Bathroom renovations are without a doubt the most rewarding of rooms to build, especially with the right designs. Besides the kitchen, getting the bathroom designs right often takes the longest time to perfectionate. There can be up to 12 different trades required to complete a cost-effective bathroom renovation to a high standard. On top of that, often it’s the smallest room in the house and it needs to be designed carefully.

So how do you renovate a bathroom effectively, keeping it on time and on budget?

Tip 1 – Prepare before you get the trades on site.

This will save you time and money. If there is a clear plan, the project managers can organise the trades well in advance. This prevents holdups and a loss of project momentum. Such holdups during mid-course are one of the most common frustrations for homeowners.

Tip 2 – Have all materials on site beforehand

Strongly advised! Better still, have all the materials chosen before the tradesman or builder set out to price your project. This way you’ll receive an accurate price right from the start and there will be less need for expensive variations.

Tip 3 – Be clear

Be clear on whether you require an estimate (usually called a Cost & Margin Contract) or a quotation (usually called a Fixed Price Contract). Quite often if a builder doesn’t offer the option of a Fixed Price Contract it’s because he lacks confidence in his calculations. In some cases asking for a Fixed Price Contract forces the builder to add a substantial buffer to his price to protect himself against unknowns (e.g. rotten framing etc). My advice is to request an estimate. Then once the estimate has been presented ask for a quote. If the quotation increases by more than 20% then it’s possible that the figures aren’t the most reliable.

Tip 4 – Ask for a guarantee

Include all your concerns and ask for it in writing. For example, guaranteed completion and guaranteed quality. This will give both you and your builder good clarity for the project.

Tip 5 – Use a Certified Builders Association NZ (CBANZ) contract

The CBANZ contract lists the various rates and margins that will be applied to your build and should there be any variations from the agreed works, how these are to be handled. Although any work in NZ with a value of more than $30,000 requires a formal building contract, I recommend using a contract for works under $30,000.

Tip 6 – View previous projects that the builder has completed

More importantly, view their latest and current projects and talk to the owners, as this can give you a good idea of what you can expect during your building project. Cleanliness of site, good organisation and communication, high quality of work and trust are the components you need for a successful bathroom renovation.


Keep these tips in mind and I promise you that the chances of your bathroom renovation being a success will be high and more importantly an enjoyable experience.

All the best and good luck.

Regards Hamid Zwart

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