Taking on a home improvement project? This is how far you need to plan ahead

You might need to start planning up to seven months ahead for your dream build

Person draws plans up with ruler

Before you launch into your home improvement project this spring, have you factored in enough time to plan it all out? 

We know, we know – that's the boring part. But research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed that we need to be planning up to seven months ahead if we want our home improvement project to go smoothly.

Combining the length of time various projects take to complete with the expected waiting time for a quality builder – at least four months – the FMB have come up with a handy guide to how long each home improvement project can take:

  • Extension - seven months
  • Loft conversion - six and a half months
  • Painting the entire interior of your home - five months
  • New bathroom - five months
  • New kitchen - five months
  • Master bedroom en suite - five months
  • Open plan kitchen-diner - five months

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, says: 'A successful building project requires careful planning and our research gives clear guidance to consumers on likely timelines.

'Not only do homeowners need to consider how long a project takes to complete, they also need to remember how long they should expect to wait for a quality builder to be available to get going on their project. 

'If homeowners want to work with a good builder, they should be expecting to wait at least four months and as a general rule, and the larger the project, the longer the wait.

'When looking to appoint a builder, alarm bells should ring if they say they can start next week. Experienced and professional building firms are booked up far in advance and it’s always worth waiting for these firms if you want a stress-free experience and a quality finish.'

With these guidelines in mind, if you want a new extension for Christmas 2019, you need to be contacting builders for quotes by May – at the very latest.

Berry continues: 'We’re urging homeowners who are keen to crack on with their renovation project to start getting in touch with prospective builders as soon as possible. 

'We always recommend that homeowners ask for recommendations from family or friends, and ideally from those who have completed a similar project to the one you’re planning. 

'If no personal recommendations are forthcoming, approach a professional trade association like the Federation of Master Builders.'