Renovation series: Project management

We chat to Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room for her top tips for project managing a renovation


If you have a project manager or a good builder, they’ll organise subtrades in the right sequence. If you’re doing it yourself, you will need a project timeline.

“Ask your builder for their timeframe and when they need the other tradies, then talk to each of the individual tradies – find out how much time they need and who they need to be before or after. Talk to the relevant tradies each week to chart their progress. If yours is a large project, there may be some delays (weather, setbacks) – you need to be able to see how this affects the upcoming tradies so you can warn them to push out their dates. Give your tradies as much advance warning as possible so they can work around it. You don’t want to have an empty site due to contractors being on other jobs, or a full site with contractors standing around unable to work because you haven’t planned properly.”

Be a good neighbour

Most people are okay with disruption as long as they know when it will be over. Before work starts, tell them what you’re doing and how long you expect it to take. Make sure your contractors are aware of the builders’ work noise restrictions in your area. And even though they’re allowed to start work early in many places doesn’t mean they should – your neighbours might not be so cruisy if hammering starts at 7am!

Handling hiccups

Most renos have them. To get through it, treat any building issue like a business decision: get all the information, find out the options and understand what the impact is on the entire project. Lizzi says: “If it’s a major cost, go back to the budget and revise your costs – find cheaper fittings. Meet with your builder or other trades, tell them you need to lose 10 percent off their works due to a budget blowout and ask what suggestions they have. I always find it’s better to remove things to reduce labour and materials, rather than asking a contractor to reduce their pricing.”


✔ Create a project management timeline
✔ Talk to your neighbours
✔ Create a hazards board

Words by: Debbie Harrison and Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room. Photography by: Tony Amos & Maree Homer/

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