday and had arranged trades people to help them assemble so that they could open on Tuesday. But they didn’t factor in any problems with shipping for example.

In this case I would have waited for the furniture to arrive. Checked that it’s not damaged and have tradies on standby to assemble a day or two after the furniture arrived.

What is a money contingency for your renovation project?

A money contingency for your renovation project is a percentage of your budget to account for fixing problems. Hiring a trades person you didn’t anticipate. Accounting for an increase in cost of materials and so on.

I always plan for a renovation project with a solutions mindset, knowing something will go wrong. It could be something big or something small, but this way I plan for a time and money contingency. With this mindset you can better, more calmly deal with issues that arise in your project.

Carefully planning your project from the outset is key to build in contingencies for any additional time it takes or money needed.

A good rule of thumb for your money contingency is 10-20%. This is a lot but most builders I know will advise they can only quote on the scope of work briefed to them and what they see in the space. This means they can’t see behind the walls or under the flooring. Once they get stuck in they might find a problem which will cost you time and money. They might not but always better to be prepared.

For my client above they will lose a couple of days trading but if they open on Friday, ready for the weekend, instead of Tuesday, they’re doing well despite not having a time and money contingency for their renovation project.


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