An Open Letter To New Homeowners (And Their Neighbours)
6th August 2021
An Open Letter to New Homeowners (And Their Neighbours):
We are sure the prospect of getting a new home, whether it's a condominium, an HDB flat or even a landed property, is no doubt exciting. Inspirations, plans, and designs are flowing into your head, but you have no idea where to start or how to even carry them out. So you spend weeks and months searching for an ideal interior designer or contractor that fits your budget and has an understanding of what you want your dream home to be like. Once you have found one, it's another wait filled with renovations and decorating.
Of course, the renovation process will not always be smooth-sailing, especially during this pandemic. There will be hiccups along the way or misunderstandings that may arise during renovation. As a home lighting supplier, we have seen and heard the plights of both homeowners and renovation companies and we would like to shed some light to some of the common disputes among the homeowners and renovation companies that occur and express our thoughts on the matter.
Renovation works are unique and takes time
Comparisons between houses and their renovation processes are a normal occurrence in the renovation industry. We also understand the excitement of doing up your home as fast as possible to begin a new life in your brand new abode. Nevertheless, you must understand that each house is constructed uniquely, so completion dates will definitely vary. Additionally, due to the pandemic, the renovation industry has suffered and led many projects to be delayed or even halted for a period of time. We also see the similar situations with the housing developers which resulted in key collection delays the last couple of quarters in Singapore.
As you may know, the majority of renovation firms rely on craftsmen for construction work. However, not all companies have the luxury of having a fully localised team of craftsmen. Due to the closing of borders, a lack of craftsmen and tradesmen has slowed construction timelines in most renovation firms as they are stuck in their respective countries, like Malaysia. If measures do loosen, quarantines and frequent testing are still necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. This is another factor that may slow down the progress of the renovation works.
We understand that seeing the progress of your neighbour's house may make you impatient with the renovations on your own home. But do keep in mind that the scope of work will differ from one home to another; therefore, it is not fair to compare your experience with theirs.
Contractors are not available 24/7
Oftentimes, renovation companies have other ongoing projects with varying timelines and deadlines. Therefore, every company has to give an advance notice to schedule their subcontractors for a project. This notice could vary between a few days to weeks, depending on the sub-contractors project lineups and availability. Thus, some rectification works might not be done right away and have to be scheduled.
This is especially evident nowadays as many homeowners are working from home and it is their wish that things requested should be rectified right away. However, do keep in mind that there are other homeowners who are in need of a roof over their heads too. So subcontractors will have to prioritise accordingly. Not that what you want done isn't important, but some projects require more immediate attention than others.
Let’s be more thoughtful of others
Renovation companies are given specific deadlines to complete certain renovation works. Based on the date given, they plan a timeline. For example when it comes to hacking, they must keep to within a few dates in order to minimise disruptions as much as possible as stipulated by the authorities. Now, we know that sounds from hacking and drilling are incredibly distracting even when they take every effort to reduce the noise. That is why it is typically confined to within the first 3 days of the renovation process. It is not uncommon, however, for neighbours to approach them to request that such noisy works be postponed or delayed due to personal reasons such as a work call or a napping baby. Of course, these are completely valid reasons. The issue at hand is that these dates are actually pre-approved. Sub-contractors cannot pick and choose the dates they work to appease everyone. This means that it is impossible to adhere to the different neighbours’ requests AND finish the required works in time. In addition, these contractors are often paid on a daily basis - if they take frequent breaks to comply with the neighbours’ requests, who will pay for the hours without work?
Thus, as their hands are tied, it would be unfair to ask them to do something they cannot control.
You can rely on the renovation company to assist you with the renovation process - from planning to completion. Although you may have hired them to aid you, the final look of your home is a joint effort between you and them. It requires teamwork, transparency and communication from both parties. We understand that there may be misunderstandings or frustrations when things do not go exactly your way. After all - you are a paying customer at the end of the day.
As this is your home, we urge you to communicate your preferences and requests - particularly if they are considered “out of the ordinary.” This is to prevent any misunderstandings from occurring. Although the designer may do their best to comprehend all of your preferences and take note of all of your verbal requests, there is always a possibility that they will not be able to do so entirely. Hence, It is wise to take the initiative to play your part by checking against the quotation or drawings and voice any concerns ahead of time. This way, the interior designers can adjust accordingly before it is too late.
Nevertheless, please do understand that there is an extent to how much you can demand from them too. Interior designers, as talented as they are, do have certain limitations on how much they can accommodate. Therefore, it is best to compromise and set realistic goals during the whole process.
There are 101 things to do when renovating a home. From planning to budgeting to designing to finally executing the designs - it takes a lot of time and effort from both the homeowner and the renovation company. If the end result is great, be generous and shower them with praises and appreciation. In contrast, if there are areas of improvement, feel free to clarify or highlight them as well to see what can be done.
Being a higher-ticket item, some homeowners may fail to realize interior design and renovations are a continuous process that takes time to fine-tune. In renovations, minor issues are not unusual; therefore, both parties should work together to prevent problems from occurring and if they do, how to work on them and move forward. We understand how stressful it can be to undergo such a life-altering event (such as owning a home!). Hence, before reacting, let us look within ourselves and how we can empathize with each other. At the end of the day we are sure that you and your renovation company want the same thing: a beautiful home.
As we celebrate National Day coming Monday, let us show some appreciation to the contractors and designers that made the space we call “home” possible! Let us all treat each other with kindness especially during this difficult period.
Happy National Day in advance to everyone!
Stay Safe And Healthy,