Savvy Project Management

3 min read

It can be intimidating to embark on your first construction project. What should you do first? How do you manage the process? Let’s go through the steps.

Need an architect?

You should first decide if you want to hire an architect. It’s possible that a competent contractor can manage your project if it is merely changing the use of the space or converting the loft.

If your plans include a large extension or new construction where style is an important factor, you will need an architect who can manage the planning process and the building control as well as project design and build.

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Select a builder

Next, choose a builder/installer that understands your goals and vision without compromising on the budget or the schedule. Word of mouth is still the best recommendation, so talk to family, neighbours, and friends about their experiences in building and ask them if they have any recommendations for architects or builders. For Cheltenham Builders, visit

Create a brief

The architect or builder will need to have a brief in order to understand your needs. The brief can be created in collaboration with your architect or builder. It can include:

  • Your ultimate goals: what you want to achieve with the project in both the short-term and long-term. At this stage, include your likes and dislikes in the design.
  • Your needs: such as the use and connection between spaces, room sizes, privacy, and future plans.
  • Constraints: such as planning restrictions, accessibility, timescales, and budgets.
  • Opportunities: such as improved layouts, increased natural daylight, and renewable energy.
  • Your budget and timeline: these are the two most crucial aspects of the design process that are often ignored in the initial stages.

The brief will change as the design process progresses to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It will also provide instructions for all parties involved to understand what they are expected to do and a checklist against which to gauge the project’s progress.

You can use the brief to make sure that the builder interprets the architect’s drawings accurately and that your project is completed to your satisfaction.

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Set a budget and timetable

Two things that are most likely to negatively affect a project. You should allow a generous contingency amount (15%) for unexpected work and set a start and end date with your builder.

It may be a good idea to include a bonus system in the contract as remuneration for the builder who finishes the project ahead of schedule. You can also include penalties in the contract if the builder goes over the agreed-upon end date due to their own mismanagement of the project. These two inclusions encourage the builder’s completion of the project within the agreed time frame.

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