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Getting Labour In For The Dirty Work

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 16 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Labour Painting Decorating Skill Task

When planning a renovation project, it's worth considering which tasks you can do yourself and which you should pay a professional tradesman or labourer to do for you. A substantial amount of money can be saved by doing it yourself, but if you bite off more than you can chew, it might end up costing you more cash in the long run.

Assess Your Own Skills

The first thing you should consider when deciding whether to employ independent contractors to complete a task is whether you can do a good job of it yourself. If you are not confident about it, it's best not to bother trying. It will waste time and you will probably have to pay a professional to do the task again.

Look at all the tasks in your project and decide which ones can be done in parallel, or at any time, and which ones rely on each other before they can be started. This is called critical path analysis, which sounds a bit grand. To give a simple example, if you're laying new flooring, you can't do the skirting until the floor is laid. But painting the walls can be done whether or not the flooring is down.

Critical Path

If you map out all these dependencies, you'll have an idea of the overall timescale for a project, as well as the correct order and duration of specific tasks. It will also allow you to see where delays will occur if a particular task is not completed on time. This helps to decide whether a task that you can do yourself might cause a knock-on problem if you are unable to finish it in time.

If a particular task is critical in the progress of the rest of the project, then pay a professional so that the project is not held up. Much money is wasted on building sites with workers sat around waiting for a particular task to be finished before they can start, so do your best to prevent this from happening.

Are You In Work?

Obviously, whether you're going to carry out any tasks yourself depends on if you already have a job. Think about what you earn each day, and if this is more than what you have to pay someone to do the job for you. It's fairly simple, if you have to pay a decorator £150 a day and you are earning £200 a day in your current job, you won't be saving any money by doing it yourself – instead you will be missing out on an extra £50 a day.

If you are not working, there are many more things you can do to reduce the cost of your project. Why pay a labourer £100 a day to mix cement or fill a skip with rubbish when you could do this yourself?

Painting and decorating are tasks that many people do themselves. They need care rather than skill, and all the equipment needed is easily available at a DIY store. But it is always a good idea to do some research before you get started.

Qualifications Needed

Don't get carried away by trying to fit a bathroom or kitchen yourself for a first time. Even though this will be an expensive part of the project, mistakes here will be costly and will result in you wasting time and money. Things like electrics and plumbing simply have to be left to the professionals, unless you know what you are doing. Even if you do know what you are doing, these days you are effectively restricted to laying cables or pipes and mounting fittings, as a qualified professional will have to do all the hooking up.

Don't Skimp On Quality

One thing to remember throughout the entire process is to keep the quality of work high. If the build quality is poor, the property will lose value. Get a qualified person in for jobs that are important and require a professional finish. When a property value assessment is carried out, the last thing you want is a lower value than anticipated because there are wonky tiles in the bathroom.

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