A lot of DIY is done and dusted (or not, according to many wives…) in a day or three. A remodelling project, however, could take weeks or even months. While you’re bearing the brunt of the noise, mess and inconvenience, it’s your decision, so you need to think about your neighbors, who have had no say at all.
Construction work can cause stress on both sides of the fence, so start off on the right foot and show some consideration and empathy, as well as respect, and you’ll probably come through unscathed.
Here are some tips to help you keep everyone happy during the period of work:
Let your neighbors know well in advance
At least two weeks before work is due to start, let everyone know – knock on doors, post notes through letterboxes and fix flyers to communal noticeboards if possible.
You should tell people the start and projected end-date of the project, where the construction team will be parking, their days and hours of work and whether there will be some periods that parking or access will be restricted. You could get some safety signs designed and posted at the appropriate places, too. Make sure you apologize in advance and give everyone your phone number just in case there’s any problems. You should aim for the streets in front of and behind your house, as well as immediate neighbors either side.
Talk to your contractor before work starts
Talk to your contractor ahead of the start date to work out if there are any restrictions likely to happen. Find out which neighbors don’t like any parking outside their house and let the work crew know well in advance so they can make other arrangements. Maintain vigilance so that you are aware of any blocked drives or brewing annoyances.
You should also make sure that your work team doesn’t drop litter or smoke cigarettes in your garden or yard – or, even worse, your neighbors’ yards. They should also clear up rubbish and work-related debris every day before they leave. If this is ever forgotten or becomes a problem, work out a plan with your contractor.
Check in with your neighbors halfway through
Talk to your neighbors to make sure they’re bearing up ok or if they have any concerns or gripes about the noise, smell, dust or anything else. Remind them of the end date and let them know how it’s all going.
Deal with complaints yourself
Usually neighbors show a lot of tolerance for a remodelling project, but if there are any issues, you have to deal with them in the first instance, not the contractor. If a worker bumps a side mirror or squashes some plants, pass this information onto your contractor and make sure it can be sorted out as soon as possible.
Throw a party!
All projects end, even if it’s a bit later than expected. Once the place is finished and looking great, you should have a party so that your neighbors can see what all the fuss was about. They may well be considering a remodel themselves, so you can swap stories and, most importantly, be a patient neighbor in return!